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By ESPN Staff
Feb 13, 2009

Title hopes fire up Maldini for last Milan derby

AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini said ambitions to win one more league title have charged him up for Sunday's game against Inter Milan, his last derby before retirement.

Third-placed Milan need to close an eight-point gap on leaders Inter if Maldini is to add an eighth Serie A title to his huge honours collection, which also includes five European Cup-Champions League triumphs.

"Naturally my final derby is even more special," the 40-year-old told a news conference on Friday.

"The beautiful thing is I'm playing with something important at stake. I still believe we can come back and this team can win the title."

Maldini will bring down the curtain on his career at the end of the campaign, having changed his mind about quitting last season. But he said there was no chance of another postponement.

"I'm happy I changed my mind last year. This year I've had very few physical problems," he said.

"But in June I'll be 41 and I think it's right for me to stop this season."

Maldini said Brazil playmaker Kaka, who looks set to skip Sunday's match with a foot injury, would be missed.

"Going in without your best player is undoubtedly a major handicap," said the defender.

Maldini also said he would like to see David Beckham stay, as the Italian club negotiate with Los Angeles Galaxy to extend the England midfielder's loan move or make it permanent.

"David has expressed his desire to stay and that is what the club want too," he said.

"I don't know how his contractual problems will be resolved but if they are resolved we'll be very happy to have him until the end of the season and next year too, being as that is what he wants.

"When two people meet and they are happy I think there should be a marriage."

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