Inter Milan icon Javier Zanetti recalled his time as a player with the Nerazzurri while discussing the upcoming clash against Juventus.
The 50-year-old spent the vast majority of his career holding the Beneamata banner. He joined the club as a young player in 1995 and remained loyal to the cause until his retirement in 2014.
He currently serves as the vice president of his beloved club.
The Argentine explains how hanging his boots became the obvious decision at the age of 41. But he managed to handle the situation properly because he had already devised a post-career plan.
“Ten years ago, when I came here as a guest, in my head I had already thought about retiring,” said Zanetti during his appearance on Stasera C’è Cattelan on Rai 2 via FcInterNews.
“Retiring wasn’t difficult because when you feel it from within and know what you want to do afterwards. You must look forward to the future.
“At the time, I had to stop. It was important to make a decision. I could have continued, but taking this step a little earlier was for the better.”
The interviewer asked Zanetti if would have fancied a late-career switch to a Saudi club.
“Honestly no. I was lucky enough to be in a great European team. Inter is a family to me, I always choose with my heart.
“There are other aspects to consider beyond the economic factor.”
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The legendary star then weighed in on the upcoming Derby d’Italia between Inter and Juventus. The two sides are currently embroiled in a Scudetto race.
“We know it will be an important match. it’s a balanced title race. Both teams will prepare well, the answer will be delivered on the pitch.
“As a footballer, I slept peacefully the night before big showdowns after preparing well in training. we only thought about the match.
“On the other hand, Diego Simeone never slept.”
Speaking of the Atletico Madrid coach, Zanetti reveals that he remains in touch with him. The two used to be teammates at Inter, but Simeone will return as a rival in the Champions League Round of 16.
“We’re always in touch. It will be a pleasant occasion. He’ll be back at San Siro for the first time against Inter.
“He doesn’t sleep on the eve of the match, you can see how he gets nervous on the bench.”