I got to thinking yesterday as the Rossoneri and Il Capitano, Paolo Maldini, began their trek to Japan. Japan has been very, very unkind to the man you see above in all his glory. If we all stop and think for a moment, the last time Paolo was in Japan was a loss in this very same club cup, but before that was one of the worst days I can remember as a fan of Calcio and more importantly Paolo Maldini.
That day was the 2002 WC in South Korea and Japan in a match that involved the Azzuri and the hosts South Korea. It was in that match that Maldini lost the will to play for his country, and I felt maybe even the will to play at all. It was really a crappy match were the referee lost control and so did a one Francesco Totti, who upon further recollection has rarely ever done anything of value for the Azzuri. The nail in the coffin of Maldini's career was a golden goal scored over his head and into the net, with that Maldini left the Azzuri in what I still to this day believe was a honorable way to retire, again take note Totti.
Now as Maldini returns to Japan you have wonder if Il Capitano carries the weight of past trips on his shoulders as he attempts to claim his third International Club Cup. As you can see his luck on thes journeys has been poor and also somewhat fruitless.
Hopefully this year will be different as the Rossoneri attempt to claim the FIFA World Club Cup in a 4 team tournament for the title. Carletto seems to be placing a large emphasis on this cup which I believe to be more or less a friendly endeavor to showcase football in Asian countries. Wouldn't it be great if FIFA played this competition in the United States...YES!
Check back as I try to keep everyone up to date on the happenings of Milan's quest for the Cup.