Daniel Maldini continued a proud AC Milan legacy when he emulated his father Paolo and grandfather Cesare in representing the Rossoneri during Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Verona.
The 18-year-old replaced Samu Castillejo in the third minute of second-half stoppage time and although he only touched the ball once during his brief cameo, he ensured that three generations of the Maldini family have played in Serie A for Milan.
Daniel Maldini makes Milan debut: Five things to know
- Daniel Maldini made his first senior club appearance during Milan’s 1-1 draw against Verona at the San Siro.
- Maldini’s father Paolo made a club-record 902 appearances for Milan across a 24-year senior career, winning 25 major honours.
- After Paolo Maldini’s final appearance against Fiorentina in May 2009, the club retired his No.3 shirt, as they had also done with Franco Baresi’s No.6 previously.
- In August 2018, Paolo Maldini returned to Milan as sporting strategy & development director before he was promoted to sporting director last June.
- Paolo’s late father Cesare had also represented Milan as a player, making 412 appearances for the club between 1954-66.
Marco Davide Faraoni, a former Inter player, gave Verona an early lead at the San Siro before Hakan Çalhanoğlu equalised soon after. However, Milan were unable to find a winner despite Sofyan Amrabat’s red card for the visitors on 68 minutes.
As a last throw of the dice, Milan head coach Stefano Pioli threw Maldini Jr on, but the youngster had too little time to make an impact.
Speaking post-match, Maldini said: “It was a dream come true, just a pity about the result.
“The debut was an objective of mine, now I hope to keep going strong. It was an emotional moment, but my father is very reassuring.”
Maldini’s introduction as a late substitute was the highlight of the game as far as Milan’s supporters were concerned and the young attacking midfielder was greeted warmly as he came on.
The Italy U19 international’s emergence could even result in Milan unretiring the No.3 shirt as it can be restored if any of Paolo’s sons play for the club’s first team. He is currently wearing number 98.
Maldini’s first son Christian was also on the books of Milan but failed to make a first-team appearance and is currently playing for Pro Sesto in Serie D.
1950s: Cesare Maldini
1960s: Cesare Maldini
1980s: Paolo Maldini
1990s: Paolo Maldini
2000s: Paolo Maldini
2020s: Daniel Maldini
AC Milan's legendary legacy continues after Daniel made his first Serie A appearance. 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/N4Uur0349N
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 2, 2020
“It was not planned. In fact, he wasn’t even meant to be in the squad, as he hadn’t trained for a couple of days and was only added to the squad at the last minute,” Paolo Maldini said afterwards.
“I didn’t get the chance to feel too emotional, as I was so swept up in the game. Looking at it now, I recognise it’s a wonderful moment for my family and the fans who welcomed him with such affection.”
Paolo Maldini had followed in his father Cesare’s footsteps by pulling on the famous red and black stripes, but he opted against moving into coaching after retirement in 2009.
Cesare, who died aged 84 in 2016, was Milan manager across two separate spells between 1972-74 and again briefly in 2001, while he also coached Italy U21s for a decade and the senior side at the 1998 World Cup.
Milan have endured a difficult campaign to date as they are currently seven points off the Champions League places in Serie A after 22 games.