Javier Zanetti returned to Inter Milan training on Wednesday to find the club is no longer the way it had been during his 18-year career with the Nerazzurri so far.
• Marcotti: Inter's Massimo Moratti the last of Europe's 'fan' owners
• Horncastle: Moratti passion still driving Inter forwards
While the 40-year-old’s own era is nearing its conclusion, he has returned from a ruptured Achilles tendon to find the club at the beginning of a new one following the sale of Massimo Moratti’s majority share to Indonesian investors.
Few could symbolise Moratti’s Inter better than Zanetti, who arrived at the same time as the Inter president and has been a mainstay of the team ever since. Yet he, like Moratti, is convinced that the club’s future is in good hands.
“He’s told me that nothing will change, just that he will now be partnered by a group of people who will open a new, important development of the club,” Zanetti told Sky Sport. “I know that he’s going to be staying, with his share and with the sentiments that bind him to this club.
“I’m sure that, at the end of these long negotiations, he will have seen these people as the ones who can ensure Inter remain a big club.”
Zanetti was one of Moratti’s first signings back in 1995, even though he was not the big name arrival at the club back then.
“That was [Sebastian] Rambert -- he was the one under the spotlight,” Zanetti said. “I was just brought in to accompany him, but (Moratti) always believed in me.
“I remember the day well. There was an incredible thunderstorm and they took me to his office where I met this fantastic person and I never thought I would always remain by his side for such a long time.
“Now I can say that I’m proud to have been the captain throughout his presidency. I think the biggest gift Moratti gave me was his faith in me when he did not even know me.”
The respect was reciprocal and Zanetti, who remains the club’s captain and is hopeful of making a return to action in the near future, will always hold fond memories of Moratti’s time at the helm.
“Ours is not a classic president-captain relationship,” the Argentinean continued. “It’s more than that, it’s a very important relationship, also with his family. He’s a president who has true emotions and it’s hard to find one like him in the world of football. That night in Madrid (winning the Champions League) will remain the most important night for all of us.”