Paolo Maldini names the three greatest players he’s ever seen, ignores Cristiano Ronaldo

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has revealed his exclusive list of the greatest footballers he has ever seen, while ignoring one of the game’s biggest figures.

Paolo Maldini, widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, has named Diego Maradona and two other football legends among the greatest players he has ever seen.

During a nearly three-decade playing career, the iconic Italian came up against some of the game’s biggest names.

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The AC Milan legend faced the mysterious Argentine playmaker Diego Armando Maradona, three-time World Footballer of the Year Ronaldo Nazario, silky Brazilian Ronaldinho, and 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane.

Who did Maldini name? 

When asked to name the best footballer(s) he has seen, Maldini expanded his list of all-time favorites to include Diego Maradona and Ronaldo Nazario, two players he frequently faced while at Napoli and Inter Milan, respectively.

Despite never meeting Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and reigning FIFA The Best Men’s Player, he included him.

“The three greatest players I saw in my career were Messi, Maradona and him [Ronaldo Nazario],” Paolo said via Tribuna in a documentary about Ronaldo Nazario, O Fenomeno. 

Observable absences

In order to include Ronaldo Nazario, Lionel Messi, and Diego Maradona on his GOAT list, the 54-year-old had to leave out some of the game’s greatest players.

The absence of legendary Brazilian Edson Arantes do Nascimento, affectionately known as Pele, who died last December after a long battle with cancer, and Ronaldinho was notable.

Not to mention Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi’s fiercest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not make Maldini’s list.

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