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26th Mar 2017

Alex Ferguson reveals what happened when he tried to sign Paolo Maldini

What a signing this would have been for Manchester United...

Robert Redmond

What a signing this would have been.

Manchester United came close to signing several players who would go on to star for other teams. Famously, Paul Gascoigne told Sir Alex Ferguson he would sign for him when the United manager returned from holiday.

Gazza would instead join Tottenham Hotspur in 1988. Alan Shearer twice turned Ferguson down, joining Blackburn Rovers in 1992 and then Newcastle United in 1996.

Gabriel Batistuta and Ronaldinho also came close to moving to Old Trafford, only to join Fiorentina and Barcelona respectively.

However, Paolo Maldini never came close to signing for United, despite Ferguson’s attempts.

The Scot has revealed that he tried to sign the legendary Italian defender, who played for AC Milan between 1985 and 2009, making 902 appearances for his hometown team.

However, Paolo’s father Cesare, a Milan legend himself who passed away last year, wouldn’t entertain the idea when Ferguson asked to sign him.

Maldini Sr. gave Fergie a look, and shook his head before completely dismissing any notion that Paolo would leave the San Siro.

“I did try [to sign Maldini] but when I met his father he was quite formidable, I got a shake of the head,” Ferguson said at an event for the International Champions Cup in New York, where he was alongside the player he tried to sign.

“He said: ‘My grandfather is Milan, my father is, I am Milan, my sons are Milan. Forget it’.”

Cesare Maldini played for Milan between 1954 and 1966, and was the club’s manager between 1972 and 74, and for a brief spell in 2001. He was also Italy coach between 1996 and 1998.

Paolo is one of football’s legendary figures, and won five European Cups with Milan. He was never likely to leave the club, but it was worth a try by Ferguson.

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