Inter Milan’s long serving Argentine Javier Zanetti ruptured his achilles tendon in Sunday’s defeat to Palermo. At the age of 39 this could call time on the great career of one of Inter and Argentina’s great servants but the ever professional Zanetti has vowed that this will not be the end. Defiantly, Zanetti said “I will overcome this, my career does not finish here, I want to come back even stronger than before.” Whether he can only time will tell but at nearly 40 it maybe difficult to play at one of Europe’s elite clubs. If this is to be the case, could a return to Argentina be a possibility?
Perhaps one interesting proposition could be a return to the club he made his name, Banfield. Although they are currently playing in Nacional B, his ex-Argentina team mate, Matias Almeyda was appointed manager and they will be pushing for promotion back to the Primera next season. It was while at Banfield, as a twenty year old, that Zanetti caught the eye of Inter Milan and so a fairytale return would be a fitting end to such a career.
Zanetti moved to Banfield after playing just 33 times for Talleres, this after being rejected by Independiente as a boy for being too small. Over the next three years at Banfield, Zanetti would make 66 appearances but it was a videotape of his exploits from the 1995 Pan American Games which prompted new Inter Milan President, Massimo Moratti to make this young Argentine his first signing. Moratti was said to have been more than impressed by young Zanetti’s close control and after his first training session, the then Inter captain, Guiseppi Bergomi said, “He never lost the ball, it was always glued to his foot. That day I knew he was going to make history.”
The rest, as they say is history, Zanetti has gone on to become Inter Milan and Argentina’s most capped player (847 for Inter and 145 for Argentina) and along the way won 5 Serie A titles, 4 Copa Italia’s, 1 Champions League, and 1 Uefa Cup. An amazing career and we wish Javier a speedy recovery from this recent injury in the hope that maybe he could play again in Argentina.