Maldini turns down Italy invite

MILAN - AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini has rejected the chance to make a one-off comeback for Italy in their friendly with Northern Ireland next month.

The 40-year-old, who retires at the end of the season, had previously expressed interest in adding to his Italian record of 126 caps having quit the Azzurri in 2002 but told Thursday's Gazzetta dello Sport he would not play the June 6 match.

"No, I won't play a farewell game with the national team but I thank the federation for showing willingness," Maldini said. "I prefer to leave football in an official game."