Zanetti: “I was able to sign for Real Madrid, but I was loyal to my Inter”

Javier Adelmar Zanetti (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1973) It is, perhaps, the greatest pain in the history of Inter (95-14) and, for sure, who played the most official matches with that shirt (858) -his number 4 is retired-. Now he is vice president and always helped in social causes. Take care of MARCA by phone before traveling to Madrid.

Question. What is your role as vice president?

Answer. When I retired, after almost 20 years at Inter, I wanted to broaden my vision of the club to a broader role, at a corporate level, social responsibility, international relations … beyond my contribution at a strictly sporting level.

Q. Did you have to study?

R. A lot. I started at Bocconi University in Milan, I did a master’s and I am still studying because there are always new things in marketing, finance, management … The most important thing is that I understood that, when I finished my degree, I was starting completely from scratch.

Q. Why are you so interested in that social work? It is not common in a star.

R. I like to give back to the people who need it the most. I do it 20 years ago with my Foundation [Pupi Zanetti] and I wanted to continue doing it with Inter because it is part of their DNA. Winning a match or a Cup is so important to me than having social responsibility to transmit human values.

Q. You represent a very large club. How would you compare that greatness with that of Real Madrid?

R. I represent a club with a great history and that is a great responsibility. Real Madrid is another highly prestigious club with a long tradition in international tournaments. There was always great respect between the two.

Q. Is your relationship with Florentino Prez good?

R. Yes, very good. He and Emilio Butragueo have always treated us very well. We have had a relationship for years and I am glad every time I see him. Emilio is great.

P. You (in Europe) are a ‘one club man’, something rare nowadays. Why

R. Having come from Argentina at the age of 21 and then playing my entire career at Inter I would never have dreamed of it. And yes, I hope this trend returns, but times have changed. No problem.

Q. Let’s go to today’s game. Is Real Madrid favorite?

R. Yes, facing Madrid at home is always difficult because he knows how to play these types of games. The good thing is that we are both classified and we play without that pressure. Our team is doing well thanks to a great job from Inzaghi and the guys. I think it will be an even match.

P. Madrid fans may have an Inter in mind that is not so scary. What do you think?

A. No, no, no. Inter has its identity and has quality players who will also try to prove it in Madrid. Afterwards, you can win or lose, but the identity of Inter is very clear.

Q. What credit do you give the new property? [Suning y Steven Zhang] to see now an Inter that aspires to everything?

R. With the new owners we won Serie A; we reached the final of the Europa League; We returned to the knockout stages of the Champions League after 10 years … and stability is taking place, something essential.

Q. Do you need a strong Milan to boost Inter?

R. Both teams have that ambition to be protagonists. We have been doing it for several years and Milan is very good in the championship and that is good for Italian football.

P. In Italy now it is played better. Do you agree?

R. It is trying to be more protagonist from a very clear idea of ​​the game. The demonstration was when Italy won the Eurocup. It is true that many teams try to be protagonists.

P. Serie A has gained ground with respect to other Leagues. It seems indubitable.

R. It goes at times. When I played, Serie A was impressive and everyone wanted to come and play here. For me, the Italian championship is very difficult to play. It is not for everyone. Spanish football had its moment … and now is the time for the Premier. But yes, Serie A is growing a lot.

P. You were able to sign for Real Madrid years ago. Tell us.

R. Yes, I was very close and I already said that I was honored by the interest of such a club. It was at the time of Jorge Valdano as Sports Director. But everyone knows my story and they knew that my home is Inter. So I decided to stay here.

P. Reasons?

R. The identification with Inter and the fact that I was also playing for a club with a lot of history, although then I had difficulties. Things did not happen and I did not want to leave without leaving a trace. He was the captain and had a great responsibility. And I stayed.

Q. Can you tell me how many times have you played at the Santiago Bernabu?

R. Few. I think only in the 2010 Champions League final, because once we played in the Champions League against Madrid we had to go to Seville because the Bernabu closed it down. After I retired, we did play a game of legends. In addition, I also went with Argentina.

Q. What do you remember about that night in 2010? Inter, and you as captain, ‘champion’.

R. It was the dreamy, fantastic night, one of the best of my career, because it remained in the history of my club: to raise a Champions League that Inter had not conquered for 45 years.

P. What do you think of Carvajal? You who were a specialist in that position.

R. He is a benchmark, a very balanced player, with continuity. The proof is that all the coaches have trusted him.

Q. What is the image of Carlo Ancelotti in Italy as a coach?

R. Carlo is highly respected throughout his career here, for his career and for his way of being. He is always a very calm man, with very clear concepts. In victory or defeat it always behaves the same. I have a lot of respect for him.


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Zanetti: “I was able to sign for Real Madrid, but I was loyal to my Inter”