It's a sad time when you learn a player, albeit a star player, that has been a member of the team you support for the entirety of your time as a football fan has decided to leave the club. Alessandro Nesta has been an integral part of the Milan back four since 2002. After being bought from Lazio in 2002 for a fee of roughly 31 million euros, Nesta cemented himself as one of the best center backs of his generation. He's garnered countless accolades for his defensive prowess and this can be quantified in his individual awards as well as those he's won as part of a team.
He helped Milan win Serie A in 2004 and 2011, the Coppa Italia in 2003, the UEFA Champion's League in 2003 and 2007, the FIFA Club World Cup in 2007 and was a vital part of the backline that helped Italy capture the FIFA World Cup in 2006. Individually, he's been named as a member of the UEFA team of the year four times, won Serie A Young Footballer of the Year way back in 1998, won Serie A Defender of the Year for four consecutive years, and was a part of the FIFPro World XI twice as well as being named to the FIFA 100, a list comprised by Pele consisting of, in his opinion, the greatest living footballers.
He recently announced that he would be leaving Milan and would explore other career opportunities, perhaps with the MLS, according to The Associated Press. While he lost a significant amount of pace and was hampered by injuries in the latter part of his career, he was always a welcome addition to see on the team sheet. One of the classiest defenders I've watched play in my lifetime, he will undoubtedly leave a void in the Milan squad both as a player and as a leader.
In the following slides, I will propose a number of players that Milan could purchase this summer in an attempt to replace Nesta. Needless to say, replacing a legend will not be easy but these players can attempt to emulate the legend in both his quality on and off the field.