Argentine defender Javier Zanetti is Inters all-time highest-capped player, holding the record for the most caps as a captain of his side in Champions League history. After shadowy years at Juventus and Milan, Javier Zanetti was an integral part of a team that won five successive Serie A titles, cementing their position as Italy’s new powerhouse. As Captain, Zanetti led Inter to a silverware-laden decade, winning five Serie A’s, four Coppa Italia, the Champions League, and a Club world cup. Inter captain Javier Zanetti has won numerous honours with Inter.
Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti made 858 appearances (the most of any Inter player ever) for Inter from 1995 to 2014, serving as the club’s first-choice Captain from 1999 until his retirement. A workhorse who preferred to lead by example than to dazzle, Argentine full-back Javier Zanetti was a significant part of Inters trophy cabinet, including the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, and five league titles, four Copa Italia victories, four Supercoppa Trophies, and the World Club Championship. Javier Zanetti enjoyed plenty of success as a player, particularly as Captain. Eventually, the phenomenal player proved many people wrong, having a distinguished career as an outside-back, a winger, and a midfielder for the Nerazzurri.
The club’s longest-serving Captain held the Inters Most Capped Player title for some time until a phenomenal player came and broke that; that soccer was named Javier Zanetti. Having donned an Internazionale shirt 858 times during his career, the club’s Captain is second on the all-time games played list in Serie A, just behind Paolo Maldini, a former great at AC Milan. In that instance, Internazionale deserves the plaudits alongside the club’s Captain for its longevity.
As a captain, Javier Zanetti’s role would always be better represented by the fact that he has been a long-term fixture of Inter, much longer than any player in club history has managed. In 1999, Javier Zanetti was awarded the Captain’s armband after Giuseppe Bergomi, another player to spend his whole career with Inter, retired. Javier Zanetti took his role as Captain and leader seriously, both on and off the field. Inter Milan retired his number 4 shirt and appointed him vice president upon his retirement. FIFA appointed him an ambassador for the SOS Children’s Villages program in Argentina, and the city of Milan honoured him with the Ambrogino d’Oro award in 2005 for his humanitarian endeavours. Zanetti is also a Special Olympics Global Ambassador.
Italian Defender Franco Baresi played for two decades at AC Milan, serving as Captain in 15 of those years, earning 719 caps in all. Unfortunately, following his injury, second place would seem to be where the club’s Captain would end up on a career list of Serie A games played. If there is anybody in football who could get over such an injury at the age of 39, then Zanetti is it.