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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 4: Kakha Kaladze and the Tale of Willpower

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

Fussball: CL 02/03, Inter Mailand - AC Mailand Photo by Sandra Behne/Bongarts/Getty Images

Kakha Kaladze was a fixture in AC Milan's defence for the early 2000's where he won two Champions League trophies with the club playing as both a left back and a centre back. The Georgia international is often considered to be an important cornerstone of Carlo Ancelotti's system as he slotted into any gaps in the defence and always held his own.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League Finals - AC Milan vs. Liverpool Photo by Sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Kakha Kaladze was a warrior, his time with Milan was brilliant but the most important thing to know about the current Mayor of Tbilisi was his battle with numerous issues of the pitch. Kaladze performed consistently and always gave his 100% when on the pitch which is why he was able to line up alongside a star studded defence but his ability to deliver despite his battles off the pitch are quite admirable. He joined Milan in 2001 on recommendation by Shevchenko however he chose to leave Ukraine after seeing one of his teammates have a near career ending injury due to the poor pitches in the league. In his first year with Milan, his brother Levan was kidnapped for ransom in Georgia and was not found until 2005, when his body was recovered. In spite of all this, Kaladze worked hard and was one of Milan's most reliable defenders as he won every single tournament he featured in with the club.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 2003–04
  • UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07
  • Coppa Italia: 2002–03
  • Italian Supercup: 2004
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Top Highlight

One of Kaladze's best moments came in the 2005-06 season where he managed to control and volley home a brilliant goal on the 70th minute against Inter Milan in the derby. His goal would prove to be the winner for Milan in a season where the Rossoneri were docked 30 points but still managed to finish in third place. Watch the highlight here or below.