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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 13: Alessandro Nesta and the Last Ditch Tackle

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

AC Milan v Shakhtar Donetsk Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Alessandro Nesta played for AC Milan for just about a decade and raised his already legendary status as a top centre-back in the game. Nesta won a Scudetto, Champions League and Coppa Italia within his first three years at the club and would go on to add seven more across competitions. He was also a part of the Italy squad to win the World Cup in 2006 but was reduced to only feature in the group stages where he picked up a major injury.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Juventus v AC Milan Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Nesta joined Milan from Lazio - his boyhood club - when the club fell into financial trouble. At Milan, he would form a formidable defensive partnership with Maldini, Costacurta and Cafu that would dominate Italy and Europe. His defensive style allowed him to play as a sweeper for the ageing Costacurta and later for Stam and Maldini. Nesta always cleaned up at the back with his explosive pace and his precise tackling. Most importantly, Nesta gave Ancelotti and Leonardo tactical flexibility as he was great technically and was an exceptional passer able to take out pressure and kick off attacks. Part of Nesta's appeal was his respect for rivalry and derbies, throughout his career he carried a certain fire against AS Roma and dominated games against them while at Milan including the 2003 Coppa Italia final and he scored his last ever goal for Milan in a 3-2 win over Roma in 2011.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 2003-04, 2010-11
  • Coppa Italia: 2002–03
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2004, 2011
  • UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Top Highlight

Nesta was always a joy to watch because we had an incredible pace as a centre-back thus he would often lull the opposing striker into a false sense of success before covering immense ground and making a strong last tackle to win the ball or intercept the shot. He bullied Lionel Messi when Milan faced Barcelona in 2011 in the twilight of his career. Watch the highlight here or below.