Friday, March 7, 2008

Maldini reconsiders retirement

Milan legend Paolo Maldini has sensationally admitted he may reconsider his retirement at the end of this season.

He turns 40 in the summer and had said repeatedly he would hang up his boots in 2008, but a resurgence of form and lack of injury worries might make him change his mind.

“I have a lot of energy left. One must be consistent, but at the same time only an idiot doesn’t change his mind,” smiled Maldini.

“In these last few months my knees are no longer hurting very much. The club and fans are pushing me to play for another year.

“I have to admit, three months ago I was in a much worse condition and had to stay out for five months following surgery. Now I feel better and am even playing in a role I hadn’t tried for quite a while.”

Due to injury problems throughout the side, Maldini has returned to the left-back position and performed admirably against the youngsters of Arsenal.

“That was a painful defeat, but it is easier to accept when you have achieved so much,” he said of the 2-0 Champions League exit.

“I think the fans understood that too. Arsenal deserved to win. They play beautiful, fast, total football.

“That competition has given me so much. The first trophy was the most exciting, then the first I lifted as a captain, as it came nine years afterwards.”

With this second round elimination, many have urged the Rossoneri to completely revolutionise the squad.

“I don’t think that’s necessary. We need the right men, going for quality not quantity. Our past is not so remote, as in the past 12 months we have won the Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

“If we look at what we have achieved over the past 20 years compared to Arsenal, there is a huge difference.”

Maldini has been at the forefront of that winning era and spent his entire career with this club.

“I never considered leaving. I was born here in a football sense and never really thought about a change of scenery.

“In the past there was contact with Chelsea. I was coming off a disappointing season and asked myself some questions, but at the end I decided to stay.”

Could the man with the most Italy caps in history come out of international retirement for Euro 2008?

“No thanks.”