‘Pupi 757’ – Javier Zanetti we salute you
In last night’s match against Novara there was one shining piece of positivity in a sea of negativity, our great captain now holds the record for most appearances in an Inter shirt, 757, overtaking legend Giuseppe Bergomi. Zanetti became our captain on the 29th August 1999 in a 3-0 win over Verona.
Here are the numbers of Pupi’s Nerazzurri career
– 65,656 total minutes played
– 46,967 minutes in Serie A
– 15,872 minutes under Roberto Mancini, the coach he played for the most
– 12,194 minutes in Europe
– 5,280 minutes in the Coppa Italia
– 757 total appearances
– 689 full games played
– 539 Serie A appearances
– 189 appearances under Roberto Mancini
– 141 appearances in Europe
– 64 appearances in the Coppa Italia
– 51 bookings
– 34 times he has been substituted
– 33 times he has come on as a substitute
– 21 goals
– 16 coaches in Italy
– 16 trophies won
– 15 trophies won wearing the captain’s armband
– 12 decisive goals
– 12 goals in Serie A
– 6 goals scored for Roy Hodgson, the coach with whom he scored the most
– 5 goals in Europe
– 3 goals in the Coppa Italia
– 1 goal in the Club World Cup
– 1 sending off (Coppa Italia, Inter 0-2 Parma, 17 February 1999)
When Javier Zanetti joined Inter in 1995 no-one could have guessed that the Argentinian would become our longest serving player, breaking record after record with the club he’s loves as much as we do, it was recently reported that during his career with Inter he has turned down big money contracts with both Barcelona and Real Madrid to stay loyal to this great club of ours. At 38 his presence on the pitch is phenomenal and you would be forgiven in thinking he is ten years younger than he is as he sprints up the wings and commits to tackles. There really isn’t a fitting way to put the praise he deserves into words, yet he does deserve every bit of it with his commitment, loyalty and hard work all in the name of Inter. With all these great attributes and his charity work with his ‘Pupi’ Foundation, Zanetti is considered a great inspiration not only to Inter players and Interisti but also to everybody around the world. As I said it is impossible to put all our gratitude in to words so on behalf of Nerazzurri World i’d just like to say –
Grazie ‘il Capitano’
Just to show how well respected he is here are some messages of praise from some of the coaches that have had the pleasure of working with him
To me Zanetti represents the joy of living, the joy of making football your job every morning. He is the smile, the life force, the passion for training, the good cheer for everyone who works with him. To me Javier Zanetti is all of these things, and he is a man that I’m happy to say will be a friend forever.
After all of that, and a long way behind, comes the footballer. But having been his coach for only two years of his incredible career, it’s not my place to talk about a man who has written his own story – and what a marvellous story it is. All I will say is thank you for everything, thank you for giving me a small space in your story. What I will cherish most is that hug in the middle of the Santiago Bernabeu: it won’t be the last but it was certainly the most intense of our two years together.
Perhaps one day somebody might beat Zanetti’s record, but there will only ever be one Zanetti.
Later I had the good fortune to coach him at Inter and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that every coach in the world would love to have a player like him, because of the professionalism and the quality he takes with him onto the pitch and because, apart from in goal (maybe), he can play in any position.
He is also an extremely upstanding individual, something that never goes amiss.
I’m delighted that he’s achieved this record, and what’s more at a big club such as Inter, especially because it means overtaking Bergomi, another Inter symbol. Very many congratulations Pupi and just keep going.
He is utterly dedicated, honest, hard-working and a responsible individual. A professional at the service of the team, and I’m not talking about him as a player but as a professional within the group. A great captain who has always put the team’s best interests first – never has he acted out of selfishness. His greatest virtue is his extraordinary, transparent humility, so he deserves every honour he gets. From where I am, not so very far away, this is my humble tribute to him: I will always remember him as the best.
So much has been said about you already that it’s difficult to find something original to say. I met you when you were little more than a boy but even then it was easy to see your qualities – not just as a player but as a person. We spent a wonderful year and a half together, because that was a fantastic group. A group of people with values similar to your own, with the likes of Diego (Simeone), Beppe (Bergomi) and all the others. Captains on and off the pitch. You were young but it was clear you were following the example of the right people; you were young but you possessed bags of personality and an immense desire to knuckle down and learn. Then you became an even better footballer; you became a man, a husband, a father; you became the symbol of the team – and not just any team. Today we celebrate with you the record of a player who has turned out for Inter more times than anyone else, and I can say in all honesty that for me you are the real Phenomenon of football. Because keeping it up on the pitch for years, season after season, always putting in the utmost effort as you do, is phenomenal indeed. You are a model for everyone involved in the game and for those who watch from the outside. And what I love about you is that you’re still the same person you were then, despite the fame, the Scudetti, the cups, the money, the praise. All wonderful things that can make a man’s head turn. But not yours.
An affectionate hug – and you know how sincere it is.
Javier and I joined the club in the same year, 1995, and what immediately struck me about him was his professionalism, his desire to learn and adapt to a new type of football, his total commitment and his focus on the targets he wanted to achieve. So it comes as no surprise to me that he has now made a record number of appearances in a Nerazzurri shirt, and the good news for Inter is that at the current rate he shows no signs of slowing down.
So once again, congratulations Javier on this thoroughly deserved honour and I wish you all the best for your future games.
P.S. Remember that Stanley Matthews played his last game in English football at the age of 49! Good luck.
So here we raise our glasses to one of the most respected men in world football and we hope to see many more appearances from the great man in his beloved Nerazzurri colours and who knows maybe one day he will follow in Facchetti’s footsteps to become our president.