AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini is hoping to be back in action by the end of September as he steps up his rehabilitation following knee surgery in the summer.
Maldini, who delayed the surgery in order to appear in the UEFA Champions League final win against Liverpool FC, will be unavailable when Milan open the defence of their European crown in the first round of group matches on 18 and 19 September. The 39-year-old will start running again within the next ten days, however, and is confident he will be able to make a worthwhile contribution to the new campaign, his 23rd as a Milan player.
"I feel good," said Maldini, who collected his fifth European Champion Clubs' Cup winner's medal in Athens in May. "My knee is not swollen and I will be back running at the end of August and then restart training together with my team-mates after another consultation with the specialist. According to our programme I will resume playing by the end of September, if everything goes well. I decided to have the surgery to be able to play on a regular basis and not only a few games."