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Costacurta signs off at San Siro

At the age of 41, Alessandro Costacurta has signed off on an AC Milan career that saw him win 23 trophies since his Rossoneri debut back in October 1987.

Reflecting on the 3-0 defeat by AC Milan in the return leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final, Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "The biggest difference was the level of experience and you gain that by keeping the same team for many years as Milan have done." Alessandro Costacurta, who played his home game in the Rossoneri shirt on Saturday after 20 seasons, can surely confirm the words of the Scotsman.

'Great contribution'
As many other players have done in the past, the 41-year-old Costacurta will continue to work for Milan also after hanging up his boots. He will become an assistant manager to coach Carlo Ancelotti alongside another former Rossoneri legend Mauro Tassotti. "He will give a great contribution with all his experience," Ancelotti said. "We will be a very good trio." The defender was celebrated in style on Saturday after the 3-2 home defeat by Udinese Calcio in which he also scored only the third goal of his Serie A career.

'Fantastic day'
After the final whistle all the players – including those in the stands – entered the pitch wearing Costacurta's No5. Then the defender did a lap of honour before getting the bumps by his colleagues. "It was a fantastic day and I am very grateful to everyone for this celebration. I thank the club, my team-mates and my family," he said. "I've always thought you have to dedicate yourself fully to a job and so in my new work I won't have time to think about my playing days. I will enter the coaching staff and I am happy to take on this new role. I had many different options open, but my priority was to stay at Milan. This is a big family."

Legendary defence
During his career Costacurta played 59 games for Italy scoring two goals and taking part in the 1994 – when Italy finished as runners-up - and 1998 FIFA World Cups as well as EURO '96™ but his successes came mostly with Milan. Alongside Tassotti, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, Costacurta formed one of the best back-lines in the history of football under coaches Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello.

Curtain closed
After making his debut in a 1-0 win at Hellas-Verona FC in October 1987, he won a total of 23 trophies with the club, included seven Scudetti, four European Champion Clubs' Cups, two European/South American Cups, four UEFA Super Cups, five Italian Super Cups and the Coppa Italia. After 458 games in Serie A and 660 in total, putting him third in the all-time Milan appearance standings, 'l'invincibile' Costacurta, a real Milan legend, has finally closed the curtains on his wonderful career.