MILAN – Making his way through the mass of fans that awaited him and Alvaro Pereira, crowding Via Berchet at the official “Solo Inter” shop, Nerazzurri captain Javier Zanetti answered questions from journalists about the season, the New Year and some of his team-mates.
Here is what the captain had to say:
Would a victory over Genoa help give Inter fans a happy Christmas?
“Most of all it would help us end this calendar year in a better way. Following yesterday’s win, which was very important, we want to win on Saturday to enjoy a relaxed Christmas and recharge our batteries for the next year.”
How was 2012, and how do you hope 2013 will be?
“2012 was a year of growth because it came after a difficult half season. In the first six months of the new season the team grew a lot. We’re a new group with a strong desire to become a leading contender again and fight for the top spots. We hope we can do it.”
What kind of gifts could Inter get from the transfer market in January?
“The president and the rest of the staff will evaluate together as to what will work best for strengthening this team, which I believe is already competitive and showing it. Whoever arrives will come into a group with a strong desire to do well.”
Yesterday there was an important showing from your fellow countryman Ricky Alvarez…
“It was no surprise to me. I believe he just needs a bit of consistency. Unfortunately he was out with a long-term injury, and now he’s recovering. Yesterday he showed how he can play, and we hope he can be an extra weapon.”
Did you get a kick out of seeing Rodrigo Palacio play in goal?
“Yes, he also made us suffer [smiling] because when Luca got injured there were still several minutes left. Now the coach has more competition for Handanovic…”
The Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, is suffering health problems again. What are your thoughts on that?
“These are things that no one likes to hear, especially anyone who loves this sport. Let’s hope he recovers and we wish him the best.”
Is Diego Milito’s problem that he’s not getting support? Or is it a problem of fatigue since, numerically speaking, the team’s attack is not in great shape?
“I believe Inter have a very strong attack, one of the best in this league. It’s hard to find three strikers like the ones we have, and it’s normal to have ups and downs. Diego is a great striker, along with Rodrigo, Antonio – who’s doing very well – and other lads who also want to do their part.”
Do you hope to have Fredy Guarin on the pitch on Saturday against Genoa?
“We hope so. He’s in top form and it would be a shame if he were out.”
Did you expect Guarin to be such an important player? Can he still do more?
“I think so because he’s a man of character. He’s giving everything he has, most of all the qualities that have turned him into a great champion and brought him to Inter.”