Over a glorious quarter of a century he starred for AC Milan on the football pitch, now at 49 years of age Paolo Maldini will feature in a tennis tournament in Milan.
Maldini, now working as a director at Miami FC, made it through a qualifying tournament to earn a doubles wildcard for the Aspria Tennis Cup (starts June 26), which is part of the Challenger circuit, the level below the ATP.
His partner and coach Stefano Landonio said: “He’s got a good service, he doesn’t have a speciality shot but he has no weak points either.”
Landonio told Il Tennis Italiano: “We knew we could play well. It was our first competitive tournament, but we previously played some exhibition matches with Paolo for charity activities. Having started to play so late, just 5-6 years ago, he struggles a little bit on a technique level.
“Considering what he did in the past, he has amazing mental and physical abilities. Mentally he doesn’t struggle in the key moments, he is really strong.”
Maldini won 26 trophies with AC Milan including five Champions Leagues before finally hanging up his boots in 2009 aged 41. He also played 126 times for Italy.
Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon reaffirmed he is “99.9 %” sure of retiring at the end of next season — unless he finally ends his quest to win the Champions League.
“Yes, I’m 99.9 % sure that’s how it will go,” said Buffon when asked by Sky Sport if he would keep to an earlier promise to hang up his gloves at the end of the 2017-2018 campaign.
“I will have one final, intense season full of key dates, then it will be time to call it a day.”
Buffon, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, had previously said next season would be his last, although he is not expected to fully retire until after the 2018 World Cup in Russia — if Italy qualify.
But the 39-year-old left a tiny chance of going back on his decision, after losing the 2017 Champions League final to Real Madrid (4-1) and the 2015 edition to Barcelona (3-1).
“If we win the Champions League I will continue to play one more season so I can also try to win the World Club Cup and other trophies,” he added.
Gianluigi Buffon all but confirms his retirement date. 😢 pic.twitter.com/hxNVVgOOIC— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) June 12, 2017
The new jersey features the traditional black and white stripes although the collar’s color has been changed from black to white this season.
Midfielder Miralem Pjanic was the man tasked with modelling the top and can be seen in the tweets below.