Saturday, May 23, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Former Team-Mates Hail The Career Of Paolo Maldini Italia caught up with some of the legend’s ex-team-mates, prior to his retirement next weekend.

Paolo Maldini is set to close the door on what has been an illustrious career spanning over an incredible 25 seasons with Milan, since 1984. To celebrate the occasion, Italia exclusively caught up with some of the legend’s former team-mates, who expectedly had kind words of praise for the retiring 40-year-old.

“Maldini is a great player, and unfortunately Italian football will lose a true legend next weekend,” Giuseppe Signori told Italia

Signori played with the former Azzurri captain for the national team, over a three-year period from 1992-95. He went on to add that: “He has been a wonderful player, one who certainly deserved to win a Ballon d’Or. I would have given him one for sure.”

Massimo Agostini, a former striker of Milan for one season back in 1990/91, continued to heap the praise on the retiring legend.

“Maldini is a great man with whom I had the honour of playing with, even if it was only for a season.

“From a young age he had already won a number of cups, and he was a very strong player with great prospects for the future. It’s a shame that his career is coming to an end, but I would like to thank him for everything he has given to football.”

Another former striker of the Rossoneri was next in line, as Alessandro Melli, a player who made only six appearances for Milan, as well as two for the Italian national team, commended Maldini on his achievements over time.

“A career such as his is unimaginable. I do not know how it is possible to succeed at the highest level for so many years.

“The thing that strikes me the most about him though is his personality. I played very few games at Milan, however in those rare times he would always be the first to come greet me and speak with me.

“I am convinced that he has the ability to take the next step and become a coach one day, following in the footsteps of [Carlo] Ancelotti, [Mauro] Tassotti and [Marco] Van Basten. He could do really well.”

The final team-mate that exclusively spoke to Italia was Stefano Nava, another former Rossoneri team-mate of Maldini, who made 21 appearances for the club from 1990-1995.

“The great champions of this game are usually the big men. Paolo is a beautiful person, he is properly educated, and he has been a great example to everyone both on and off the pitch. He has always had a great approach to matches and major events.

“I was fortunate enough to grow up with him, as we grew up together outside of football. We used to catch the bus to training from the Piazzale Lotto, where we studied.

“He will leave one of the greatest marks ever in the history of the club, even more so than [Franco] Baresi.”

The 40-year-old icon will take part in his last ever match at the San Siro this weekend, as the Rossoneri play host to Roma on Sunday.

Adrian Del Monte,