Milan new boy inspired by a former Rossoneri great

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Bartosz Salamon: A new face to integrate into the Milan defenceGettyImagesBartosz Salamon: A new face to integrate into the Milan defence

Signed from Brescia in the January transfer window, 21 year-old defender Bartosz Salamon was presented to the media on Friday as he began life as a Milan player. The Polish starlet will certainly hope to become an integral part of a new group of youngsters that could represent the club for years to come.

When asked as to which players he enjoyed watching growing up, Salamon was explicit in his response. "I'm inspired by Nesta. I've always liked him a lot. But don't start comparing me with him now," Salamon told the media.

Having joined a club with such a historically rich vein of great defenders, it begged the question. Who is the greatest of them all?

Due to the constraints of age, I had the misfortune of missing out on watching the Franco Baresi in his prime and those that came before him, week in week out. After acquiring a concerted passion for Italian football in the late '90s and the decades that have followed, my earliest memories revolve around the likes of Billy Costacurta, Paolo Maldini and others of that generation.

And amongst such illustrious names is another club legend, the aforementioned Nesta. Even during his Lazio days and throughout the years he represented the Azzurri, there was something about the centre-back that made him unlike any other. Combining impeccable positioning with timing in the tackle, along with great distribution, his place in the Milan Hall of Fame is well earned.

After joining the club in 2002, Nesta went on to enjoy a trophy-laden decade at the club where he established his name further. Right up until his final years at Milan, he remained a unique and irreplaceable figure in the back-line. Many remember his tackle on Lionel Messi in the Champions League in 2011 as an act that aptly sums up his eternal talent.

Now plying his trade in the MLS, Milan fans have been left with many great memories from the last generation of 'elite defenders', and await to see when the club will produce another to follow in their footsteps. Question marks continue to hang over the likes of Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata, while many are left wondering how Daniele Bonera remains at the club.

Having been able to depend on a solid platform provided by Nesta and former partner in crime Thiago Silva during their time at the club, Milan are currently missing a solid pairing to provide that assurance in the heart of the defence. Salamon will certainly hope he can become the solution, but you still feel there is work to be done in that area in the summer.

Leaving the criticism aside though, the question still remains who is best Milan defender of all time? With numerous options to choose from, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts and experiences of watching those who you think are the best and why.

In other news, after much confusion due to their stadium issues, it has finally been announced that Milan will face Cagliari at the Is Arenas in Sardinia, with all eyes on the Olimpico on Saturday night to see if Lazio drop further points.

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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