Zanetti: ‘Lautaro will renew with Inter, now we can look to the future’


Inter legend Javier Zanetti gave a lengthy interview to Calciomercato, confirming that Lautaro Martinez has renewed his contract. Speaking with the news website, he touched on his post-playing career, his role as the Nerazzurri’s vice-president, and his hopes for the upcoming season:

Memories of the Field

What comes to mind when you put on your boots again after so many years? “Many moments spent with these great champions come to mind. It’s wonderful to reunite with colleagues, friends, and former teammates who were part of my footballing history. And then, there are so many people expected, the stadium will be full. This is an atmosphere we like and that takes us back in time.”

Satisfaction or Regret?

What happens when you look back in time? Is there more satisfaction for what you have achieved or regret for the times that have passed? “Satisfaction wins out for having had a beautiful career with a club that became my family, for having represented Inter worldwide, and for making millions of Inter fans happy together with my teammates. All these moments come to mind.”

Enjoying the Moments

Do today’s young players manage to enjoy these moments, or do they realize it too late? “Time goes by too fast; maybe you don’t realize it while you’re playing. I always tell the many young players who come to Inter to enjoy every moment and every instant, especially training at Pinetina, because that’s where everything that leads to achieving goals is cooked up. Those moments don’t come back, and it’s in those moments that a player can truly feel happy.”

Modern Football and Technology

Is there anything from modern football that you wish you had in your football days? “This sport has changed a lot with technology. Now it’s a different type of football, but I believe the essence will never change. Players who played back then could play now and vice versa. The important thing is the passion for this sport and how the values football teaches are transmitted.”

Contract Negotiations

At Inter, it’s renewal time. Can you tell us how Zanetti discussed his contract with Massimo Moratti? “It took very little, just a man-to-man talk with the president, and we quickly reached an agreement because both sides always wanted to continue together. My agent handled the figures, but it was always easy to agree because money has never been a problem for me and never will be.”

Milito’s Apology

Milito had an unkind outburst right after lifting the Champions League trophy. He apologized immediately, but is it true that you and Cambiasso called him to order? “It’s true that we told him it wasn’t the right time because we needed to celebrate the Champions League. But we’re like brothers; we’re such good friends that he understood immediately and apologized. Diego is a good person in every sense and surely spoke without thinking too much.”

Lautaro’s Commitment

Lautaro acted as a captain and took a step toward Inter. Did you ever fear he might really say goodbye to the Nerazzurri? “No, I never doubted it because I know Lautaro well and know that he and his family are very happy in Milan, where the fans adore him. Negotiations happen, and everyone can have their demands, but ultimately, you go home and reflect on the best thing to do. I was always convinced that Lautaro would take the right path, considering the efforts Inter made to offer him this contract. That’s how it was; we reached an agreement, and we’re all happy—Inter, Lautaro, and the fans. Now we just have to look to the future.”

Chasing Legends

The all-time scoring chart for Inter sees Meazza first and Altobelli second. Do you think Lautaro can challenge them? “Lautaro has all the prerequisites to get there. As we know, it’s difficult to make certain predictions in football, but if he continues like this, I have no doubt he can make it.”

Regrets and Idols

Do you regret not playing with certain champions? “It’s not easy because I really played with many champions, but definitely with Lothar Matthäus. I would have loved to play with him for his way of interpreting football. Then I’d say Ryan Giggs; I’ve always had great admiration for him, and I think it’s mutual since we always hug and reminisce about our matches whenever we meet. Then I’ll mention a player I did play with, but not enough. I would have loved to play more with Roberto Baggio because, besides being a great friend, he was something extraordinary on and off the field.”

A Special Gift from Baggio

Do you have a special anecdote related to him? “I tell this story often: Baggio gave me my first dog. I remember he used to show me videos of when he went hunting, and there were always these beautiful dogs—Labradors. I also started to fall in love with that breed specifically because he spoke so enthusiastically about them, telling me they were extraordinary. I remember one evening, we were having dinner with our families—him, me, and Peruzzi. At a certain point, Roby says to me, ‘Will you come with me to the car? I need to get something, and I don’t think I can do it alone.’ I followed him, and from the trunk came a Labrador puppy; it was a gift from him to me.”

Argentine Legends at Inter

Inter has always had an Argentine colony. Can you name just three of your compatriots who stood out the most in the Nerazzurri, excluding yourself? “I think of the era with Mancini, when we started winning, and then the Treble era with Samuel, Cambiasso, and Milito. And let’s also include the coach, Helenio Herrera, the coach of the Grande Inter, who had a significant impact on Inter’s history.”

First Impressions of Moratti

Recalling the first meeting with Massimo Moratti, what was your impression after shaking his hand for the first time? “After my presentation at Terrazza Martini, we were taken to his office and introduced. I was struck by his humanity. For the first time, I began to understand that I was joining a great club like Inter but also entering a great family with the values he conveyed.”

The Upcoming Season

With Inzaghi at Inter, Conte at Napoli, and Thiago Motta at Juventus, what kind of championship will the next one be? “It will be a difficult and balanced championship. We’ll have to defend the 20th Scudetto with the awareness of being strong and doing everything to keep winning. We’ll work as we have all these years to be competitive and go all the way.”

Interest in New Players

Who intrigues you more, Zielinski or Taremi? “I’ve followed Zielinski a lot because I like him very much as a midfielder, and I believe he can give us a great hand.”


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