Cesare Maldini, who has passed away at the age of 84, was an AC Milan legend and one of the most successful coaches in the history of European youth football.
Under his tutelage Italy won an unprecedented three consecutive UEFA Under 21 titles in 1992, 1994 and 1996.
He was coach of the full national team for the 1998 World Cup and although that squad failed to realise its potential his contribution to Italy’s amazing victory in 2006 should not be underestimated.
Seven of the 23 man squad that won the World Cup in Germany played under Maldini in those 1990s triumphs.
Goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Angelo Peruzzi , defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta, and forwards Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti and Filippo Inzaghi tasted success on the international stage under his watch.
In 2006 they used that experience to help a talented group of Italian players become World Cup winners.
Maldini’s playing career was legendary – he won for Serie A titles and lifted the European Cup with Milan – and his familial legacy is formidable.
His son Paolo needs no introduction and his grandsons, Christian and Daniel, look like continuing the family business.
But his role in the formation of a golden generation of Italian footballers should not be forgotten when his legacy is remembered.