Diego Milito has hailed Wesley Sneijder's legacy at Inter but accepted that the player himself must now choose his own path.
Sneijder has been locked in an internal struggle at the club for several months over a new contract, leaving him to play a bit-part in the current campaign as his relationship with coach Andrea Stramaccioni turned sour.
But Milito has stressed that the players continue to get on well with the man who inspired the side to an historic treble in 2010, although he accepted that the 28-year-old must now decide where his future lies.
He told Sky Italia: "[Sneijder] helped write the history of this club and the players get on great with him. We have left him free to decide which path he wants to take."
Stramaccioni has come in for criticism from some quarters over his handling of the Sneijder affair, but Milito has insisted the boss commands the respect of the entire squad.
"We have a great relationship with Stramaccioni," he continued. "When he arrived, he immediately told the players what he thought [of them]. He was very sincere and has therefore earned our respect.
"Even if he is young, he has shown the skills needed to coach Inter."
Inter suffered stuttering form at the end of the calendar year, as a 1-1 draw with Genoa left them nine points adrift of Juventus in the Scudetto.
Milito, however, is confident in his side's chances of picking up silverware this season.
"We are a new team but we are improving a lot. We are capable of possibly going beyond expectations. Of course, Juventus are very strong, but we hope to bring home a trophy in 2013."
The veteran striker also revealed he would like to return to Argentina before the end of his career, but stressed he remains happy with the Nerazzurri at the moment.
"I'm happy at Inter and feel important here," he added. "In the future I'd like to go back to Argentina but for now I'm enjoying myself."