Javier Zanetti says he wants to stay at Inter ‘forever’, as he reflects on how he has changed in Italy but also that he ‘still feels young’.
The Argentine is now 40 and midway through his 18th season with the Nerazzurri and, whilst a decision on his future beyond the summer has yet to be made, he hopes that it will be at San Siro, one way or another.
“I’d like to stay as part of this wonderful family forever, even after I retire as a player,” Zanetti has commented in an interview released by FIFA today.
“One thing is certain - I always want to serve and be of use to this club.
“Playing at 40? I still feel young. It’s something everyone has to sense and feel within themselves.
“Whatever your age, it all depends on what you do with it and how you deal with it. If you’re satisfied with yourself, it’s easier to always do your best.
Zanetti returned to playing action on November 9 after a serious Achilles tendon injury had ruled him out for several months and he paid tribute to the fans’ reception.
“It was unique. My heart was beating so hard and I had goosebumps after the deafening ovation. Our supporters gave me a wonderful present and I’ll forever be thankful to them for that.
“When I got injured my only desire was to play at least one more game in front of our fans in my stadium. That I was able to do so was thanks to hard work and indescribable support.”
The defender and midfielder was asked about what he recalls from when he first arrived at Inter, in the summer of 1995.
“It was an important challenge for me. I was 21 years old and I still had a lot to learn and discover. To arrive in a city like Milan as a young man was a huge challenge.
“A lot of things, experiences I had, helped me to grow up and mature, both in terms of my football career and my private life too.
“The club always stood by me and were a massive help. Back then it was a very important decision for me and with hindsight I can undoubtedly say I made the right choice.
“It’s been almost 20 years and it’s been very intense. I’m still proud to belong to this fantastic club and to still be a part of it. Inter have given me everything.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!