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Maldini's fire still burning

PAOLO MALDINI admits his ceaseless passion for football is what enables him to continue playing at the highest level for Milan.

The veteran defender recently penned a two-year contract extension to prolong his playing career until June 2005.

The long-serving Rossoneri legend has revealed it is his desire to play which helps him to push his body through the rigours of a club season.

"I take the right stimulus from my big love for football," said Maldini. "That passion is the only thing that allows me to still make the efforts during training sessions and engage myself at the top.

"I try to exploit what I can obtain now because, probably, in about two years I won't live these emotions anymore."

Turning his focus to the immediate future, Maldini believes it is imperative Milan beat Como this weekend to ensure they are fully tuned up for next week's Champions League showdown with city rivals, Internazionale.

Maldini also believes the return to fitness of Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo has boosted Milan's prospects for success.

He added: "We have to try to win (against Como) to stay close to second place and prepare in a good way for the Champions League derby.

"A win over Como will surely allow us to arrive on Wednesday with the right morale.

"For us, it's fundamental having Seedorf and Pirlo back in good condition. At this moment, it's important to have many choices."

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