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Felipe Mattioni and Taye Taiwo were unworthy holders of the No. 2 shirt, the number Mauro Tassotti wore with distinction during an era when AC Milan reigned supreme.
When Cafu arrived at the club, he was good enough to don the No. 2 shirt, considering he was a crucial part of the legendary Telê Santana-led São Paulo side. Cafu was a squad member of the 1994 FIFA World Cup winning team. Eight years later, he captained Brazil's victorious 2002 World Cup campaign. Not to mention, he had built up a reputation as II Pendolino in Italy, having won Serie A with Roma.
Taiwo's No. 2 shirt was rightly assigned to the promising Mattia De Sciglio, who has exceeded expectations this season.
Tassotti, who is currently the assistant manager at Milan, sees himself in De Sciglio (via Meytar Zeevi at Rossoneri Blog): "Obviously, I keep an extra eye on Mattia De Sciglio as he plays the same role as I used to play. He has a bit of my characteristics: a mix of athleticism and technique—and also the same stamina."
Mauro, whose name is interlinked with Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Paolo Maldini, also made this stunning admission (via Paolo Menicucci at UEFA.com): "He [De Sciglio] is stronger than I was at his age. He has amazed us since his first training sessions with the first team."
Alberigo Evani, Milan's 1989 Intercontinental Cup hero, spoke highly of De Sciglio's football intellect and versatility (TuttoMercatoWeb via MilanNews.it).
Ignazio Abate, who could permanently lose his starting role to Mattia, told Milan Channel (via Football Italia): "Mattia is doing well and is definitely a player going places. He is growing both defensively and offensively."
Italian national manager Cesare Prandelli highlighted De Sciglio as one of the many up-and-coming Azzurri youngsters (via Football Italia).
In one of the rare moments that Silvio Berlusconi wasn't fibbing, he talked about the Rossoneri going cheap and young over more experienced yet costly players (via La Gazzetta dello Sport):
All our scouts have diverted their attentions from the so-called top players and are focusing on finding top young players. We're currently keeping about one hundred 18-20 year-old players under close observation, and we've already spotted some we hope to be able to bring to AC Milan. But, for now, let’s enjoy the ones we already have here. El Shaarawy is a world beater and De Sciglio is exceptional.
Doesn't this hype around De Sciglio remind you of another young Italian defender?
A certain Davide Santon, formerly of Inter Milan, who was earmarked as the next Maldini.