Albertini: 2006 was very emotional

Demetrio Albertini has always been the epitome of Italian elegance, both on the pitch and off it. The former Rossoneri midfielder is now vice-president of the Italian Football Association (FIGC) and was in Zurich on 12 March to meet with the Organising Committee of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Here are some extracts from FIFA.com's talk with the former Italy and AC Milan star. For the full interview, click on the video link to the right.

"As vice-president of the Italian Football Association, I do get to travel quite a lot, representing Italian football at various events, which is what I am doing here at FIFA for this committee meeting," he explains.

Albertini hung up his boots at 36 after a glittering career. He made almost 300 appearances for AC Milan, with whom he won five league titles, four Italian Super Cups, an Italian Cup, three European Cups, a Toyota Intercontinental Cup and three European Super Cups to go with the Spanish league title and Spanish Super Cup he picked up while at FC Barcelona. He was a lynchpin of the Squadra Azzurra midfield between 1991 and 2002, making a total of 79 appearances and scoring three times. He played in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and the 1996 and 2000 UEFA European Championships.

Pirlo has more talent
With a career like that to look back on, little wonder that Albertini finds it hard to choose his favourite moment. "I think it's got to be the Final of the World Cup in 1994 against the mighty Brazil. Sure we lost, but we were still the second best team in the world."

He called time on his career in 2005, too early to play any part in the Italian victory in Berlin in 2006, but his heart was still very much with the team. "It was very emotional. I felt a little bit jealous of the guys at times but even so it was quite something," he recalls.

In Italy, comparisons are often drawn with Andrea Pirlo, given their physical resemblance and the fact they have both been at the heart of the AC Milan midfield. Having played alongside Pirlo, Albertini sees one major difference. "I used to cover every blade of grass on the pitch and he definitely runs around a little less. That said, he's more talented and more skilful on the ball than I ever was, that's for certain." As you can see, Albertini remains a true gentleman, both on and off the pitch.