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Maldini joins Champions League 100-club
February 21, 2007 15:41 IST
AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini became only the fifth player, and first Italian, to notch up 100 Champions League appearances when AC Milan began their first round first leg match against Celtic on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old defender, reached the milestone previously attained only by the Real Madrid trio of Raul (106 appearances), Roberto Carlos (105), and David Beckham (102), as well as Bayern Munich's Oliver Kahn (100).
He did not make quite the start he wanted by being booked after 10 minutes by Norwegian referee Terje Hauge.
Maldini has been a fixed point in Milan's starting 11 ever since making his Serie A debut for the club against Udinese in January 1985.
With him in the side, Milan won seven Serie A titles and were crowned champions of Europe four times, in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2003.
He holds two records in the Champions League. His goal after 51 seconds of the 2005 final against Liverpool was the fastest scored in a Champions League final and also made him the oldest player to score in a final.
Maldini also made a record 126 appearances for the Italian national team before calling time on his international career after their exit from the 2002 World Cup.
"Obviously it's a big honour for me," Maldini told reporters on Monday. "But I used to play in the competition when it was not called the Champions League and I feel I have made more than 100 appearances."
UEFA Champions League 2006-07: The Complete Coverage