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Alessandro Nesta hasn’t stepped on the pitch in a year. Adam Scime ponders whether or not the talented defender should call it quits...

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Alessandro Nesta is just an average defender. The Italian has an uncanny knack for reading the game and putting in match-saving tackles.

Nonetheless, he has not made a single appearance for AC Milan this season. The 33-year-old has resumed training, but will not feature for the remainder of the campaign and reports have emerged that he is considering retiring from the game altogether. Rossoneri vice president Adriano Galliani was quick to point out that the club have no desire to terminate his contract and hope he can recover in time for next season.

The real question is whether it is only hope that exists for Nesta or if there is a possibility he could actually perform for another couple of years at the top level. Injuries have constantly plagued him throughout his career, with a prime example coming during the 2006 World Cup.

Nesta played the first two-and-a-half matches of the tournament for Italy before being sidelined and missing the rest of the victorious run. Months after the tournament a saddened Nesta quit the national team, saying it was in the interest of prolonging his career and that he did not feel like he was part of the squad.

In Need Of His Services

The former Lazio captain is a key player for Milan, extremely influential in the Rossoneri’s 2003 and 2007 Champions League triumphs. Ask Manchester United and Liverpool, as they received little joy against the competent centre-back just two years ago.

The Milanese giants could certainly still use him as they continue to struggle defensively. Guess who has made the most appearances at centre-back this year? It’s 40-year-old Paolo Maldini, and he’ll be retiring this summer.

Sandro could have been one of the true greats if not for all the time he spent in the treatment room.

A Comeback On The Cards?

No real indication has been given as to whether the Euro 2000 finalist is making real progress towards a return to the pitch. That the player is considering quitting is probably evidence that his recovery is going slower than expected. If that is indeed the case, there is little reason Nesta should continue, as it would only be prolonging the agony.

At his peak, he was arguably the best defender in the world, whether he will be remembered that way is a different argument altogether.

With any luck, he could return and win another trophy or two with Milan, going out as a hero. Then again, luck was never on Nesta’s side...

Will Nesta return to his previous levels? Should he retire? Is a comeback possible or a lost cause? What will people make of his career? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think?

Adam Scime, Goal.com

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