Franco Baresi (born May 8, 1960 in Travagliato, province of Brescia) is an Italian youth team coach and former football defender with A.C. Milan, acknowledged as one of the greatest defenders ever to play the game. Baresi was colloquially called “piscinin”, Milanese dialect for “little one”. He is the younger brother of Inter Milan legend Giuseppe Baresi.
Baresi led the AC Milan team and its defence for the best part of a decade; a period during which Milan’s defence was considered by many observers to be one of the best back fours in the history of football, consisting of Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tassotti. He is also one of the few players who spent his entire career at one club, AC Milan, for whom he played 532 games, scoring 16 goals.
He retired from playing in 1997 aged 37. With Milan, Baresi won six scudetti (Serie A league titles) and three European Cups. He mentored defensive partner Paolo Maldini in his later years, whose career has followed a similar path. His #6 jersey was retired by the club, a rarity for Italian football. After a short spell as Director of Football at Fulham, Baresi returned to Milan as a youth team coach in 2002.
Baresi played in two World Cups for Italy. Baresi was part of the 1982 World Cup squad in Spain aged 22 as substitute of another great defender, Gaetano Scirea, but didn’t play. His international debut came later that year in a match against Romania. He also missed the 1986 tournament and made his World Cup debut in 1990 when Italy were the hosts. The Azzurri lost to Argentina in the semi-finals, but went on to beat England in the third place play off. He was rather unlucky to have been playing at a time when Scirea was still active in the Italian National Team as both of them were world class defenders and legends in the game, hence his few caps which most were gained when Scirea had retired from the Azzuri.
In the 1994 World Cup he was one step closer to lifting the trophy, losing to Brazil in the final. Despite missing four matches after being injured in Italy’s group match against Norway, he underwent emergency surgery and returned to captain the team in the final. He missed the first penalty in the shootout after the 0-0 full-time and extra-time score.
He was also a member of the Italian squad that finished fourth at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
On March 4, 2004, at a gala ceremony in London, to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of football revealed the FIFA 100. The list contains choice of the “greatest living footballers”, Baresi was one of many from the legendary Milan teams of the 1990’s to be included.
In 2002, Baresi was appointed head coach of AC Milan’s Primavera Under-20 squad. In 2006, he was moved by the club to coach the Berretti Under-19 squad, with his former fellow Filippo Galli replacing him at the helm of the Primavera squad.
* AC Milan:
o European Cup: 1989, 1990, 1994 (now called: UEFA Champions League).
o Intercontinental Cup: 1989, 1990.
o European Supercup: 1989, 1990,1994.
o Italian Championship:1979, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996.
o Italian Super Cup: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994.
o FIFA World Cup: 1982
o European Silver Ball Footballer of the Year France Football
o Top Scorer Italian Cup : (4 goals) Total (14 goals) Italian Cup.
o Italian League The Best Player of the Year.
o Best Silver Player World of the Year IFFHS : 1989
o Player of AC Milan of the Century Club.
o Named in FIFA 100