‘You used to SCARE me’: Thierry Henry tells AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini he used to fear playing against him during his career – insisting the Italian used to ‘epitomise what defending is all about’
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry used to be ‘scared’ of Paolo Maldini during his playing career, the Frenchman revealed to the AC Milan icon on Wednesday night.
Maldini was speaking to Peter Schmeichel and the CBS Sports studio ahead of Milan’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Inter, and Henry took the opportunity to speak with the former defender in a heartwarming exchange.
The ex-Gunners superstar insisted that Maldini ‘epitomised what defending was all about’ and admitted he was afraid of the Italian when the pair locked horns at the World Cup in 1998.
‘We played against each other in ’98,’ he recalled. ‘When I realised I was coming on – and playing on the right – I suddenly got scared because of what you represented, the defender that you were.
‘For me, you epitomise what defending is about, and the human being is even better than the player if that can be possible. I just want to tell you that you used to scare me.’
Thierry Henry (pictured) told Paolo Maldini that he was ‘scared’ of him during his playing days
The two all-time greats were talking ahead of Milan’s Champions League semi-final with Inter
Henry (right) faced Maldini (left) during France’s World Cup quarter-final against Italy in 1998
Maldini kept Henry quiet during Italy’s World Cup quarter-final against France, helping his side carve out a 0-0 stalemate, but was ultimately knocked out by Les Bleus on penalties. France subsequently went on to win the tournament.
The two all-time greats briefly rubbed shoulders a year later at Juventus before Henry’s historic move to Arsenal in the summer of 1999.
It was a disappointing night for Maldini – Milan’s technical director – on Wednesday, as the Italian giants were beaten 2-0 by their rivals following first-half goals from Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Milan are bidding to win their first Champions League trophy since 2007, when Maldini captained the Italian side to glory in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.