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27th Jun 2017

Paolo Maldini’s professional tennis debut ends in defeat

You can't win 'em all...

Simon Lloyd

32 years on from making his debut for AC Milan, Paolo Maldini has embarked on a new professional career in an entirely different sport.

This week, the impossibly handsome former Italy defender, now 49, made his bow at the Aspria Cup, a professional tennis tournament.

Maldini and doubles partner Stefano Landonio – who is also his coach – earned a place in the competition after winning a qualifier. Unfortunately, they failed to progress beyond the first round, beaten by Poland’s Tomasz Bednarek and Dutchman David Pel, 6-1, 6-1.

The Aspria Cup is held in Milan and forms part of the Challenger Tour, one tier below the ATP World Tour.

Maldini spent the entirety of his football career with AC Milan, winning seven Serie A titles and five European Cups. As well as this, he earned 126 caps for his country (only Gianluigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro have earned more).

Since retiring aged 40 at the end of the 2008/2009 season, Maldini has concentrated more on his tennis, with Landonio becoming his coach almost instantly.

Only last year, we learned that Sir Alex Ferguson had once attempted to sign Maldini for Manchester United, only for the player’s father, Cesare, to rebuff his advances.

“I did try [to sign Maldini] but when I met his father he was quite formidable, I got a shake of the head,” Ferguson said at an event for the International Champions Cup in New York, where he was alongside the player he tried to sign.

“He said: ‘My grandfather is Milan, my father is, I am Milan, my sons are Milan. Forget it’.”