Paolo Maldini looked back over his Milan career and that infamous 2005 defeat to Liverpool. “I played eight Champions League Finals, but people only remember that one.”
The defender spent his whole life with a Rossoneri jersey on, as his father Cesare was the captain who lifted their first European Cup in 1963, also taking four Serie A titles, with Paolo following in his footsteps.
Now his two sons have come through the Milan academy, while Paolo returned as a director.
“There are very few years from 1954 onwards in which a Maldini has not been part of Milan,” he told UEFA.com.
“My rapport with this club started in 1978 and never came to a close. The fact that at least one member of the Maldini family has been at Milan since the 1950s should say it all.”
Paolo was in a more successful team than his father, winning the Champions League five times, three Intercontinental Cups, four editions of the European Super Cup, seven Serie A titles, five Italian Super Cups and one Coppa Italia.
However, it’s the 2005 loss to Liverpool on penalties, after fumbling a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 in Istanbul, that hangs over him.
“My goal in the 2005 Final was the fastest and most wonderful scored in a Champions League Final, the most dramatic to prove that things cannot be taken for granted and it’s that unpredictability which makes the sport marvellous.
“It makes me laugh that I played eight European Cup Finals and won five of them, but people only seem to remember that one. It left an important mark.
“We were the favourites, we played much better than Liverpool and the momentum of the game never really shifted apart from those six minutes. We were consistently dangerous going forward. But when you accept these painful situations, it becomes easier for you to have other chances to make up for them.”
Milan and Maldini got that two years later, beating Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League Final.
“I remember very little of the game. I had taken so many painkillers to get through it. I remember Pippo Inzaghi’s goals, the final whistle and a little of the celebrations.
“When I had surgery three days after the Final, every time I woke up, I’d ask if we had won or lost, just to make sure.”
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