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Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Sunday, 16 December 2007

Maldini to quit at end of season

Paolo Maldini (centre) celebrates winning the Club World Cup with AC Milan
Maldini announced his retirement against the backdrop of victory

AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini has revealed he will retire at the end of the season.

The iconic defender, 39, made the announcement after Milan's 4-2 victory against Boca Juniors in the Fifa Club World Cup final in Japan on Sunday.

"Today I truly feel satisfied with what I have achieved," said the former Italy star, who earlier this year won his fifth Champions League title.

"In June I will absolutely retire without any regrets."

Since making his league debut in 1985, Maldini has enjoyed a host of honours with Milan, including two Intercontinental Cups (the forerunner of the Club World Cup), four European SuperCups and seven Serie A titles.

He has been feted as one of the greatest defenders in the history of the game.

But lifting the Club World Cup trophy proved to be the icing on the cake for the veteran star, who also played a record 126 games for Italy between 1988 and 2002.

"It's great to have won this trophy because it's difficult to be playing at 39 in a great club like AC Milan," he added.

"Milan has allowed me always the possibility to play for important trophies.

"I have had everything in my football career but I have pain and I struggle. I still have a lot of fun but the pain is beginning to take over."

The only success missing in Maldini's career is an international honour with Italy.

He was on the losing side in the 1994 World Cup final when Brazil won on penalties, and in Euro 2000, when France took the trophy with a 2-1 victory in extra-time.

see also
Tim Vickery column
16 Dec 07 |  Internationals
AC Milan 4-2 Boca Juniors
16 Dec 07 |  Football

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