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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Maldini to put operation on hold
Paolo Maldini
Maldini will be gunning for his fifth Champions League title
Paolo Maldini is to postpone a knee operation in a bid to play in his eighth Champions League final.

The AC Milan skipper missed Wednesday's 3-0 semi-final, second leg win over Manchester United as he had an injury that was sustained in the first game.

But the 38-year-old is hopeful that he will be fit to face Liverpool in the showpiece final in Athens on 23 May.

Maldini said: "Had we lost against Manchester I would have had surgery but now I just want to play in the final."

The absence of the former Italy international did not hinder the Rossoneri, who trounced United 3-0 at the San Siro to line up a showdown with Liverpool.

Liverpool are a team that have no fear and I hope to be available

Paolo Maldini

But Maldini admits the chance to avenge his side's 2005 final defeat by Rafael Benitez's men has forced him to put his operation on hold.

Milan lost in a penalty shoot-out against the Reds in Istanbul, having given away a 3-0 half-time lead and with Maldini having scored the opener after only 51 seconds.

He added: "I have thought about the final of Istanbul for at least a year, even though two years have gone by.

"Liverpool are a team that have no fear and I hope to be available."

He also hinted that he is ready to postpone his retirement for another year, adding: "It would be great to lift the Champions League cup.

"But then there is the European Super Cup left to play and the Inter-continental final, so I would have every intention to continue to play."

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