Friday, February 22, 2008

Fans Beg Maldini To Keep Playing

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has been flooded with messages from supporters begging him not to retire from football.

The 39-year-old has announced that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the season, following almost a quarter-of-a-century at the very top.

On Wednesday night Maldini made his 1001st professional appearance during Milan’s 0-0 Champions League last 16 first leg draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The defender put in a brilliant performance that belied his years and was arguably the man-of-the-match. This display has led to hundreds of Milan supporters begging him to stay.

“Paolo change your mind”, “Il Capitano, don't leave football, you can still give a lot,” “Maldini unique, he must not give up”, “Paolo continue to lead us, continue to play” – these are just a few of the messages he has received.

Maldini however seems unlikely to change his decision, as he explained in the aftermath of the match with Arsenal.

"I think that it will be difficult to change my mind,” he said.

“From the outside you only see the positive things, those that go, but in reality I often find myself with some minor injury which does not allow me to remain calm.

“Continuing would be difficult. After all, my football career gave me a lot, therefore I feel extremely satisfied."

Maldini has stated on a number of occasions that he hopes to end his career in the perfect fashion by lifting the Champions League in Moscow on May 23.