Franco Baresi pays tribute to Ray Wilkins ahead of Milan derby

Tribute: Milan legend Franco Baresi. Picture: Getty Images
Tribute: Milan legend Franco Baresi. Picture: Getty Images
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Franco Baresi paid a touching tribute to former team-mate Ray Wilkins ahead of last night’s Milan derby.

Baresi, who spent his entire 20-year career with I Rossoneri, played alongside Wilkins for three seasons in the mid-1980s.

Ahead of kick-off at the San Siro, Baresi laid a wreath and held up a Milan shirt with ‘Wilkins 8’ on the back in front of the fans.

Wilkins played 73 matches for the Serie A side, scoring twice.

Supporters held a banner that read: “Ciao Ray, leggenda Rossonera(Goodbye Ray, Red and Black legend).

Baresi had earlier paid tribute to Wilkins, who died aged 61 on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest last week, on his Twitter account, writing in Italian: “At times like this you never know what to say, but it was an honour to

Milan and Internazionale players shake hands at the end of the Milan derby. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Milan and Internazionale players shake hands at the end of the Milan derby. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

call you a friend. You were special, a gentleman on the pitch and off. Thank you Ray Wilkins, RIP.”

Tributes have poured in from the football world, with former Hibs manager Alex Miller saying: “Ray was great for us, the boys were very responsive to him, he mixed well with them and they had a lot of respect for him.

“He was a genuinely humble man.”

Former England team-mate Gary Lineker added: “One thing that shines through is what a wonderful human being he was. He was just a delightfully charming man.

“Always very positive, and someone who was massively supportive when I first broke into the national team.

“He was a really talented player and had success not only in this country but also internationally. He lived for the game and he loved the game.”

Ex-Hibs and Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher, who also played alongside Wilkins for England, added: “Words can’t describe how much light and fun and laughter he brought to football.”

“He mixed with the fans and he loved having a laugh. His energy and brightness would light up any room.”