Man United defender explains how he learned from Paolo Maldini and Cafu

The Manchester United defender discusses the impact Paolo Maldini and Cafu had on his career

Matteo Darmian has discussed the influence that AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and Cafu had on the Manchester United defender’s career.

The Italy international has proven to be a regular in Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side in recent weeks amid a defensive crisis at the back.

Darmian has struggled to hit top form since his £11.5m move to the Red Devils from Serie A outfit Torino in the 2015 summer transfer window.

The versatile defender started his professional career at seven-time European champions AC Milan before moving to Palermo in 2009.

The 27-year-old had the chance to learn from Milan legends Cafu and Maldini during his three-year first-team career at the San Siro.

And Darmian has lifted the lid on how he looked up to the Italian and Brazilian legends at the Serie A giants.

“Milan have had some outstanding full-backs in the past. Paolo Maldini is my idol and I met him when I moved up to the first team at the San Siro,” Darmain told United’s website.

“He was a great player, of course, but before that he is a great person and I tried to make the most of the opportunity of working with him, so I would look to Maldini and study him, because I think he is one of the best defenders in the world.

“To hear of comparisons, as I did back then, between myself and Maldini was, for me, too big a compliment, but of course a pleasure and huge honour. He wasn’t alone, of course – I was also fortunate enough to be around the first team at the same time as Cafu, who is another great full-back, so there were many great players I could learn from.”

Darmian was part of Manchester United’s squad that won the FA Cup at Wembley last season after a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in extra time.

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