40-year-old Javier Zanetti returns to action after six-month absence | inside World Soccer

Inter Milan icon Javier Zanetti made his return to action at the age of 40 on Saturday, six months after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti salutes the crowd after a match against Livorno
Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti salutes the crowd after a match against Livorno

Photo: Internazionale Milano

The 40-year-old has been sidelined since he sustained the injury at the end of April that sparked fears that he might never play again.

Due to not being able to end the season as an active member of the squad, Zanetti was offered a one-year contract extension and took a place on the bench for last weekend's 3-0 win at Udinese following his rehabilitation.

The Argentine legend did not play in Udine, but the moment Inter fans have been waiting six months for arrived during Saturday's match against Livorno at the San Siro.

With 10 minutes remaining, Zanetti took off his tracksuit and entered the field of play for the first time this season.

"I feel great emotion, as at the age of 40 after six months out it wasn't easy," Zanetti told Sky Sport Italia.

"Right from the day of the operation, I always said I wanted at least one more game in front of my fans. I could ask for nothing more.

"I have to thank the immense crowd, the president, all those who stayed close to me from the medics to my team-mates and everyone who wanted me to come back on to the pitch.

"I'm glad my comeback coincided with an important victory for us."

Inter coach Walter Mazzarri added: "Zanetti has something special and you can see why he's a world-class champion.

"While the team was suffering, he came on for 10 minutes and gave everyone a sense of calm.

"To come back at his age after such a long lay-off and be immediately so confident, it's extraordinary. He's bionic."


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