Former Italy defender and national coach Cesare Maldini dead at 84

Cesare Maldini, an Italian former footballer and coach whose son Paolo became a legendary player for AC Milan, died overnight aged 84, his family said Sunday.

Born in the north-eastern port of Trieste on February 5, 1932, Maldini played as a defender for Triestina, AC Milan and Torino from 1952 to 1967.

At Milan, Maldini won a European Cup as captain and four Serie A titles before returning as coach in 1972-1974 and 2001. The club paid tribute to "a true Milanista."

"President Silvio Berlusconi and the rest of the club will always remember fondly his charisma, kindness and warm smile," a statement on the club's website said.

City rivals Inter Milan said on their website that “a great opponent passed away this morning. For many years at AC Milan he was synonymous with the derby.”

The Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini and Bayern Munich's next coach Carlo Ancelotti were among many expressing their condolences.

Maldini's career high as manager was coaching the Italian national squad from 1996 to 1998, when the Azzurri went out on penalties in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup to eventual winners France.

He was Italy's deputy coach when La Nazionale won the 1982 World Cup in Spain, and was also in charge of the Azzurri's under-21 team as well as Parma, Foggia and Ternana. His last job was leading the Paraguay national team to the 2002 World Cup.

Franco Causio, part of the 1982 squad, said that Maldini was like an elder brother to him.

“He was close to us in the difficult moments, particularly with those of us who were not in the first team,” Causio said. “I am certain that up there he is coaching some team.”

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said a minute's silence would be observed before games played on Sunday and Monday in honour of Maldini, while Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wrote on Twitter that he was "a great Italian."

Last update: Sun, 03/04/2016 - 14:09

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