Javier Zanetti saluted the crowd and pledged as a director he will “defend Inter the way I defended it on the pitch.”
This was Zanetti’s last Serie A game at San Siro after 856 appearances in all competition, 21 goals and 19 years.
He was led out between teammates, peers, club members and Presidents before taking the microphone.
“Thank you everyone,” he said. “You’ve no idea how emotional this moment is. To say you are all fantastic is not enough.
“I want to thank everyone who has been close to me at any moment.
“My only desire was to defend and honour the Inter jersey in any country all over the world. I learned to love it thanks to you. I ask you to love this club, just as I will love it forever. Amala.
“I want to thank my wife Paula and the wonderful family we raised together. My father, who is in front of the television in Argentina right now and didn’t want to come here.
“I thank my mother in the Heavens, who is certainly as happy as I am right now. I thank the Moratti family, who in all these years have shown faith in me.
“I thank President Thohir, who allows me to continue in this wonderful Inter family, which was always my dream.
“I thank my fantastic teammates, those of this season and every year before that, who showed me so much respect and affection.
“I am happy for this wonderful career wearing this jersey, which I truly love. Now I must do something else. I don’t know if I will do it well, but I can say that I will defend Inter the way I defended it on the field.
“Thank you for having loved me. I truly love you.”
Afterwards Zanetti called out each of his teammates expected to leave this summer: Walter Samuel, Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso and Luca Castellazzi.