Javier Zanetti was one of the best defenders to ever grace the game. He had the ability to play in both midfield and in the back, but primarily played as a right full back. The Argentinian was class both on and off the field. His loyalty was always to Inter Milan, but in an interview with MARCA ahead of the Champions League match between Real Madrid and Inter, the Vice President of the Italian club revealed he was nearly tempted by an offer form Real Madrid.
“I was very close to signing for Real Madrid,” Zanetti told MARCA. “I was honored by the interest of a club with the prestige of Real Madrid. It was during the era when Jorge Valdano was Sporting Director. But everyone knows my history and knows that Inter is my home. For that reason, I decided to stay.”
The former Inter captain went on to further describe the reasons behind his decision. “I identified myself with Inter and the fact is that I was also playing for a club with a lot of history, although we had difficulties at the time. Ultimately the move did not happen and I didn’t want to leave without making a mark. I was the captain and had a great responsibility. Thus I stayed.”
Now as Vice-President of his beloved Inter, Zanetti keeps close ties with Real Madrid executives, in particular Florentino Perez and Emilio Butragueno. “The relationship with Florentino Perez is very good. They have always treated us very well, both him and Emilio Butragueno. We have had a great relationship for many years and I am happy every time I see him. Emilio is great.”
Real Madrid and Inter Milan will vie for top spot in final Champions League match day for group D tonight. Pleasantries between executives will be shared before and after the match, but during the 90 minutes on the pitch both teams will be fighting tooth and nail for the coveted first place seed.