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Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni wants captain Paolo Maldini to postpone his planned retirement from the Italian national team.

Maldini, Italy’s most capped player with 126 appearances, has often stated his intention to retire from the nnational side at the end of the World Cup finals but Trapattoni is eager for his captain to continue.

“I hope that he will stay on with us,’ Trapattoni told Gazzetta dello Sport. ‘He needs to tell me how he feels and whether he has the desire or not. I won’t be sending him into retirement though,” said the Italy coach.

“The qualification campaign for the European Championships begins soon. Maybe within a year a young replacement could come along and then we can see what happens. Above all he is still needed,” added Trapattoni.

Italy begin their European qualification campaign against Azerbaijan on September 7. The other teams in their group are: Yugoslavia, Wales and Finland.

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