Andrea Ranocchia admits it’s strange to see Inter without Javier Zanetti. “He’s been the captain ever since I was born.”
The defender sat down with Sky Sport Italia and discussed the Achilles tendon injury that has ruled Zanetti out for six months.
“We’re all so upset because it’s a long and painful injury. I’ve been through one myself, so I know what it’s like.
“We’re also sorry because he’s our captain, he has been ever since I was born, and he’s an example to us all. But with the physical and mental strength he’s got, I'm sure he'll be back soon.”
Ranocchia’s calculations are a little off, as he is 25 and Zanetti has only been at Inter for almost 18 years. Nonetheless, Ranocchia became captain in the 1-0 defeat to Palermo after the injury and could potentially be given it again.
“It’s a difficult armband to wear because it’s been worn by Javier for so long and before him by many other footballing icons. I hope I was up to the task for the time it was on my arm.
“I'd be honoured to wear it again of course, but there are lots of other lads who have been here for a long time, those who have won the Treble, and it’s only right that the armband should go to them.
“The injury crisis is crazy, as it’s almost as if we’ve been cursed. Losing two players per game makes it very hard to remain consistent. It unsettles the team when you have to chop and change continually.”
Despite the situation, Ranocchia is confident Inter can still qualify for the Europa League.
“I’ve noticed at this club, compared to others, you must set out to win every single game. It’s just the spirit of this side.
“I’ve made my way up to a big club, I've always wanted to remain here, even last year when I wasn’t playing much and people were talking about me going elsewhere. And I feel that now more than ever.
“My aim is to remain at Inter, just as it was last season when I wanted to prove to people that I wasn’t a flop.”
The injury crisis could have another effect, which is to move Ranocchia into an attacking role.
“I used to play upfront as a kid until my feet grew bigger, so then I was moved back to defence. It’s not a problem for me if the Coach asks me to play there. I could even be a ball boy if necessary!”