El Capitano grasps his heel, the wince of pain clearly visible on his face.
I like all Inter fans, most Serie A fans and a lot of general football fans across the world drew in an anxious gulp of air as Javier Zanetti fell to the floor in apparent agony at Palermo’s by-line. The captain is Inter’s titan. The solid mass that the rest of the team and indeed the club is built around and seeing this half man, half machine, fingers drawn over his face shielding his personal pain from the thousands of peering eyes, sent a shiver down my spine. In a season that has jumped from debacle to humiliation to disgrace to dispair for Inter, including a season long injury to the top striker, a spate of injuries of varying degree to virtually every other member of the squad, a transfer policy that not only saw our brightest youth product leave but also a number of other dumbfounding moves both in and out, and a run of results that have seen Inter go from title challenger to laughing stock, Zanetti has stood out as the one positive in the whole mess, the one symbol that not all at Inter is wrong. But now, after fifteen minutes against Palermo, even that light has been extinguished, Inter’s last symbol of resistance against a season of catastrophe has fallen. All there is to do now is for those few fit to fight, to do the best they can until the season’s end and to ignore the shattered wreckage that lies cast about them.
Zanetti with the Pope only a short time before the match. Unfortunately the Pontiff’s blessing did not quite have the effect that Zanetti had hoped.
As for Zanetti I for one believe that he will be back to grace the Inter shirt once more. Whether it will be in the capacity of the captain who plays every minute I cannot be sure but based on his tenacity, incredible fitness and determination I have no doubt he will do everything he can to get back to where he was. Unfortuantely I wonder whether he will again reach the same heights as he has done. These types of injuries, particularly for someone who is a little bit older can have the effect of perhaps taking away a little pace, maybe some acceleration which can change a great player into a good player. Injuries also tend to come in batches and when the captain returns I would not be suprised if he finds himself more susceptible to injury. As a fan however I can only salute the man who has bought countless hours of joy and pride to me both through his play on the field and the association of his ‘brand’ with my club. It has been an honour to have a man so loyal, so honest, so determined representing my club and I hope that he remains at the club for a long long time, be it on the field or behind the scenes.
FORZA EL CAPITANO ZANETTI!!!
Lets hope for the sake of Inter and Italian football that we have not seen the back of Javier Zanetti