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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Billy Costacurta Plays His Last 90 Minutes For AC Milan

Alessandro "Billy" Costacurta, who like Paolo Maldini, has been the foundation at AC Milan for two decades, will make his final appearance this Sunday versus Udinese at the San Siro. Billy, who turned 41 a few weeks ago, has played his entire Serie A career with Milan (with the exception of one year on loan to Monza of the Serie C). This was his 20th season at Milan. During the last few years, he has been a reserve, and perhaps a great mentor to the younger Milanese contingent.

Next year, he will become an assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti, who was his former teammate years ago at Milan. Sunday will be his 458th appearance in the red and black shirt of his beloved club. He has won the Scudetto 7 times, the Coppa Italia once, the European Cup/Champions League four times, and the Intercontinental Cup twice. If Milan beats Liverpool next Wednesday in Athens, he will join Paolo Maldini as the only two players to win the European Cup/Champions League five times in the modern era. Only Paco Gento of Real Madrid has won the competition on more occasions: 6. Last fall, he became the oldest player to start a Champions League game.

Costacurta also featured 59 times for the Azzurri, where he scored 2 goals. Although he was a starter on the team, because of suspension, he did not play in the epic World Cup final of 1994 against Brasil. He also competed at the Euro 1996 in England, and the World Cup of 1998 in France.

Billy is also a baseball fan. A few years ago, he had the honor to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He may be the only professional soccer player to ever do this.

Complimenti e auguri, Billy. Sei grande.

Note:

Although Milan lost to Udinese, 2 x 3, Billy scored on a penalty kick. It was his third career goal in the Serie A. He was shortly thereafter substituted to a standing ovation.

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