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Maldini Monday

Maldini discussing his career courtesy of Channel 4...

Paolo Maldini looks back over his legendary career, the toughest opponent and what his thoughts will be during his final game.

“To be a great defender you need to be attentive and have the physical characteristics of a true athlete, because you will meet forwards who can overpower you and there you’ll need to play with intelligence,” he told Sky Italia.

“I think the absolute best opponent I ever faced was Diego Maradona, although in his first two years at Inter, Ronaldo was also phenomenal.

“I consider my career to be fun, as I cannot see football as work. If it was, I’d have already retired a few years ago.”

This will be Maldini’s final campaign, as he has already announced he will hang up his boots at the end of this season. What does he think his thoughts will be during that final match?

“That I have reached the end of a very long adventure that began when I was very young and ended, in football terms, at the incredible old age of 40.

"I will think of the great fortune I have had in achieving everything in my home town, with my club, having lifted the Champions League trophy like my father did before me and the fact my son is now playing in the Milan youth team.

“I’ll consider all that and think I have been a very lucky man.”

Despite all agreeing Maldini is one of the all-time greatest players, he has never won a trophy with Italy, or the Ballon d’Or.

"I missed out on a win with the Azzurri, but perhaps that wasn’t the time for us. We had many chances and always lost out on penalties,” said the holder of 126 caps.

“The strange thing is I became the captain of the Italy side before I was captain of Milan. I was happy to have more responsibility and was already close to 30, so I felt ready to take on the mantle of Franco Baresi.”

Maldini’s father Cesare went on to become a Coach of both Milan and Italy, but Paolo has already said he will not follow that path.

“There is a big question mark over my future. Those who were great players do not always become great directors.

“I am very open to any proposal and that includes a complete change of scenery. We’ll see what the future holds.”