Philippe Senderos has revealed how a stint playing alongside one of world football's greatest ever defenders helped him raise his game.
Senderos got the chance to work at close quarters with Paolo Maldini during the final season of the Milan legend's illustrious career.
And Villa's new signing - who spent the 2008-09 campaign on loan with the Rossoneri - was hugely inspired by the five-time European Cup winner.
In particular, Maldini's dedication and focus outside of regular training sessions gave Senderos food for thought.
"I was massively inspired by him, seeing him day in, day out," said the 29-year-old.
"He was the first in for training and last out. He really showed me how to work.
"The training you do out there with the team is not enough.
"You have to be constantly training and you need to be focused for the whole day.
"He definitely taught me a lot about what to do outside of normal training."
Senderos recalls Maldini was still setting the standard on the training fields of Milan even at the age of 40.
"You would occasionally come into training feeling a bit tired or see other players feeling tired, then you'd see this guy at 40-years-old with the same hunger and passion that he probably had at 16," he said.
"It is amazing to see and you learn a lot seeing these things.
"Even at 40 I don't think he lost much pace. He could have carried on a couple more years.
"I tried to learn and watch him in training more than anything.
"Being around this type of player, you feel the energy and the respect everyone has for him."
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