The Internazionale stalwart Javier Zanetti has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the season, bringing down the curtain on a playing career that has spanned three clubs and 22 years – nearly 20 of which have been spent in Milan.
“I feel that now is the right time to do it,” he told La Nacion after Inter’s defeat in the Milan derby, where he was an unused substitute, much to the annoyance of Inter’s fans. “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 that 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.”
Zanetti is looking forward to the challenge of helping to try to rebuild Inter under the stewardship of the club’s new owner, Erick Thohir, who confirmed last week that the former Argentina international would become the sporting director. “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,” he added.
“A new world opens for me, and that excites me. There will be a thousand things to do.”