Javier Zanetti has written an open letter assuring Inter fans that he is ‘focused’ on helping build a ‘beautiful’ future for the club.
Penning a piece on Inter’s official website, Zanetti began by reminiscing about the Nerazzurri’s Champions League success in 2010.
“The closer it came to May 2010, the more we felt like Formula 1 drivers: we couldn’t get a single corner wrong.
“We were always playing, training was a chance to keep our focus high. I could always sleep the nights before games, others, like Cambiasso, had much more difficulty sleeping.
“I have so many snapshot memories of that game in Madrid that light up my face, a bit like when I raised the trophy itself.
“When we came out to warm up and I saw the Inter fans, I could hardly believe it: there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.
“I said to myself: they’re here for us, we can’t let them down. They showed me pictures of Milan in the post-match interview.
“The Piazza del Duomo was full, the people filled the streets and were going crazy with joy. It moved me, because I realised that my happiness, the happiness of all of my teammates, was second to the joy of our Nerazzurri people.
“Have you ever seen a stadium open and full of people at dawn? I think that San Siro was the most extraordinary example in history.
“We landed in Milan and went to take the trophy straight to the Meazza. The fans waited for us until six in the morning. It still gives me chills, they’ll never go away.
“It was pure joy: nothing tangible, just a genuine embrace. Just being able to say: yes, it’s finally ours. Coming home was an endeavour in itself, with the wings of the crowd escorting our cars.
“I’ve always admired the resilience of Nerazzurri fans, their ability to be close to you as a player.
“The empathy, ever since I arrived, was just natural. Inter fans are special: always there, pushing you, with a depth of feeling which is well out of the ordinary.”
Despite his legendary status for the Beneamata, injury prevented the Argentine from receiving a send-off.
“That’s also why when I tore my Achilles tendon in Palermo, while they were taking me back into the dressing room, I thought: ok, I’ll undergo surgery in a few days, then I’ll start my rehabilitation and in a few months I’ll be back on the pitch.
“I owe it to myself and to the Nerazzurri people, we have to say a proper goodbye. I was 39 years old. A lot of people thought my career had reached its end that day.
“I’d never suffered an injury that bad, but I wasn’t scared, I didn’t make any drama. I got back to work, step by step, all the way until Inter vs. Livorno, my return to the pitch less than 200 days after the injury.
“The roar that welcomed me that day made all of my final efforts worth it. Once I was back in the dressing room I said: ok, this will be my final season.”
Zanetti continues to play a crucial role for Inter as their Vice-President.
“I arrived in 1995 with my football boots in a plastic bag, and now I’m Vice President of this Club. It’s an extraordinary journey, but one brings with it great responsibility.
“I’ve studied, put my heart into, used my experience and knowledge in dealing with everything that passes over my desk.
“It’s more complicated than when I had to chase after a ball, but it’s enormous: I still have the chance to work on building the future of this Club firsthand.
“I try to do it with fixed stars to look up to: the Nerazzurri fans, our history, the Nerazzurri shirt, the suffering and the joy we’ve experienced.
“I’m focused on the future, I want it to be beautiful for us Inter fans. Let’s continue building it, together.”
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