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Zanetti: ‘Benfica are a strong team’

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti believes Benfica are a ‘strong’ team but every team is difficult to face at this stage of the Champions League. The Nerazzurri legend was speaking (as quoted by FCInter) after the draw in Nyon today, and touched on their upcoming opponents, how happy he is to represent Italian football in Europe’s elite competition and why Nicolás Otamendi’s suspension in the first-leg can work to their advantage:

“It’s an important draw, Benfica is a strong team. But every opponent you face at this point is difficult.

We haven’t seen such an Italian draw for a long time.

“True, and that’s good. We are happy to represent Italian football, given the draw we all have great chances. Let’s hope we are up to it.”

Benfica-Inter was a Champions Cup final in 1965…

“I remember well, when I arrived at Inter, Facchetti and Mazzola were telling me the story of Grande Inter talking about the feat of winning against Benfica. Now we are here, let’s hope to honour these quarter-finals  in the best possible way and reach the semi-finals.”

Otamendi will not be present in the first leg, an important player will be missing.

“I agree, he proved it at the World Cup. He has great character and experience, for them it will be an important loss. For us it can be an advantage but we have to be careful and very focused on the rest of the team. They have a lot of quality and players who can create plays. We will play for it, we will prepare for it as best we can.”

This time you welcomed the draw without expression.

“I was very focused, by the way I had the Benfica people next to me and when we saw the draw, me and Simao shook hands with each other”.

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