Inter Milan and Argentina fullback Javier Zanetti confirmed today he will retire at the end of the season after making more than 800 appearances during 19 seasons with the Serie A club.
"I felt that the moment had arrived," Zanetti, who turns 41 in August and is widely upheld as a model professional, told Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion in an interview.
"Football has given me a lot and I've enjoyed it all."
Zanetti, who won 145 caps for his country despite being controversially left out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon last April, the first serious injury of his career. He bounced back to make 10 Serie A appearances this season. Inter fans were furious on Sunday when coach Walter Mazzarri kept him on the substitutes bench throughout the 1-0 defeat by AC Milan, denying him an appearance in what many anticipated would be his final derby.
"After the injury, I wanted to show that I could come back and be competitive again. I feel that I'm a complete person who has achieved what he set out to do," said Zanetti.