Franco Baresi (born May 8, 1960 in Travagliato, province of Brescia) is an Italian youth team coach and former football defender with AC Milan, acknowledged as one of the greatest defenders ever to play the game. Baresi was colloquially called "piscinin", Milanese for "little one".
He is also the younger brother of Inter Milan assistant manager Giuseppe Baresi. Hoping Franco could play with him in the nerazzurri; Giuseppe brought him for a trial in Inter's youth team, but Franco was rejected. Despite this setback, he didn't give up and decided to try out for arch-rivals AC Milan, where he was accepted.
Baresi led the 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 719 games, scoring 33 goals.
He retired from playing in 1997 aged 37. With Milan, Baresi won six scudetti (Serie A league titles) and three European Cups – though he did not take part in the last win, his club's 1994 Champions League victory, through suspension. He mentored defensive partner Paolo Maldini in his later years, whose career has followed a similar path.
His Number 6 shirt was retired by the club, a rarity for Italian football.
Baresi was selected for three World Cups for Italy, in 1982, 1990 and 1994. Baresi was part of the 1982 World Cup squad in Spain aged 22 as understudy to Gaetano Scirea, but didn't play, just like in the 1980 European Football Championship, where he was called up along with his brother Giuseppe.
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