AC Milan and Italy legend Paolo Maldini qualifies for professional tennis tournament
Paolo Maldini won five Champions League titles, was capped by his country 126 times and is widely recognised as one of the greatest defenders of all-time.
It turns out he's not bad at tennis either.
The former AC Milan and Italy captain is set to make his debut on the professional tennis circuit eight years after retiring from football.
Maldini will play his first match at the Aspria Tennis Cup in Milan on his 49th birthday next week alongside doubles partner and coach Stefano Landonio.
The pair qualified for the ATP Challenger event after winning a "rodeo" tournament at the Aspria Harbour Club.
"Paolo's gifted with a good serve in addition to some decent shots," Landonio, formerly ranked 975th in the world, told the Tennis Italiano website.
"He's also improving his volleys and while he may not be catching the eye in any particular part of his game, he does not have any weaknesses either."
Landonio began coaching Maldini when he hung up his boots in 2009.
"Since he only started playing five or six years ago, there are some deficits in terms of technique," he added.
"If he'd started working on his technique earlier, then who knows?
"Certainly in view of his background, he's got extraordinary mental and physical strength. Psychologically, he never suffers in the slightest in delicate situations - he's really strong."
Independent News Service
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie