Video: Middlesbrough cult hero Massimo Maccarone scores crucial equaliser v AC Milan

AC Milan

Massimo Maccarone played a vital role in Middlesbrough's UEFA Cup run nine years ago.

It is now nearly 13 years since Middlesbrough snapped up Massimo Maccarone from Empoli. The Italian international was one of the top young strikers in Europe and according to the BBC cost Boro a whopping £8.15 million.

His time at Boro was certainly mixed. Often mocked for his lack of ability he rarely found the net, scoring just 18 goals in four-and-a-half years on Teeside.

However he did play a part in a memorable UEFA Cup run in 2006, scoring crucial goals against FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest as Middlesbrough made it to the final of the competition.

His work rate and moments like that make him fondly remembered at Boro, even if he never quite justified his price-tag.

He left for Siena in January 2007 and has played for the likes of Palermo and Sampdoria since leaving Boro. Now he is back at Empoli.

At 35-years-old he is coming to the end of his career but remains a hero at Empoli for the goals he has scored in his two spells at the club. But his first team was in fact AC Milan.

Today, he scored against them in the San Siro.

His contract expires in the summer and moments like this against teams like Milan in the San Siro are soon going to be a thing of the past. His goal was also important, the equaliser in a 1-1 draw as they continue to keep relegation thoughts at bay.

But watching 'Big Mac' scoring such a crucial goal will give plenty of Boro fans a flashback to their recent glory days. Top of the Championship at the moment, those days may be back soon enough.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch