Paolo Maldini helped revolutionized the art of defending in soccer to what it is today. Before him, defending was based on physical strength and winning the tackle, but Maldini brought something new to the game. Maldini always knew where the offense would play the pass and he was always there to intercept, He famously said, "If I had to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake".
Madini already had greatness in his blood from a young age. His dad, Cesare Maldini, had won many trophies for his club, AC Milan. Maldini started young in AC Milan, 10 years old to be exact. Maldini made his debut at 16 years old as a sub, but quickly rose to become an irreplaceable part of the team.
Maldini's first season was mostly spent on the bench with one appearance against Udinsese during the 2nd half. His next season though, was the complete opposite. He was consistently starting in the back and holding his own against some of the best strikers and midfielders in the league including the legendary Diego Maradonna. During his entire career with AC Milan he has carried his team to 7 Scudettos and 5 Champions League titles. He almost won a world cup but lost to Brazil in the finals to penalties. He was named the World Player of the year by the World Soccer Magazine, the first defender ever to receive the award.
Before Maldini (as stated above) defending was mostly physical with no thoughts invovled, while Maldini had a mutitude of tatics before he even layed a hand on an opponent. When he defends he quickly forces the attacker into a bad spot then waits for the attacker to make a mistake then makes the tackle. Maldini never really relied on physical strength, he only used his body to throw an attaker off balance so his tackle would get the ball. Besides his amazing 1v1 skills, he always knew where to be on the pitch so he could intercept a ball or cover an open area.