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Saturday, March 18, 2006 

Albertini signs off at San Siro

Football stars past and present came together at the San Siro stadium in Milan last night for a testimonial match in honour of the ex-Italian international Demetrio Albertini.

Night of stars
Advertised as the 'Notte di Stelle' (night of stars), the game featured current and former players from AC Milan and FC Barcelona, including Andriy Shevchenko, Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Jean-Pierre Papin and George Weah on the Rossoneri side, and Ronaldinho and Hristo Stoitchkov on the Blaugrana. It was a repeat of the 1994 UEFA Champions League final, won 4-0 by Milan, in which Albertini had a prominent role.

Strong support
The match, contested by Albertini's first and last clubs, was organised by the 34-year-old midfielder himself and he cut an emotional figure when thanking the 35,000 crowd at the final whistle. "I have had a lucky career, a career full of success," he said. "I could only dream about a day like this. Thank you all, the public, the fans. I will keep you always in my heart."

'The very best'
Albertini retired from playing in December after going six months without a club. "I started compiling a list of footballers I had played alongside in my career, and I have ended up inviting the very best," said 'Il Metronomo' (the metronome) about his benefit game. Albertini spent 14 seasons at Milan before having a year apiece at Club Atlético de Madrid and S.S. Lazio. He played out his final professional campaign, 2004/05, at Atalanta BC and Barcelona.

Source: uefa.com

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