Paolo Maldini was named Best Sporting Director for 2022 at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, but Lorenzo Bettoni argues the Milan legend should have also won the Best Defender Of All Time instead of Sergio Ramos.
Serie A and Italian football got plenty of recognition at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai. Maldini and Massara beat Napoli‘s Cristiano Giuntoli to the Best Sporting Director, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano Galliani received awards for their careers, Victor Osimhen was the best Emerging talent and Carlo Ancelotti the Coach Of The Year.
Maldini is not formally Milan’s Sporting Director, a role covered by Ricky Massara, but is the ‘Chief Of The Technical Area’ as he clarified in an interview with Sky Sport Italia after the ceremony.
“I am not strictly a sporting director, although some duties are partially the same. There isn’t a role like mine in any other club,” said Maldini.
“I am responsible for the technical area. I am very happy to be here in this new chapter of my life.”
Perhaps, an award that would suit the Italian legend more is the Best Defender Of All Time, won by PSG star Sergio Ramos in Dubai.
The careers of Ramos and Maldini had a similar trajectory. They both started as full-backs, Ramos on the right and Maldini on the left, and ended up playing as centre-backs in the final years of their careers.
Ramos is still playing for PSG and has won plenty of trophies in his career, including four Champions League, three UEFA Supercups and four Clubs’ World Cups. He also became World Cup and European champion (twice) with Spain.
Maldini never lifted an international trophy with Italy, losing the World Cup Final in 1994 and the Euro Final in 2000.
However, he won the Champions League and the UEFA Supercup five times, a record shared with Real Madrid star Toni Kroos, adding seven Serie A titles with the Rossoneri.
He is also the second player for most appearances in Serie A after Gigi Buffon and is widely recognized as one of the best defenders of all time, along with other Italian legends such as Franco Baresi, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta.
His tidy defensive style has made him become an unachievable reference point for all defenders, including Ramos.
Maldini only received four red cards – just one straight – in 647 Serie A games in his career, while Ramos has received 28 red cards, 26 for Real Madrid and two in less than two seasons for PSG.
Despite his infamous disciplinary record, Ramos is probably the best defender of the last decade and the trophies he’s won for club and country cement his place as one of the best ever.
However, seeing him receive the Best Defender Of All Time Award in front of Maldini seems like a bit of a stretch and – especially from an Italian perspective – the Rossoneri director would have deserved it more given what he accomplished on the pitch.