From Kiev to Kiev. From wearing the captain’s armband to dressing in civilian clothes. Things have changed in 5 years for Javier Zanetti, who now proudly has taken on the role of vice president, but in 2009 he was on the pitch, as always with the armband in that comeback against Shevchenko’s Dinamo: “Before the game José stuck the group standings to the walls of the locker room and didn’t even need to tell us anything, it was enough to look at it, to realize that we were almost out and that this would be the game of life,” Pupi started the interview with Tuttosport.
It was a very cold evening in early November, when he put the first brick in the construction of this beautiful structure that was the treble. But things were not well placed in the first 45 minutes: “In the first half, nothing worked and we had made a terrible performance – the former Inter captain remembered – and Mourinho, without losing a moment said to us ‘We’re out, now we’re going all out.’ He substituted Cambiasso and Chivu for Thiago Motta and Balotelli and then, ten minutes from the end, he put on Muntari for Samuel and told me to play central defender, as there remained only a single defender on the pitch, which was Lucio.”
The rest is history, a game that was turned upside down like a pancake six minutes from the end with an equalizer by Milito, and before the gong, the deciding goal by Sneijder, which catapulted Inter back to the first place in the group, then being passed by Barça: “I don’t know if Moratti would have fired Mourinho if we had not passed the round – adds JZ – but it is certain that on that night we realized that nothing would be impossible for that Inter. Yet, already in the previous season, there was something that clicked after being eliminated by Manchester at Old Trafford when Mourinho went to Moratti and said “Did you see, the attitude has changed: give me the right players and we’ll win even in Europe.’ And so it was. Yet, without that comeback in Kiev there would have been no future and, in other than the Champions League, we would have played for the prestige.”
THE COMMON THREAD LEADING TO THE EUROPE LEAGUE – “The Europa League can give us prestige and is the first step to get back to winning everything in Italy and in Europe. The history of the treble proves to these guys, as they build the great victories over the years, that, if you manage to create a large group, any result can be reached” That’s right, because, says the vice president of Inter: “That’s treble was a united group even though there are those who wanted to say that it wasn’t the case. Towards those who have won everything and are so-called ‘senators’ you have to respect what they have done.”