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Calcio Debate: Will The Retirement Of Maldini, Nedved & Figo Further Damage Serie A's Image?

Italy’s three top clubs will be losing a veteran each due to retirement this summer. Paolo Maldini, who earned legendary status playing his entire career with Milan, will end his playing days along with Inter’s Luis Figo and Juventus’ Pavel Nedved.

The trio may not have the influence they once did on a match-to-match basis, but nonetheless they are top class players that Serie A will no longer boast in their ranks.

Maldini has been a stalwart in the centre of defence for the Rossoneri this season, making 28 appearances. Nedved was perhaps the best midfielder in the Bianconeri’s weakest area in 2008-09. Meanwhile, Figo was able to add a bit of creativity to an otherwise methodical Inter side.

Their inspiration on the pitch was a pleasure to see, but their star-quality ensures that they cannot be so easily replaced as Serie A continues to lose ‘big names.’ The Italian, Czech, and Portuguese player were known around the globe.

Without them, a sizeable percentage of Italian football’s most noteworthy players are reduced. Milan can still boast Kaka and David Beckham. Juventus have Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero. Inter are personified by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Roma through Francesco Totti, but otherwise you’d be hard pressed to find world-renowned footballers.

Not so long ago, there was something called the ‘seven sisters’ of Italian football, they were the top seven teams in the peninsula, when even Fiorentina had Gabriel Batistuta and Parma featured Lilian Thuram. World Cup legends Ronaldo and Roberto Baggio could be seen week after week and a French wizard named Zinedine Zidane wore black and white. Not to mention the likes of Christian Vieri, George Weah, Edgar Davids, Juan Sebastian Veron, and Oliver Bierhoff, who all plied their trade in Italy’s top division.

Whether this will happen again down the line is anyone’s guess, but at present Serie A will be missing some significant star power due to the exits of Maldini, Nedved, and Figo.

Even if the Scudetto races never saw the best of the Portuguese Euro 2000 star, the letters on the back of his shirt spelled out a household name, along with the other two aforementioned veterans. There are some talents on their way up such as Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli who could eventually fill the void, but that is not for certain and not immediate either.

European results over the past few years have seen the Italian teams stutter to a greater extent as the more prominent names flock to England and Spain. If Serie A squads want to get back on the map, they need the supporters to be back on their side, and while too many star names is rarely a good strategy in terms of tactics, having too few rarely suffices either from a public standpoint or from a marketing one.

Is Serie A devoid of marketable superstars? Can the likes of Maldini, Nedved, anf Figo be easily replaced? How can Serie A attract these types of players? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think?

Adam Scime, Goal.com