A one-club man and historic captain of AC Milan, Franco Baresi is widely considered to be one of Italian football’s greatest ever talents.
He represented AC Milan for 20 seasons between 1977 to 1997, and he was the captain for 15 of those. Among his honours list, Baresi can boast of six Serie A titles, three European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, three UEFA Super Cups and four Italian Super Cups. He was nicknamed ‘Piscinin’, Milanese for “little one,” but then became known as ‘Kaiser Franz’ after Franz Beckenbauer. Franco Baresi is currently second in the all-time list of record appearance holders for AC Milan.
He received his first ever call-up for the Azzurri aged 20. Head coach Enzo Bearzot included him in the squad that took part in the 1980 European Championship and in the triumphal 1982 World Cup campaign in Spain.
He was seen as the natural successor to Gaetano Scirea and, after a break, came back to the national team under head coach Azeglio Vicini, who considered him a crucial player in Italy’s defence. He then took part in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where the Azzurri finished third. Vicini’s successor, Arrigo Sacchi, promoted him to the captaincy in 1991. Baresi was also part of the team that ended up as runners-up in the 1994 World Cup in the USA. He picked up an injury during the early stages of the tournament, but returned for the final, which Italy lost to Brazil on penalties.
Baresi played his last match for the Azzurri on 7 September 1994, aged 34. In total, he made 81 appearances and scored one goal.
He was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame of in 2013.