Maldini dreams of one last Italy cap

MILAN - Paolo Maldini would like to play for Italy one last time before retiring at the end of the season, the AC Milan defender said on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old quit the Azzurri in 2002 having racked up a record 126 caps.

"It would not be a proper return to the national team but an occasion to celebrate a long career in the blue shirt ... I would really like that," Maldini told Milan's television channel.

Coach Marcello Lippi told Italian media he would not be averse to the idea but that the friendly with Brazil in London on February 10 would probably not be the right moment.

The holders face Montenegro and Ireland in 2010 World Cup qualifiers in March and April and have allocated two dates in June for possible friendlies ahead of the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Maldini, who made his league debut for Milan in 1985 aged 16, was due to retire at the end of last season but changed his mind and signed a one-year deal.