AC MILAN legend Paolo Maldini has rejected an offer to coach at Chelsea - and compounded it by advising former team-mate Andrea Pirlo to also give Stamford Bridge a miss, writes Yann Tear.
The 40-year-old, who retired last season after one of the most impressive playing careers in modern football, was approached by former boss Carlo Ancelotti to join him in the move to west London as part of his backroom staff.
But Maldini has chosen to take time out from the game to be with his family - and perhaps wait for AC Milan to make an approach.
"I talked to him about it and made an offer, but he told me he wanted some free time for himself and his family," said Ancelotti.
"After so many years spent on the pitch, it is understandable."
Maldini recently met up with the new Chelsea manager in London and was introduced to assistant coaches Ray Wilkins and Paul Clement.
Ancelotti has also approached Mauro Tassotti and other staff members at Milan, but the club will not allow them to leave.
Ancelotti is also keen to lure Pirlo to Chelsea.
The 30-year-old Italian midfielder has been with Milan eight years and earned 59 caps. He is a Champions League and World Cup winner. But Maldini's love of Milan prompted him to tell Pirlo to forget about the Blues.
"I think Andrea should stay, but I don't know what the club thinks," Maldini said.
"He'll think about it all very carefully, not just 10, but 100 times before leaving."