Monday, June 2, 2008

Rino wants to lead Milan

Azzurri midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is dreaming of the Milan captain’s armband, but he hopes Paolo Maldini will wear it for a little while longer.

There was intense speculation that Gattuso would leave the Rossoneri after last season’s disappointing fifth-placed finish and he was linked with Bayern Munich.

But Rino instead committed himself to Milan with a contract extension that should ensure he sees out his career at San Siro, possibly as club captain.

“I hope that Maldini continues his fantastic career, but it would be a great honour to be captain,” he told

“I haven’t set any limit for how long I will play for and I hope that I will able to carry on for a long time.

“Even though I sincerely want to see Paolo on the pitch, I hope that one day in the future I will wear the captain’s armband.

“Milan has had a special place in my heart since childhood and it would such an honour to follow in the footsteps of Maldini and Franco Baresi.”

Gattuso also revealed that he had considered quitting Milan after the Diavolo’s heartbreaking Champions League Final defeat against Liverpool in 2005.

“After the incredible loss to Liverpool I was confused and it hung over me for a long time,” he explained.

“Fortunately, the Coach and my teammates were able to motivate me again and I rediscovered the will to win. It was great that we avenged that defeat in Athens.”

Looking ahead to next season, Gattuso is hoping for some new blood to strengthen the Milan ranks.

“To be strong we need two youngsters,” he said. “This isn’t the end of a cycle, we will be competitive.

“You can’t write off a side that have won the Champions League and the Club World Cup so recently.”

Channel 4