Javier Zanetti anuncia su retiro: "Fui un abanderado lejos de su país", por @crgrosso http://t.co/uGzi2fqHTP pic.twitter.com/Aw4t959HJ3
— La Nacion (@lanacioncom) May 6, 2014
Cristian Grosso (@crgrosso) of La Nacion in Argentina had a detailed interview with Internazionale's legend, Javier Zanetti, who finally called an end to a tremendous playing career. The interview, published on 6 May 2014, was entitled "Javier Zanetti announces his retirement: 'I was a flag bearer far away from his home.' "
His Career in Numbers
Javier Zanetti, una leggenda al passo d'addio: i suoi numeri nella grafica di Calciomercato.it #GraciasPupiCMIT pic.twitter.com/ZS6lT8iPQc
— calciomercato.it (@calciomercatoit) May 6, 2014
1. Shirt number: 4.
2. Inter debut: 27 August 1995.
3. Years as an Inter captain: 15.
4. Serie A appearances: 616.
5. Italian Cup appearances: 71.
6. All European Cup appearances: 159.
7. Other Cup appearances: 10.
8. Caps for Argentina: 145.
9. Total appearances for Inter: 856.
10. Total goals for Inter: 21.
11. Trophies won: 16.
- On why he decided to retire now.
- On if he will have any fear the day after.
- On being an office worker behind a desk.
- On if he still feels appreciated in Argentina.
- On when he thinks being betrayed by his emotions.
- On the most surprising things about his career.
- On what game he would replay.
- On his three best teammates and three toughest opponents.
- On whether or not he is an example.
- On if he every gets angry.
Javier Zanetti, "Forever Young", a tribute to the great Inter captain.
|Image credit: Libri Mondadori.|
CG: Will you be afraid the day afterwards?
JZ: No. No fear. Surely I will miss some things. Surely, I am going to miss details of the daily routine, times in the changing room and especially the competition. But I imagine that fear has to appear when one doesn't know how to occupy his newly-found free time. And that, fortunately, I have taken care of. Clearly, nothing will be the same but I'm prepared because I'll continue connected to football. And that will keep me going.
3. On being an office worker behind a desk:
|Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.|
CG: Will you be sitting behind a desk in a shirt and tie?
JZ: I hope that won't be necessary. I dreamed of finishing my career at Inter, my home, and it is a point of pride to achieve it. I took a lifestyle decision to stay located in Italy and from now, in my role as a sporting manager, I'll seek to be useful to the club also off of the pitch. A new world will open up for me and I'm very enthusiastic to begin down that path. I feel that I'll have a thousand things to do.
CG: Javier has a small football school (Leoni di Potrero), a restaurant (El Botinero), several songs from the Curva at the San Siro and he recorded an album with the singer, Mina. But he also has a statue in the stadium and several post offices around the world have released stamps with his image. The eternal Zanetti, stainless steel, who for years has crossed all of the borders.
His loyalty for the colors of Inter distinguishes him. He is an exceptional case who will be compared with Maldini (Milan), Del Piero (Juventus), Giggs (Manchester United), Totti (Roma) or Xavi (Barcelona). But Pupi's numbers are even more impressive.
"Pupi" is a nickname for Javier Zanetti. He also has a humanitarian project called, "Fundacion Pupi," that benefits children in Argentina.
4. On if he still feels appreciated in Argentina:
|Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.|
JZ: Yes, they also value me in Argentina. Perhaps it took a little more. But I've always received affection and support from people there. Perhaps, the criticisms came from some sectors of the press. I was a flag bearer far away from his country and the people rewarded me for it. Someone who left a good impression every place that he went. One who was proud to wear the colors of his country. And who, over and above the results I achieved, because I'm the first to complain for not having won titles. I never chose when to be or when not to be selected. I always wanted to be with my national team. I never chose convenient times.
5. On when he thinks being betrayed by his emotions:
JZ: And Saturday will be my last time at the Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro). And even though the Curva will be closed due to racist chants, there will be a lot of people and they are preparing something. And when I go out on to the pitch at Chievo Verona, the last fixture, about ten days from now, surely my career will flash by like a movie film. My mother, my father, my wife, my three children, friends who have sustained me all of this time. Wow, how am I not going to break down.
6. On the most surprising things about his career:
|Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.|
JZ: The numbers and statistics. When I think that I played 1,112 games, that I'm fourth in the historic record and the only three ahead of me are goalkeepers, that I'm the only Argentinean who passed 1,000, that I'm the foreigner with the most games played in Italian football and that only for Paolo (Maldini), I would have been the all-time appearances holder in the Serie A. That nobody played more times for a club of the stature of Internazionale and the national team of my country. It boggles my mind, "Did I do all of that?" and at times, I ask myself. And each time, it fills me with pride.
7. On what game he would replay:
JZ: Two of them. One to enjoy again and the other to change destiny. I would like to play the UEFA Champions League final, in 2010, to relive that magical night at the Santiago Bernabeu. And I would give everything to play another time and win the game against Sweden. The one that saw us eliminated from the 2002 World Cup in Japan.
8. On his three best teammates and three toughest opponents:
CG: Who were the best three teammates you played with?
JZ: Ronaldo (Brazilian), Roberto Baggio and Lionel Messi.
CG: The three best opponents you ever faced?
JZ: Ryan Giggs, Ricardo Kaka and Zinedine Zidane.
10. On if he ever gets angry:
JZ: Yes, more times than people would imagine. But even in unpleasant times, you can maintain a sense of manners.
--- Cristian Grosso for La Nacion.
@worldfootballcm @lanacioncom Muchas gracias! Han sido muy amables y generosos. Fuerte abrazo
— Cristian Grosso (@crgrosso) May 7, 2014
- Translated Excerpts from "Giocare da Uomo" by Javier Zanetti with Gianni Riotta.
- Javier Zanetti: "Inter must return as a protagonist." (August 2013)
- Profile of Erick Thohir
Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator from Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and The Soccer Translator since 2008. You can follow Steve @worldfootballcm on Twitter.
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