Monday March 25 2013
Not yet the New Maldiniā€¦

As Mattia De Sciglio continues to be likened to Paolo Maldini, Alex Mott questions why people feel compelled to compare one player with another.

‘The next….’ is a phenomenon in football we just can’t get away from. As soon as a young player shows any sort of promise, fans and journalists alike are quick to hail him as a modern-day great – comparing attributes and characteristics with a former legend.

Mattia De Sciglio was one such player burdened by comparisons. As soon as the full-back broke into the Milan first-team aged just 19, the shadow of Paolo Maldini hung over him like a bad smell.

“De Sciglio is a player that can use both feet, just like Paolo Maldini. In my opinion, he plays better on the left,” Vice-President Adriano Galliani told reporters earlier this month. “If he manages to bulk up a bit and get some muscles, then he will be like Paolo Maldini.”

For someone who has only been a regular for the Rossoneri this season, mentioning him in the same breath as arguably the best player in the club’s history is putting enormous pressure on a 20-year-old. And is quite frankly irresponsible.

As we saw in Italy’s friendly with Brazil last week, De Sciglio still has a lot to learn about the art of defending. The Selecao’s opening goal came directly from the youngster’s lack of concentration – with Fred easily drifting towards the back post and slotting home a neat volley.

The player himself, though, has been keeping his feet firmly on the ground when it comes to following in the footsteps of a club legend.  “As soon as I started playing my inspiration was Maldini, but every player has his own style,” the 20-year-old stated. “Assistant Coach Mauro Tassotti is helping me a lot to improve in my role and I really hope to mirror the career that Maldini had.”

Of course, there’s good reason why people seem to be getting excited about the boy just out of his teens – assurance on the ball, sound defence know-how and the very modern ability of being able to bomb up and down the touchline, are all qualities De Sciglio has in abundance.

Last term, when he made his debut for the club in the Champions League tie with Viktoria Plzen, he was the sole bright young thing in a team of superstars. This year, however, the full-back has come to the fore as one of the leading lights of a New Age Milan based around youth and vitality.

On his own, that could damage any player. Luckily though, with Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli also taking some of the limelight at San Siro, it could mean that the No 2 flourishes in the role.

“I like watching De Sciglio play – how he makes himself useful to his teammates and how he runs up and down the flank," Maldini told Milan Channel in March.

“De Sciglio definitely has the Milan style and the appearance of a Milan player. He has the advantage of being a versatile player. He can play on both the left and the right side. Physically he can still improve a lot, but even when I was 20, I was not fully mature and was not a complete athlete. I believe he will do the same.”

It’s the ultimate endorsement from Europe’s ultimate defender. But it doesn’t mean that Mattia De Sciglio is ‘The New Paolo Maldini’. Not just yet anyway.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Abate has reached his potential, can't cross well and his pace is all he has going for him. Lackluster defending especially in critical games is why De Sciglio should start ahead of either Constant or Abate any game. DeSciglio is not as fast but is alot smarter and can cross better than both. #ForzaMilan
on the 31st March, 2013 at 8:13pm
maldini is the best player of all time and dont compare with DS, this lad still has to improve and i think he will be a great player like maldini, but stop comparing to different players, i hope he will learn from his teammates..
on the 27th March, 2013 at 8:43am
It's retarted how ppl thing that DS is new maldini. He is more like Angelo delivio if he works up his morale. He needs to bulk up to fend off the likes of ranoldo and messi. Ranoldo has done steroids tho already. DS and SES are the future and have great chemistry. If cerci goes to Milan than they will be the anti Juve for sure. Maldini is too good to be compared to, he deserved a World Cup in the end tho but nests stole it from him and Grosso. DS can play anywhere legit mate.
on the 27th March, 2013 at 4:26am
Of course he is the new maldini, like gourcuff was the new zidane, santon the new maldini, pastore the new kaka, pogba the new viera,

Apart from pogba (who is no viera) does anyone know what ever happened to these crap overhyped players?

That should answer your question about what will happen with de Sciglio.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 10:47pm
There is only one maldini I agree. But DS is turning out to be an excellent youngsters. Just look at Italy's second goal..
on the 26th March, 2013 at 8:43pm
there is only one maldini - as there is only one de sciglio - let him develop and be himself - maldini compared to know one - de sciglio might be the same!!
on the 26th March, 2013 at 6:58pm
There is only and will only ever be one Maldini the best defender in the world! I agree with the others give De Sciglio a break and let him mature and he does not need bulking up! Look what that did to Pato!
on the 26th March, 2013 at 4:44pm
don't burn his career by this comparisons like what you did with santon
on the 26th March, 2013 at 11:31am
Not yet the new Maldini is seen in football matches. there nothing compared to him, he was the best defender of the world.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 7:57am
I agree abate ain't getting the credit he deserves. u actually made an intelligent comment.

Also DS is good at crossing I wudnt be surprised if he evolves into an attacking wing back or winger. He could even play CB. He reminds me of a tall giaccarini because they r both versatile everywhere. His cross to SES in the CL was class. He is surely better than constant.
Those navy blue f50 shoes r ugly tho.

liking this new Milan it's exciting cuz them and Juve r gonna be good next season in CL
on the 26th March, 2013 at 5:34am
None of the goals were his fault. As (lac) also pointed out, it was the CB's fault and Mattia had covered his man perfectly. On the second one, his ball was blocked but he tried his best to come back and make amend. If there was De Rossi instead of Pirlo in the middle when Neymar cut inside and if it wasn't a friendly game, De Rossi would have taken him down for a yellow, thus no goal afterward. Pirlo let Neymar go so easily. When a FB moves up,it is the duty of the midfielders to cover his spot
on the 25th March, 2013 at 6:46pm
The first goal was clearly not his fault. Look at the two centerbacks, they let the striker to head the ball forward. DS was the only back for the two other brazil attackers. He moved closer to the center, but there were no man on the another striker. It was the two centerbacks goal.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 4:58pm
Shouldnt even be a blog or artical comparing the two Maldini is a legend and de sciglio is so young and has lots to improve on I mean Abate is better than de sciglio and he is never compared.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 2:30pm
Is a great player/defender made or is he already a great and simply improves on his talent.

Both goals were De Sciglio errors the first you could forgive as he was clearing the front of goal and Fred happened to be there by chance to score but the second goal he leaves Oscar free to time his run and slot home whiles only a couple of yards behind him.

If it isnt already in a defenders psych' to be goal side of an attacker i dont know how much more 'making' can benefit
on the 25th March, 2013 at 1:43pm
oh come on give this young man a break. give him time, let him enjoy his time, there's nothing good about putting a pressure on him. he's gonna be there some day, just give him time!
on the 25th March, 2013 at 1:13pm
I consider Paolo to be the greatest footballer ever. To announce someone as the next maldini, would be crippling to anyones development. The world may never see a defender like him again and we shouldnt have such atmospheric expectations of a teenager.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 11:52am

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