It's All About Javier Zanetti

Javier Adelmar Zanetti (born 10 August 1973) is an Argentine footballer who plays for Serie A club Internazionale. Javier Zanetti has played for Inter since 1995, taking the captain’s armband in 1999. Known for his versatility, he is adept on both the left and right wing, having played on both flanks as a fullback as well as a winger. He slots into several midfield positions with ease, particularly as a defensive or central midfielder. Internationally, he holds the record of the most capped player in the history of the Argentine national team and has played in the 1996 Olympic tournament and in two World Cups, in 1998 and 2002. Known as “Pupi” in Argentina, Zanetti was born in Buenos Aires, picking up the nickname “Il Trattore” (The Tractor) soon after his move to Italy where his strength, resilience, stamina, and his ability to run past opposing defenders when joining the attack from his right back position earned him notoriety. More recently, he plays in the right midfield. He ended a 4-year goal drought when he scored on 5 November 2006. In the national team, he is deployed as a right back but is able to switch between defense and attack easily. Zanetti has won five Serie A titles with Inter, having earned the nickname “Il Capitano” (The Captain) among the fans and media since taking captaincy at Inter. He holds the record for the highest all-time appearances by a non-Italian born player for an Italian club and his 700 official matches for the club put him second (behind Giuseppe Bergomi) in Inter’s all-time appearances list. Zanetti, who plans to retire with Inter and continue to work with the club thereafter, is also noted for his charity work, running a foundation to benefit disadvantaged children in Argentina. He has been named an ambassador for the SOS Children’s Villages project in Argentina by FIFA, and in 2005, he received the Ambrogino d’Oro award from the Milan townhall for his social initiative. The 2010 UEFA Champions League Final on 22 May 2010 was Zanetti’s 700th game with Inter, and the team’s victory on the night ensured that Zanetti marked the occasion by completing a historic treble.

Early life

Javier Adelmar Zanetti was born in Buenos Aires, his family being of Italian origin, and grew up in the harbour area in the Dock Sud district. He combined schooling and working commitments, helping his bricklayer father in masonry alongside delivering milk, and working in his cousin’s grocery store without neglecting his passion for football. He began playing football on a field in the city suburbs, maintaining the pitch in his spare time.

Club career

Talleres RE
Zanetti, after being rejected by the youth division of Argentina’s Independiente, signed for Talleres de Remedios de Escalada (a second division team at the time) but moved in 1993 to the Argentine First Division club Banfield.

A 20-year-old Zanetti debuted for Banfield on 12 September 1993 in a home match against River Plate. He scored his first goal 17 days later against Newell’s Old Boys in a match that ended 1–1. His outstanding performances for Banfield gained popularity from El Taladro fans and also earned him a call-up from the national team. First division giants River Plate and Boca Juniors came knocking but Zanetti decided to stay on for another year at the club. In 1995, along with fellow Argentine Sebastián Rambert, he transferred to Italy’s Internazionale, becoming team owner Massimo Moratti’s first-ever purchase.

He made his debut for Inter on 27 August 1995 against Vicenza in Milan. Throughout his stay with the club, he has won thirteen trophies: the UEFA Cup in 1998 – scoring the second goal for the final with a shot outside the penalty area –, the 2005, 2006 and 2010 Coppa Italia, the 2005, 2006 and 2008 Italian Super Cup, the 2005–2006, 2006–2007, 2007–2008, 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 Scudetti and the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League. In 2010 Zanetti became the first player to captain an Italian club to a treble of the Scudetto, Coppa Italia and European Cup.

Zanetti’s qualities have earned him respect on and off the field. He is sometimes criticised for being too soft-spoken on the pitch, but he makes up for this by being one of Inter’s most consistent, reliable, and trusted players. As such, he was rewarded with the club captaincy, taking over from legendary defender Giuseppe Bergomi. Being a part of the squad for the last 13 seasons and with 700 appearances, he is currently the team’s longest-tenured player, and the second overall behind Bergomi (758) in the all-time list of most capped Inter players. To Inter fans, Zanetti is one of the greatest players to have ever worn the colours of the black and blue. He celebrated his 600th cap for Inter in style with a 1–0 win over newly promoted Lecce. Minutes before the match, he was presented with a commemorative plate by vice-captain Iván Córdoba to mark the special occasion.

Since the arrival of Maicon at the beginning of the 2006–07 season, Zanetti was moved from the right back position into midfield and left-back. He ended a 4-year goal drought when he scored on 5 November 2006 at a home match against Ascoli, having previously scored on 6 November 2002 at an away match against Empoli. On 27 September 2006, against Bayern Munich, Zanetti played his 500th professional match for Inter and on 22 November 2006, he appeared in his 100th UEFA match against Sporting Clube de Portugal.

As of 2010, Zanetti has not received a red card in more than eleven years. The last time he was sent off was on 17 February 1999 in a Coppa Italia match against Parma.

At Inter, Zanetti has had 15 different coaches (list), making him the only player to have played under this many coaches. His current contract with Internazionale runs until 2010. The captain has pledged his future to the Nerazzurri, hoping to have a future behind the desk at the club once he hangs up his boots after he quits playing. “Inter means a lot to me,” Zanetti said

It was the first team to open the doors of European football. I was very young when I came here and I think not many teams could have had so much faith and patience with a boy in his early 20s from the very first day like Inter did with me. I will always be grateful for that. For some reason I have always felt at home here at Inter and this is why I have never thought of leaving.

Though Zanetti is more often classified as a defender, he has played in the midfield for most of the first half of the 2008–09 season. For the last several weeks of October 2008, with Portuguese coach José Mourinho facing a midfield crisis due to injuries to key midfielders Esteban Cambiasso and Sulley Muntari, he was moved again to the midfield for the matches against Genoa and Fiorentina. Since then, Mourinho has played him in the midfield due to the preference of Maicon, Lúcio, Wálter Samuel, and Cristian Chivu in the back four.

The 2009–10 season began well for Zanetti and Inter, especially after a 4–0 thrashing of crosstown rivals in the Milan derby. In the 17 October match against Genoa, he started off the counterattack that led to Inter’s second goal after dispossessing a Genoa player. Inter became the first team of the season to win by a 5-goal margin. On 24 October, he reached Giacinto Facchetti’s record of 476 Serie A appearances when he turned out for the match against Catania, which ended in a 2–1 win for the Nerazzurri. He also currently holds a club record of 149 consecutive appearances.

Inter won the 2010 Champions League Final against Bayern Munich on 22 May 2010, Zanetti’s 700th appearance for Internazionale.

International career
Zanetti debuted for Argentina on 16 November 1994 against Chile under coach Daniel Passarella. He has since represented his country at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. He was also part of the team that won the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, USA.

In the 1998 World Cup run, he neatly finished off a Diego Simeone free kick in the round of 16 match against England making the score 2–2. Argentina went on to win 4–3 on penalties but lost the quarter-final match to the Netherlands.

Zanetti played for Marcelo Bielsa’s Argentine national team in the 2002 World Cup. However, they finished 3rd in their group, despite winning the opening match.

Zanetti celebrated his 100th cap by helping Argentina win their 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final over Mexico on 26 June 2005, in which he won the Man of the Match award.

After having been part of the team during the qualification rounds, Zanetti was not called up for the 2006 FIFA World Cup by coach José Pekerman in a controversial decision.  Instead, Lionel Scaloni was given a surprise selection, a move that bewildered many fans and media.

With new coach Alfio Basile, Zanetti was called for a friendly match against France on 7 February 2007. He played brilliantly and helped Javier Saviola to score the only goal of the game that gave Argentina the first victory under Basile’s second management. That same year, Zanetti was vice-captain of the Argentine Squad for the Copa América 2007, having previously appeared in the 1995, 1999 and the 2004 editions of the tournament.

In April 2007, Zanetti was presented with the National Giuseppe Prisco Award.[12] Since the retirement of Ayala, Zanetti has been given the captain’s armband. At a World Cup qualification match against Bolivia on 17 November 2007, he became the most capped player ever for Argentina.

Zanetti remained a regular under new coach Diego Maradona, although Liverpool defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano took over as captain at Maradona’s request. Recently, however, Diego Maradona has failed to call up Zanetti to the Argentina squad. The player missed the 2010 World Cup.

Competition statistics

    Serie A : 501 appearances 12 goals[15]
    Coppa Italia : 59 appearances 3 goals
    Supercoppa Italiana : 5 appearances
    UEFA Champions League : 89 appearances 1 goal
    UEFA Europa League : 43 appearances 3 goals
    FIFA World Cup : 8 appearances 1 goal
    FIFA Confederations Cup : 8 appearances
    Copa America : 18 appearances


    UEFA Champions League: 2009–10
    UEFA Cup: 1997–98
    Serie A: 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
    Coppa Italia: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
    Italian Super Cup: 2005, 2006, 2008


    FIFA 100
    Pallone d’Argento: 2002
    FIFA Team of the Year 2009 Nominated (right back):

Personal life

In 1997, Javier and Paula Zanetti were married, after seven years of dating. They live near Lake Como, where they own a restaurant called “El Gaucho“. Today, Paula Zanetti, daughter of a university teacher, works as a photographer. On 11 June 2005, she gave birth to a baby girl, Sol Zanetti. Javier Zanetti said, “I’m very happy about this baby girl who has come into my life. It was a beautiful experience with my wife. My daughter will have all the happiness she deserves.” Zanetti also has a son Ignacio.

Zanetti’s elder brother Sergio is a former football defender.

In 2007, Zanetti collaborated with Italian singer Mina Mazzini in a Spanish cover of the song “Parole parole”, found in the album Todavía.

Javier Zanetti is not related to Cristiano Zanetti, an Italian who played alongside him for five seasons and is currently playing for Fiorentina.

Charity work

Zanetti is FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children’s Villages project in Argentina, and has declared his support for the Mexican Zapatista rebels.

Fundación PUPI

Zanetti has also proven that he has a highly developed social conscience. In response to Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001, which threw millions of people into poverty, Zanetti, with his wife Paula, created the Fundación PUPI (PUPI foundation) in Argentina for the social integration of poor children. The aim of the organization is to help children who were left impoverished by the country’s economic crisis by giving them educational opportunities, as well as taking care of their nutritional requirements.

“When I look back to my childhood, many concrete scenes come to my mind, good ones and bad ones. I had a difficult childhood, and even though I don’t live in my country at present, I’m well aware of what’s going on there and the devastating effect it’s having on our poorest children. I’ve always believed that our public actions need to take account of our social responsibility,” he explained.

Their comments about Javier Zanetti

"In this world, none of the players that I fear, unless Zanetti" (Marco Materazzi)

"The real football icon '" (Roberto Mancini)

"He had ever said he wanted to be like me, but now I want to say to him that now I want to be like him" (Roberto Baggio)

"He taught me how to be a captain" (Fabio Cannavaro)

"You usually see the coach on the field, but if in the field Zanetti is your coach" (Weshley Sneijder)

"All the players want to be like Javier" (Jose Mourinho)

"I am very afraid of the calm Zanetti" (Lionel Messi)

"My enemy's most respected" (Paolo Maldini)

"Zanetti? Only one word PERFECT (Esteban Cambiasso)

"If you want to learn how high menjujung sportsmanship, please learn to Zanetti" (Fabio Capello)

"If I have an 10% from 100% ability Zanetti, I am biased to the best player in the world" (Davide Santon)

"The players are the cleanest I have ever seen" (Alex Ferguson)

"Only one that I had never seen from Javier, anger" (Diego Simione)

"If you want to be a footballer, see Zanetti" (Pierre Luigi Collina)

"I did not know personally Zanetti, but if I pay attention to his ability, attitude and temperament within or outside the field, a value of 100 is not enough to be given to Zanetti" (Arsene Wenger)

"Not the best purchases I've ever done, except buying Zanetti"
(Massimo Moratti)

"Although you do any bad mistakes when playing, there's no anger at all the visible face of Zanetti, he will help and guide you to become better again" (Douglas Maicon)

"All women would want to have a husband like Zanetti, and I was most fortunate woman to have biased Zanetti" (Paula Zanetti)


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