Javier Zanetti is the symbol of Inter Milan, being the first signing of the Massimo Morratti era, and making over 1000 professional appearances for club and country.
In terms of the greatest wing-backs in history, he is second to only Paolo Maldini.
When he pulled up after a seemingly innocuous challenge from Palermo's Salvatore Aronica, we all witnessed something that we will probably only ever see once: Zanetti staying down and signalling to the bench.
When he was stretchered off the pitch, all football fans alike were praying that he would be OK, as even though he is Inter’s captain, he is still highly respected amongst Milanisti, Juventini and Romanisti.
Being a permanent fixture in the Inter team for 15 years, he is the most loyal player in the club's history, and therefore gained respect. He has won five Scudetti, four Coppa Italia, four Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Cup, one Club World Cup, and one Champions League title with Inter, making him their most decorated player.
Il Tractore has also gained respect for having a quiet private life and shying away from the spotlight, something that is now uncommon among footballers. He has always made the headlines for all the right reasons and recently worked with Juventus boss Antonio Conte to try and lower fan troubles between the two old enemies.
Whatever way you look at it, Zanetti has always done everything the right way. He has given his heart, soul and now temporarily his body to the beautiful game, and football owes him a speedy recovery so he can retire by finishing a game and celebrating at the Curva Nord, the way he’s always wanted too.
It will be a great injustice if Zanetti of all people can’t bow out the way he wants to and I, like every other football fan, will be glad to see him return - if he can.
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