Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he questioned Paolo Maldini's father over the player's availability.
The Italian legend, who spent 25 years with AC Milan during a stellar career at both domestic and international level, is recognised as one of the all-time great left backs in world football and made 902 appearances in all competitions for the Rossoneri.
Maldini playing anywhere other than the San Siro seems almost unfathomable, given his time at the club before retirement in 2009, and Sir Alex Ferguson found out the hard way that Manchester United would not be able to sign the player.
“I once asked Maldini’s father Cesare about him,” Ferguson told Italian publication Corriere dello Sport.
“He looked at me as if I was a madman and that response was enough to understand that the answer would be no."
The comments leave a tantalising thought of the even greater success the Red Devils could have had with Maldini within their ranks at Old Trafford, not just in the Premier League but also in Europe.
Maldini won five Champions League winners medals before ending his career, whilst Manchester United have only collected two in the Ferguson era.
During a wide-ranging interview, the Manchester United boss also spoke on Napoli's chances in the competition, and believes if they can get through 'the group of death', they can go a long way.
“Napoli are in the most difficult group, the group of death. If they can get through that group then they can do anything," he continued.
“When there is a draw you hope to avoid long trips, to avoid Turkish and Ukrainian sides because those far away games are a problem. The other thing is to pick up 10 points.”