From His Lazio Debut As A 17-Year-Old To Crunching Messi At 35, Alessandro Nesta Was The GOAT

A complete defender, Italian center back Alessandro Nesta was unmatched in his ability at the back.

In a professional career that began back in 1994 with a Lazio debut as a 17-year-old and lasted until as recently as 2014 with Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League, Italian defender Alessandro Nesta spent over 20 seasons defining the center half position.

A World Cup winner, three-time Serie A champion and two-time Champions League title holder, Nesta was at the heart of some of the most famed defenses in the history of the game. He was a vital part of the celebrated Lazio side that narrowly eclipsed Juventus in the race for the 1999-00 Scudetto, and his arrival at Milan led to the 2002-03 Champions League title (Nesta converting the penultimate penalty for his side) and a legendary partnership with Paolo Maldini.  

An injury limited his appearances to the group stage during Italy’s triumphant run to the 2006 World Cup, and that’s really the only criticism you’ll ever hear of the Italian legend — he suffered his fair share of injuries throughout his long career.

Alessandro Nesta defending highlights

Alessandro Nesta at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Photo: @ClassicCalcio | Twitter

 

But those injuries did little to detract from Nesta’s incredible blend of physicality, technical ability and positional and tactical sense. Here’s a clip showcasing Nesta’s talents as a young buckaroo with Lazio.

And if you want proof of the defender’s lasting powers, here’s a 35-year-old Nesta taking on Messi with Milan.

After 10 seasons with Milan, Nesta joined the Montreal Impact in MLS and appeared in 34 matches over two seasons. His foray into North American soccer has since continued to the present day as he’s now the manager of Miami FC in the NASL.

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