x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

A Baresi re-match for Rush

Ian Rush scored almost 300 goals in an illustrious career spanning two decades, but the Welsh striker still rues not being able to put one past the Italian legend.

DUBAI // Ian Rush scored almost 300 goals in an illustrious career spanning two decades, but he still rues not being able to put one past Franco Baresi, the Italy and AC Milan legend, during his time in the Serie A with Juventus. The Emirates airline Football Sevens, starting today at The Sevens with more than 300 amateur teams in action, gives Rush another crack at the man he believes is one of the game's greatest defenders and the former Liverpool and Wales striker is excited about the opportunity.

"I didn't score against Baresi there [in Italy] so I am looking to try and get payback now," said Rush who lead Liverpool out in the eight-team legends tournament, which also includes Milan, English sides Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, the Scottish pair Rangers and Celtic and the UAE team who qualified for the 1990 World Cup. "He is one of the most difficult defenders I have played against. He is a fantastic player. He is not one of them with great pace, but his ability to read the game is incredible.

"When people ask me the best defenders I have played against - Paul McGrath of Manchester United and Franco Baresi, they are such quality players." Rush will not just have to contend with Baresi. Another of the game's great defenders, Paolo Maldini, will be playing alongside his mentor and the star-studded AC Milan line-up - which also includes Paolo di Canio, Christian Vieri, Alessandro Costacurta and Zvonimir Boban - makes the Italians favourites for the title.

"Milan have a great side there and I am not surprised," said Rush. "In Italy they all love to keep them playing. They keep themselves fit. So they are definitely the team to beat. "We'd give anything to beat them." @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae