We bid farewell to Paolo Maldini, Luis Figo, and Pavel Nedved.
Men of unbelievable talent, longevity, and work rate. This was their last day, their last season. We were privileged to see them play even when in opposition. Women all over the world weep, the eye candy store has been ransacked.
Paolo Maldini, El Gran Capitano, as everyone knows spent his entire playing career at Milan. A great organizer at the back; calm, composed and classy. Maldini was a seraph.
He was last of the quartet of great backs and along with Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, and Mauro Tassotti formed a steel trap defense responsible for Milan's golden '80s and '90s era. Along the way he won 7 Serie and 5 CL titles in 901 appearances spanning a quarter of a century. Milan ended its season on a positive note against Fiorentina winning 2-0 erasing some of the bitter memories that Maldini had to endure against his Curva Sud detractors in his last home game.
Luis Figo ended his career at Inter spanning four clubs, 20 years, 573 appearances and 91 goals. His speed down the wings, slick passing skills, and Craig Owen looks made Figo a media darling. Having a knock out Swedish WAG did not hurt either.
He began his career at Sporting CP before moving to Barca in 1995 for his best years becoming a fan favourite and defining his winger role. In 2000 he won the Ballon d'Or and the following year was anointed FIFA's best player. Figo also became one of the few players to play for both Barca and Real for which he left in 2000 as part of Florentino Perez's galacticos. For this he was branded a traitor by the Blaugrana and never forgiven. He spent 5 years at Real and was the last galactico to leave, making a long overdue move to the Serie when he joined Inter in 2005 and won 4 consecutive scudetti under Roberto Mancini and thereafter Mourinho. His retirement was hastened by a series of injuries which began after Pavel Nedved's hard tackle broke his leg.
Pavel Nedved, he of the flying golden locks and mercurial midfield moves finished his last day at Juventus. He was best known for his blistering runs, spectacular open field goals, loyalty to the club after the Calciopoli disaster and a hard tackle that broke Luis Figo's leg.
He joined Juventus from Lazio as a replacement to Zidane when the French legend left for Real. With Juve he won 4 scudetti and the 2003 Ballon d'Or. In 2006 with Juventus relegated to Serie B as punishment for match fixing, Nedved showed his fealty remaining at the club and pledging its promotion.The last few years of his career was marked by injury and constant rumours of retirement. His career spanned four clubs, 18 years, 499 appearances, and 110 goals.