Javier Zanetti has announced that he will retire from football at the age of 40 and after 19 seasons with Inter.
The Argentine began his career in 1992 with Talleres RE before a move to Banfield a year later and then the 1995 switch out to Inter, as Massimo Moratti’s first signing as club President.
On from last week’s indications from Moratti’s successor Erick Thohir that the full-back and midfielder would now step into management and the player’s own admission that he was unsure of his future on the field, today’s confirmation has arrived.
Speaking to Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Pupi has explained the reasons for stepping away from a 22-year playing career.
“Because I feel that now is the right time to do it,” Zanetti reflected in the interview released today.
“Because football has given me so much and I have enjoyed every moment. Because after the Achilles injury last April, I wanted to demonstrate that I could return and be competitive, but I could not.
“I feel complete and have realised - to retire at 40 is a priceless feeling. For me it is something that has immense value, and now is the right time.
“Do I fear life after this? No, there is no fear. Certainly I will miss certain things, certain aspects of the routine of a player, the moments in the dressing room and especially the competition.
“Yet I think that the fear must be for those who do not know how to occupy their new free time and fortunately in this I have resolved the issue.
“It is clear that nothing will be as before, but I am ready because I will continue in the world of football and this will keep me alive.”
Zanetti was asked if his reputed new role behind the scenes with the Nerazzurri will see him more regularly pictured in a suit and tie.
“I hope that is not necessary. I dreamed of finishing my career at Inter, in my home, and I have. It was a lifestyle decision to end the career in Italy, and now, in the function of a sporting manager, I will try to be useful to the team away from the field.
“A new world opens for me, and that excites me. There will be a thousand things to do.”
Zanetti was asked which games from his career he would play again, if possible.
“Two, one to enjoy and another to change the fate. I would play again the 2010 Champions League Final, to relive the magical night at the Bernabeu.
“And I would give everything to replay the game against Sweden, the one that cost us the elimination from the World Cup in Japan.”