As we approach the terminus of a rather boring tail end of the European season, one of the inevitable and predictable rituals that we see this time of year are formal sendings off for some of the biggest names in the game as the move on to the next stages in their lives. And this season’s end, we’ve had quite a few announce they were calling it quits. Barcelona’s caveman-esque Carles Puyol, Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero, and even Manchester United’s creaky center back Rio Ferdinand have all called their times on the game in the last week or so.
But the retiree I want to pay homage to with this week’s “Pic of the Week” is Internazionale defender and long-time captain, Javier Zanetti. The 40-year-old Argentine is one of the game’s all-time great defenders, and was the backbone of the Inter side that dominated post-Calciopoli Serie A. And though they didn’t have the best of seasons this term — they’re set to finish 5th — the Nerazzurri did send him off in proper style witha 4-1 win over Lazio. Coming on as a sub, Zanetti earned his 863rd match for the side that he joined from Banfield in 1995. He would go on to captain the club just four years later, and lead them to a host of trophies… including a Champions League and treble winning season in 2010.