AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has reminisced about his illustrious career with the Rossoneri, discussing some of the highs and lows of his 25-year career.
After making his debut for Milan as a 16-year-old, Maldini emerged into one of the finest defenders in the world. He spent his entire career with his boyhood club, before retiring as a 41-year-old in 2009.
The former defender spoke at the Festival dello Sport, and is quoted by Football Italia as saying: “I hope that I’ll be remembered as a fair player. At times I could be very rough. Once at an awards ceremony with Diego Maradona, they showed a clip of an incredibly tough tackle. I went to Diego and apologised, saying I didn’t remember the incident.”
Maldini also spoke highly of his time with former managers Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti and Nils Liedholm, before praising the side's current manager Gennaro Gattuso. He said: “In tactical terms, [Gattuso] has improved a lot, which is why we have total faith in him.
"He was courageous to come to Milan, he knows what he’s doing, knows how to deal with the players and mediate with the club too."
Maldini then discussed some of the worst moments of his career, including Milan's 2005 Champions League final loss to Liverpool. He said: “Perhaps along with the 1994 World Cup Final lost to Brazil on penalties, that was the worst moment of my career.
“Football gives and it takes away, but at the end you have to accept the result, especially when you’ve given your all. If you watch it back, it’s not true that we sat back on 3-0, as we still had plenty of chances at 3-3 too."
Despite his legendary career, Maldini never won a trophy during his time with Italy. He admitted: “I said no to the call-up in 2006 and they won. It was destiny, I guess. I still had a wonderful time, but the game I’d really like to play again would be against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. I never got angry with referees, but that day it was frankly impossible not to."