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Albertini bids farewell at San Siro

Written by: Staff
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ROME, Mar 16 (Reuters) Former AC Milan and Italy midfielder Demetrio Albertini bade an emotional farewell to his playing career after a celebrity match in his honour at Milan's San Siro stadium.

Yesterday's game pitted a Milan side past and present against a Barcelona dream team and drew 35,000 spectators.

It brought together former Milan greats, including Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Franco Baresi, with members of the current Milan and Barcelona sides, such as Andriy Shevchenko and Ronaldinho.

''I have had a lucky career, a career full of success. I could only dream about a last day like this,'' 34-year-old Albertini was quoted as saying on La Gazzetta dello Sport's website.

''Thank you all, the public, the fans. I will keep you always in my heart.'' Albertini was part of the successful Milan side of the early 1990s, winning five Serie A titles and the 1994 European Cup. He also won 79 caps for Italy.

The central midfielder spent the second half of last season at Barcelona, where he made five league appearances, but announced his retirement as a player in December after several months without a club.

Albertini made his debut for Milan in January 1989 against Como and was with the club until his move to Atletico Madrid in 2002.

He then had a season with Lazio before moving to Atalanta and then Barcelona.

REUTERS PDS PM1747

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