Paolo Maldini is widely regarded as one of the best center-and-left-backs of all times in the history of football. In his illustrious career, he faced the tough attackers in world football, which included the best strikers of all-times.
Recently, he was asked – published in Marca – about the qualities, which a striker/attacker should possess.
In reply, he dished the names of various players from the past, his playing days and current generation, the qualities of whom would help to create an ideal striker.
Power: Ronaldo Nazario
“The Brazilian Ronaldo was a unique player, with an almost unstoppable acceleration,” Maldini said.
“I’ve not seen a player with such devastating runs and such composure inside the penalty area.”
Pace: Jamie Vardy
“Jamie Vardy was key to Leicester’s Premier League title win under Claudio Ranieri,” Maldini said.
“With the ball in space, Vardy is a pure greyhound.”
Elegance: Marco van Basten
“He was like a ballerina in the penalty area and, despite his size, he had a great ability to make us enjoy his football,” Maldini said.
Left foot: Lionel Messi
“Messi’s left foot would be the one for the perfect striker: in freekicks, of which he’s scored many, cutbacks, close dribbling, goalscoring… His left foot is undisputed,” Maldini said.
Right foot: Kylian Mbappe
“The French striker could run Ronaldo Nazario’s power and speed close, but his right foot especially stands out for me when he stops and let’s fly,” Maldini said.
Heading: Carlos Santillana
“Real Madrid’s Carlos Santillana is one of the best to ever head a football,” Maldini said.
“Those photos of him leaping and hanging in mid-air to head the ball are truly memorable.”
Opportunism: Gerd Muller
“It’s said that Muller never scored a beautiful goal, that they were all ugly,” Maldini said.
“But that is the instinct of the center-forward and he scored goals in all the biggest games in that way.”
Goalscoring instinct: Gary Lineker
“I’m sure that he would’ve killed everyone in the Wild West because he draws quicker than anybody,” Maldini said.
“The top scorer at the 1986 World Cup was a sensational striker in the penalty area.”
Personality: Cristiano Ronaldo
“Cristiano Ronaldo always knows how to lift his team, has the ability to overcome things, stands out for his guts, and making those around him better,” Maldini said.