Javier Zanetti lifts lid on Inter career
Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti has charted the ups and downs almost two decades with the Nerazzurri in his new autobiography.
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Numerous coaches have come and gone over those years but 40-year-old Zanetti, along with president Massimo Moratti, has remained a constant in an Inter "family" he said he would always be part of.
"I knew from the moment I arrived, in a thunderstorm with [Beppe] Bergomi and [Giacinto] Facchetti waiting for me, that my new life had begun," he told Rai 1.
"It's an infinite love story which I believe will always remain this way. I'll never stop thanking the Moratti family and the fans for all of the love they have given me right from day one.
"We are one big family, in good and in bad. When the trophies that everybody expected did not arrive, we still remained proud of our dignity, carrying on that way, with success ultimately arriving."
The Argentine said he would never forget the Treble-winning season in 2010, crowned by victory in the Champions League.
"I was already getting emotional when the fourth official showed how much added time would be played," he said. "I looked at [Walter] Samuel, and we started to cry. Samuel said we had to wait three more minutes.
"After the celebrations, I took the trophy into the dressing room, placed it down on the floor and said to it: 'I've been after you for a long time, and now I have you in my arms.'"
Jose Mourinho was the mastermind of that success, and Zanetti said the coach -- now back at Chelsea -- "has a great personality" and called him "a winner who takes care of all the details".
He said current coach Walter Mazzarri was of a similar ilk, explaining: "He makes you work a lot, but you see the results every Sunday. He's a bit like [Hector] Cuper in his dedication to the job and how he lives the games."
Cuper lost his job after one of the lowest ebbs in Zanetti's career, when Inter relinquished the Serie A title on May 5 2002, beaten to the crown by Juventus on the final day.
"I'm really sorry for the way his legacy with Inter ended," Zanetti said. "He was a very serious and capable person, but he paid for May 5."
But he hit out at Marcello Lippi, who left the club soon after saying he was "ashamed" of the team, adding: "That bothered me. I don't think it was the right way to behave. Everybody can make mistakes, but there are other ways to make people understand that that was not the right way."