You heard it here first…Goal.com are launching an ambitious campaign for Marcello Lippi to play Paolo Maldini against Brazil on February 10 in what would be a special international farewell before the Milan hero retires. We need your support to help make it happen…
Paolo Maldini will finally retire at the end of the current season and, unlike the past two years, this time there will be no going back. This raises the question – just how do you honour a player, who will probably go down in history as the greatest defender of all time?
It can’t be possible that a monument of the game, who has won seven Scudetti, five Champions Leagues, been capped more than any Milan, Serie A or Italy national team player, can just fade away into the horizon. This is someone who has been consistently world class for the best part of a quarter-of-a-century, someone who is known for his fair play and humility on-and-off the pitch, loved, respected and cherished by all opponents and fans.
This is a player who defies the laws of physics, and sends shivers down your spine when you see him continue to compete with the best at the age of nearly 41.
To put it simply – Paolo Maldini is an incomparable legend, and it could be 100 years before we again see someone of his kind on the football field.
Maldini has not played for Italy since the 2002 World Cup second round clash against South Korea, with the defender announcing his retirement after the infamous Golden Goal defeat. He has since twice resisted calls to come back, first for Euro 2004, and then for the victorious 2006 World Cup campaign.
But how about Italy hands Maldini the international send-off he deserves during the prestigious friendly against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 10?
With the Azzurri playing just two more matches before the Confederations Cup in June, both important World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Ireland, this would be the last chance for Maldini to don the famous blue jersey for one last time, and the last opportunity for the fans to celebrate and pay tribute to their hero.
And what a finer finale than a clash against the world’s most successful nation, the team who denied Maldini the World Cup in 1994, and who would field a number of the stopper’s Milan team-mates, including Kaka, Pato and Ronaldinho.
In April 2004, Italy showed its romantic side by offering another retiring legend, Roberto Baggio, a sentimental farewell in a friendly against Spain. The reception in Genoa to ‘The Divine Ponytail’ was overwhelming, and the ex-Juventus and Brescia star left the field in tears when he was substituted three minutes before the end.
Maldini deserves to be able to say goodbye in a similar fashion, even if he is to only enter as a substitute late in the game and, for this reason, Goal.com, together with Goal.com Italia, are launching an ambitious campaign for Marcello Lippi to pick the Milan captain against Brazil.
We realise that this could be a long-shot, but he who dares, wins. With your help, we could make the impossible happen. With enough responses, this campaign/petition will be publicised throughout Italy and the World, and will also help enable us to get in contact with the two parties that matter most – Marcello Lippi and Paolo Maldini.
So ask yourself – do you want Paolo Maldini to be handed a farewell match against Brazil in a fortnight’s time? If you do, leave your real name, address and honest comment below, and we will try to make the dream come true…