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What Happened When Sir Alex Ferguson Tried To Sign Paolo Maldini From AC Milan

What Happened When Sir Alex Ferguson Tried To Sign Paolo Maldini From AC Milan

Sir Alex Ferguson had many legends play under him during his tenure at Manchester United, but one footballer that he missed out on bringing to Old Trafford was Paolo Maldini.

The 77-year-old legendary Scotsman did not want to pass up the opportunity to sign the former AC Milan defender and even tried to make a move for him.

However, Ferguson was completely shut out of signing him when he spoke to the one-club legend's father, Cesare Maldini.

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"Well, I did try [to sign Maldini]," Ferguson recalled. "But when I met his father, he was quite formidable. I got a shake of the head, that's all I got."

While the former United manager initially joked about Cesare saying nothing to him, he did reveal why he wouldn't let the former Italy international sign for the Red Devils.

"No, he did say: 'my grandfather was Milan, my father's Milan, I'm Milan, my sons are Milan. Forget it,'" he explained.

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Maldini played for I Rossoneri from 1985 to 2009 and made an incredible 647 appearances, scoring 29 times for the Italian club.

The 50-year-old, who is the sporting strategy and development director at the club, had a trophy-laden career at Milan, winning Serie A seven times, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italianas, five European Cups/Champions Leagues and five Super Cups.

Sure, Ferguson was able to have a defensive partnership like Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand during his time at the club, but imagine if he had Maldini as one of the options in his squad?

After all, there are many, many footballers that have praised Maldini for his impact and leadership on the pitch.

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"Paolo Maldini is the best. A defender. A peerless defender. The best defender going," Andrea Pirlo said (via Planet Football).

"Both physically and mentally, he had everything, and the enjoyment he got from playing was as obvious at 40 years of age as it had been the day I first walked through the door at Milan."

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard called him the "definition of how a captain should be."

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho said that he was "one of the best defenders in Champions League history, but what was so impressive about him is that when he was on the ball he didn't look like a defender, but like an elegant midfield player."

Former United, Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović added: "Maldini was the best and toughest defender I ever faced. He had everything: he was a complete defender, who was strong, intelligent and an excellent man-marker."

Speaking of Maldini, one fan recently shut down a comparison between the Italian defender and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (yes, someone actually went there).

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Is Maldini the best defender in footballing history?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Paolo Maldini, Football, Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Serie A, Premier League, AC Milan, San Siro, Old Trafford

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Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]