Zanetti: ‘Barella and Lautaro will definitely renew. We’re thinking about Zirkzee, we need a deep squad’


Inter’s vice president Javier Zanetti confirmed that Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella are set to renew with the club, while Joshua Zirzkee is of interest to them. The Nerazzurri legend gave a lengthy interview to Radio Serie A on the program “Serie A Stories” (via CM), and touched on a host of topics related to the club:

SCUDETTO CELEBRATION – “It was an important moment. When I saw all those people waiting for the Italian champion players, hearing my chant and the enthusiasm of the Nerazzurri people was incredible. I saw children and families with so much emotion, the second star means writing one of the most important pages of our club: these guys did something extraordinary. At that moment, when I looked out, I got chills: we were one. This Scudetto was desired, from the first day of training, we were all focused on this goal, aware of having a strong team. Then you have to prove it on the field and that’s what happened: from start to finish, we dominated the league facing tough opponents, always showing great play. This year’s Inter has played incredible matches and our fans have enjoyed it.”

SECOND STAR – “We never hid: we always said we wanted to be competitive until the end, trying to achieve what we have achieved. Comparison with other Scudetti? They are comparable but they are different moments and teams, what remains is the essence of the values of our club and how this group was built: great guys, especially off the field, something that should not be taken for granted because it allows you to win on the inside as well. We are a very cohesive and united group even in difficult times: to overcome them you have to stay together and this group has shown great personality. Was the second star ever an obsession? Never, it is not part of our values, I believe it was a dream that Sunday after Sunday became reality, especially seeing the team play. The work culture that was there even during the week showed that the guys wanted to write an important page of the club. January was important, we had many challenging and close games, the winning streak allowed us to pull away. The team was also mentally strong, overcoming fatigue at a very demanding time, but we knew that month would be decisive. Becoming Italian champions in the derby? A unique, historic thing. It can happen rarely, we seized this opportunity and carried it out. We knew it would be a very complicated match, on the other side they wanted to avoid what happened but it’s part of football: the guys were extraordinary, the last minutes were suffering, but it’s part of our DNA. Once the final whistle blew, we didn’t understand anything anymore. Was it a less crazy Inter than usual? Yes, because we were consistent, showing personality and mastery throughout all the matches.”

INZAGHI – “He was good at remaining calm and serene in difficult moments, remaining aware of what he could do, always believing in his work regardless of the result. Last year there were difficult moments when he was heavily criticized from the outside, but there you see the strength of the club: supporting the coach in moments like those. When you choose a coach, you have to give him the necessary time to work: there is a path, there are moments when everything goes well and moments when there are difficulties. We saw that the performances were there, it was a matter of time. Also reaching the Champions League final contributed to always believing in Simone. Every victory arises from moments of difficulty, from defeats, when you lose a championship, when you exit the Champions League or lose a final: there you build a strong mentality, a resilience that allows you to know where to improve to reach the goal. There was concern about the results that were not coming, but as I said before, there were the performances: we always stood by our coach. In difficult times, the club must always be present. Simone immediately empathized with our fans, his humility and calm are also transmitted to them. He immediately fell in love with the environment and the Inter family, he is happy at Appiano, always smiling: this means a lot. Can he be compared to Mourinho? They have two different personalities, they are two great leaders who lead you to victory, each in their own way. I believe Simone will bring us many successes, we are not even halfway through the cycle. I hope he stays for a long time, he feels good with us and we with him. By now, we know each other, we know what we think: seeing the results and the team spirit, there is a lot of tranquility.”


INTER PLAYERS – “Who is the face of this Scudetto? Lautaro, when he scores, doesn’t seem like himself, his expression transforms, showing all the desire he has. Surprise? Thuram adapted immediately and was a positive surprise. He found harmony even with Lautaro, it’s not easy for a striker coming from abroad to adapt to Italian football, he did it from the beginning. Also Pavard and all the new signings, Sommer, Frattesi… Davide entered often in difficult moments, but always being decisive: this means he felt like an important part of the group and having players like him is fundamental. I think of the match against Hellas Verona, when he scored in the last minute: San Siro exploded, Frattesi had a fiery face with all the bench players above him. That was one of the moments when we said, “we are very close.” Lautaro and Thuram? We were all surprised, an understanding was born immediately, they also found each other off the field, they are always together. Things work on the field because if you get along well outside, it’s easier. Sommer? After Onana, a goalkeeper arrived who gives us a lot of security, very serious and very professional during the week and in how he prepares for the matches: we are pleased to have such players in the squad.
Çalhanoğlu? Great personality, a leader, one of those who deserved to win this championship like this. Mkhitaryan? The brain of the team, always in the right place, you don’t have to explain anything to him. Barella? Nicolò had an extraordinary season, a true leader in both phases, always at the service of his teammates: fundamental. Dimarco? He dreamed of it as a child, he grew up with us, he left and came back as a real man: his Interism was evident, how much he wanted to win with this shirt and he did it as a protagonist. Interism made the difference, something unique was created between the club, the fans, and the players: this is the key to winning.”

LUKAKU – “Forgive Lukaku? I don’t know if ‘forgive’ is the right word, we were disappointed by the timing and because it wasn’t clear from the beginning, if it had been, we would have opted for a different strategy. That’s how it went, I wish him a great career. Dzeko? He deserved to be there, he showed great affection towards Inter, if he had been in the squad he would have been one of the happiest.”

MANAGEMENT AND CLUB – “The protagonists are the coach, staff, and players, from the outside we have built a team where each with his skills made himself available: this is the only way to achieve great goals. Players must feel our presence regardless of the moments. I am happy to be part of this group, being always present gives me great pleasure, I can contribute with my experience by transmitting Interism. People know that I am always there, this makes me proud. Club situation? It is managed with great clarity knowing what we have to do, having a very precise strategy and trying to add players functional to the coach’s project. We have tested ourselves, in this puzzle important players leave and new ones must be taken, it has been a great challenge. Steven Zhang? He is only physically absent, we are always in contact, he was very happy and wanted to be here very much. They talk about the Marotta League? This makes us laugh: when you see a team that has dominated from start to finish, there is little to say. Cycle? We will have to remain competitive, seizing opportunities to add functional players. The goal for next year will be to defend the second star and go as far as possible in the Champions League. There will also be the Club World Cup, we will need a deep squad.”

ZANETTI’S PAST – “In these emotional moments, mind and heart go to that child who dreamed in that neighborhood, they are strong emotions. As a young man, I had stopped playing football after a strong disappointment, when I played for Independiente. It was a moment of great bitterness, I went back home crying, I couldn’t think of going to another team there, I had to wait a year because the transfer window was over. I started working with my father as a bricklayer, one day he asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I replied that my passion was football, so he asked me, ‘why don’t you try again?’. Those words were fundamental to understand to try again. I had a trial with another team, I started playing again and from there my career started. The mind goes back there, they are key moments that had to happen, they put me to the test to overcome difficulties: that’s life. Being a bricklayer taught me what sacrifice means. I always say: without that you don’t get anything. Many want everything immediately without waiting, life is just the opposite. I was 13 years old: it taught me a lot because I saw the sacrifices of my father and mother to not let us miss anything. I grew up with the culture of work, it was a gym of teachings. It is necessary to talk about it with the younger ones, explain that not everything is given: one must earn things.”

TRANSFER MARKET AND RENEWALS – “The intention is to keep this team, we see in all the guys the desire to continue, it means that something important has been created and that there is a very strong foundation. Who could come? If there are opportunities that the coach will consider important to continue the growth, we will gladly take them within our parameters. Zirkzee? We’re talking about a great champion, young talented and intelligent, physically strong. He’s doing very well at Bologna, a player like him would be needed in any big team aiming for important goals. Let’s see if this opportunity arises, maybe we can consider it. A front three of Zirkzee, Lautaro, Thuram? They are three names of young, strong attackers who would give you a certain tranquility. Lautaro and Barella? They will definitely renew, both on our part and theirs there is this predisposition to continue together.”

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND CLUB WORLD CUP – “The Champions League is a very difficult competition, seeing the other teams it’s hard to say we are favorites. We can say we’ll give it a shot, yes. We are aware that we are competitive at the highest level and we will try to go far next year too. Elimination against Atletico Madrid? We are sorry for how the defeat came. In the two matches we had many opportunities to score that goal that would have allowed us to pass the round. We have to insist and continue because with this group of players we shouldn’t be afraid of anyone.

The Club World Cup is a prestigious competition, there are many strong teams. The fact of participating makes us proud, we also want to be protagonists in this competition: it would be nice to reach the final stages of this competition. It will be a busy, intense but happy summer because when you are a protagonist you are always happy. A dream of mine? Continue with these victories and consider winning the Champions League: being able to lift it as vice president wouldn’t be bad. I can’t imagine what could happen in case of victory, our fans are fantastic.”


Serie A obsessive.