Milan: AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini has signed to stay with the Serie A club until June 2005, when he will turn 37, and has taken a 30 per cent pay cut in his new contract.
“I’ve accepted to take a pay cut. I agreed to the club’s request because it is going through a particular period,” Maldini said.
Italian football has been engulfed in a cash crunch, with several top-flight clubs facing severe financial problems. “I’m delighted to have extended my contract, I couldn’t have hoped for a better future,” the player told AC Milan’s television channel. Asked about his age, Maldini said: “I still feel good and I think I can play for two more great years.”
“When I signed the contract with (Milan vice-president) Adriano Galliani, we decided to go until 2005 but he means to further extend it because he considers me a young guy. It was me that said 2005 as an expiry date, but later we’ll see...”
Veteran defender Maldini, who has played for Milan since 1985, last month broke the Italian record for most appearances in European competitions after playing his 118th match in a club competition. The 35-year-old had played full 90 minutes in all but five of those matches.
He has played 501 matches in the Italian championship, winning the ‘scudetto’ six times. AC Milan is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the country’s richest man, but it has not been spared the money problems that have blighted Italian clubs.