Maldini set for 100-match Champs League milestone

February 19, 2007

ROME, Feb 19 (Reuters) - AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini will become only the fifth player, and first Italian, to notch up 100 Champions League appearances if he plays against Celtic on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old defender, who is expected to start the last 16 tie at Celtic Park, is one match short of a milestone previously reached by the Real Madrid trio of Raul (106 appearances), Roberto Carlos (105), and David Beckham (102), as well as Bayern Munich's Oliver Kahn (100).

Maldini has been a fixed point in Milan's starting 11 ever since making his Serie A debut for the club against Udinese in January 1985.

With him in the side, Milan won seven Serie A titles and were crowned champions of Europe four times, in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2003.

He already holds two records in the Champions League. His goal after 51 seconds of the 2005 final against Liverpool was the fastest ever scored in a final. It also made him the oldest player to score in a final.

Maldini also made a record 126 appearances for the Italian national team before calling time on his international career after their exit from the 2002 World Cup.