I couldn't copy Maldini and play into my forties, says United star Ferdinand
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand insists there is no way he can emulate Italian legend Paolo Maldini by extending his career beyond his 40th birthday. Maldini finally called time on his stellar career at AC Milan in the summer at the tender age of 41. But Ferdinand does not think the sheer pace of top-flight football in England makes it possible for anyone to match Maldini in the Barclays Premier League. 'You could not play to 41 in the Premier League,' he told MUTV. 'Games are a lot slower in Italy and they don't play as many. 'When anyone comes here from another country they always say they can't believe how fast it is. It takes a couple of years off your career.' Ferdinand confirmed he hopes to be fit in time to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on September 12 after suffering a thigh injury a day before the Community Shield defeat by Chelsea at Wembley earlier this month. It means he will definitely miss England's friendly against Slovenia on September 5, plus the World Cup qualifier with Croatia four days later, when victory will be enough to seal a place at South Africa 2010. 'I had never been injured before last season,' said Ferdinand, recalling the back and ankle problems that kept him out for extended periods. 'I still played 45 games but it was the first time I have had time off and I found it really frustrating.' Paolo Maldini Legend: Italian Paolo Maldini has finally retired from the game at the age of 41 Ferdinand will be happy enough if the September 1 transfer deadline passes with no further additions, even though United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been linked with bids for Arjen Robben and Luka Modric in the last few days. He said: 'The manager has so much intelligence and experience. 'He is not looking for a like-for-like replacement for Ronaldo. He wants players who can push the team further on. 'If we go into the season with what we have now, I would sit very comfortably in our changing room. We have been successful in the last few years and we are not a one-man team.'
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