‘You used to scare me’: Thierry Henry tells AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini that he was afraid to play against him throughout his career.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was ‘afraid’ of Paolo Maldini during his playing career, the Frenchman revealed to the AC Milan icon on Wednesday evening.
Maldini spoke 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 chat with the former defender in a heartwarming exchange of thoughts.
The ex-Gunners superstar insisted Maldini was ‘the epitome of defending’ and admitted he was scared of the Italian when the pair clashed at the 1998 World Cup.
“We played against each other in ’98,” he recalls. “When I realized I was coming in – and playing on the right side – I suddenly got scared because of what you represented, the defender you were.
“For me you embody what defending is all about and the human being is even better than the player if possible. I just want to tell you that you always scared me.’
Thierry Henry (pictured) told Paolo Maldini that he was ‘afraid’ of him during his playing days
The two all-time greats spoke to Inter ahead of the Champions League semi-final in Milan
Henry (right) facing 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 work out a 0-0 stalemate, but was eventually knocked out by Les Bleus on penalties. France went on to win the tournament.
The two all-time greats briefly rubbed shoulders at Juventus a year later before Henry made a 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 after first-half goals from Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Milan are making a bid to win their first Champions League trophy since 2007, when Maldini captained the Italian side to victory in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.