MILAN: Javier Zanetti was hailed by Internazionale fans as the 40-year-old Argentinian made his last home appearance in the Stadio Meazza.
Zanetti appeared as a 52nd-minute substitute in a 4-1 win over Lazio that secured Inter’s place in the Europa League next season.
This was his 857th appearance for Inter since signing for the club in 1995 when he became Massimo Moratti’s first purchase as Inter president, and he could make one more in their final Serie A match of the season at Chievo next week.
Zanetti’s 614 Serie A appearances is bettered only by former AC Milan and Italy defender Paolo Maldini but is by far and away the most of any foreign player to play in Italy.
In that time Zanetti has won five league titles, scored in a 3-0 1998 UEFA Cup final win against Lazio and played a key role in the treble-winning 2010 side that claimed the club’s first European Cup in nearly half a century.
Zanetti, who played 145 for Argentina and was given a guard of honour as he came back on to the pitch to address the crowd, said: “I want to think all my team mates, everyone who has lived these years with me.
“I am happy for this wonderful career wearing this jersey, which I truly love. Now I must do something else. I don’t know if I will do it well, but I can say that I will defend Inter the way I defended it on the field. Thank you.”