Paolo Maldini – The Right Footed Left-Back

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Mauro Tassotti joined A.C Milan in 1980, Arrigo Sacchi was presented with a major headache. He was torn between playing the more experienced right full-back ahead of the blossoming talent that was Paolo Maldini. Maldini had risen through the ranks at the Rossoneri and was already touted as the next big thing to hit the club.

He showed great experience and made the right fullback position in the youth teams his own. Due to his versatility shown even in his early years, Maldini allowed Sacchi to make a decision that would go on to define Paolo Maldini’s entire career. Playing a right-footed defender in the left full-back position was something that was done by coaches only out of necessity.

The absence of the already established left-back caused coaches to play right-footed players in that position, a decision which often backfired. Paul Breitner, Ruud Krol and Brehme all played sporadically in that role but none of them was able to make the position truly his.

paolo maldini1Paolo Maldini would go on to make history by making the position his own and inspiring the next generation of defenders to try to emulate his outstanding feats in a position that was believed to be for only left footed players.

Over the years we have seen more and more players try to imitate Paolo Maldini. Philipp Lahm, Gianluca Zambrotta, Javier Zanetti and Cesar Azpilicueta have continued in Maldini’s legacy recent times. These are the players that have also excelled and have become very efficient in their sides. They are some of the most consistent players and rarely make a mistake. What then makes these players who play out of position excel?

When Paolo Maldini begun his playing career, wingers at that time were typical out-and-out wingers. Wingers at that time were speedsters who could gallop forward from deep positions and deliver crosses for their attackers to finish off. That is what makes Maldini’s accomplishments all the more impressive.

Wingers would always aim for the by-line and would force Paolo to defend them on his left side which was not his stronger side but his ambidexterity allowed him to cope easily with their threat. In recent times however, wingers have taken a new approach.

Players on the left and right wings are no longer runners alone, they are creative players who cut-in infield any opportunity they get.This makes the work of the modern day right-footed left-back quite simple.

As wingers cut-in, the fullbacks get to defend them on their right side which is their stronger side. They can tackle the wingers quite comfortably and the danger of giving away fouls is reduced since the co-ordination on their right side is better. The only negative is that going forward these fullbacks offer very little.

Cesar Azpilicueta exemplifies this more than anyone. Even when he gets into promising positions in the opponent’s half, he is unable to deliver crosses unless he moves the ball to his right side. This makes him predictable and easy to defend. Right-footed left backs are fast becoming popular in football and more and more coaches are employing Sacchi’s master plan.

Who knows, maybe left-footed right backs will also begin to emerge as more right-footed left backs continue to perform at the highest level.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Muhammad Ali: 15 Career Defining Rounds

Muhammad Ali fought 548 Professional Rounds against 50 different men across a span of 61 fights, 13 countries, four continents and 21 years. 27 of Muhammad’s fights were scheduled for the 15 round Championship distance, so in this blog I will cover the 15 defining rounds of The Greatest’s career. Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis are the only fighters in history to win The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year on more than three occasions,...

Sports as We Know It May Never Look the Same Again

This lockdown has given us so many of the bad things we never really thought we'd see: widespread job loss, rampant hospitalization and deaths, and the major, sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb kind of problems in society. But, if there's something that everyone felt, it's the loss of sports. Many people said that sports is only important to sports fans, but it's becoming more evident that the purpose of sports isn't just exclusively athletic. Now, it seems like...

MLB: End Of Season Award Show 2 Cy Youngs, 2 Rookie of the Years and More!

The 2020 MLB regular season has come to an end, and with it comes playoff brackets, predictions, debates and discussions. However, we are going to save playoff predictions for another article. In this article we are going to talk about End of Season awards. Wo deserves the Cy Young awards?, Rookie of the Year? Most Valuable Player??? All of these questions and more will be answered. These are my opinions after watching the games,...

When It Comes To Israel Adesanya – Believe The Hype

If you've ever had the privilege of watching Israel Adesanya fight, you know that he is the perfect example of handcrafted precision. In his most recent fight, so many people felt this would be the fight that would finally DE-thrown the champ.  They felt Paulo Costa had the advantage because of his size, his strength and his overall power. If you've seen Costa, you know he's like a modern day Hercules. Costa's punches are explosive and...

2020 NBA Finals: A Champion Will Be Crowned

The stage is set. After a few short months that involved an eight game restart season and a very unique postseason,  the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat will face each other for the first time in the NBA Finals. There are a lot of storylines that will unfold during the duration of the Finals, but the main storyline will have to be LeBron James facing the team that helped him win two championships....

Memorable Test Match Innings: Kevin Pietersen at the Oval 15 years on

“I saw this innings via a social distancing gap between myself and the television. To truly have the visceral thrill of Pietersen’s 158, you needed to be at The Oval on 12 September 2005.” “Just because I've got a stupid haircut or diamond earrings, it's not going to make me cover drive a ball any differently.” Kevin Pietersen arrived on the international scene in full technicolour. In early 2005, KP entered the lion’s den of his...

Tewatia plays blinder as Rajasthan chase historic total to beat KXIP

Rahul Tewatia hit 5 sixes in an over as Rajasthan Royals chased down the highest score in Indian Premier League history to beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets on Sunday. Tewatia hit Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 18th over and added another six of the next ball he faced as Rajasthan chased down 224. Jofra Archer hit 13 from 3 balls to see the side home. Rajasthan beat their own record – they...

NRL Finals Loom as Regular Season Concludes

The first fixtures of the National Rugby League's finals series are locked in after the final round of the regular season came to an end today. The Competitors While Penrith Panthers had already secured the minor premiership and the top eight were determined two rounds ago, some key positions were still open and the race for those positions made for some entertaining footy. The Newcastle Knights failed to hold sixth place, going down on Friday to a...

Russian GP – Race Preview

Russian Grand Prix can be a boring race so let's hope this race gets off to a great start. The only memory I have of the Russian GP is Valtteri Bottas letting Lewis Hamilton win. Last race at Mugello was an exciting race. With two red flags and one horrible crash. And Ferrari 1000 celebration wasn't the best either, but that might be because of the strict rules now during COVID 19. So I am happy...

Benny Leonard: Always A Champion

If you sat down with a group of boxing fans under the age of say, 50, and began to talk about whether Benny Leonard really is a Top-10 all-time fighter, you'd probably have a cacophony of voices barking at you about how great "Sugar" Ray really was. Tell them you were talking about Benny Leonard though, and you might hear a lot of "Who's that?" from the same group. But Benny Leonard most definitely belongs...

Social Connect


Trending Now

AFL Finals Locked In

This weekend's results conclude the heavily disrupted Australian Football League regular season, turning attention towards the Finals series in October. Across 18 rounds spanning six...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x