Former Inter Coach Simoni: Zanetti Is Not Human

Former Inter coach Luigi Simoni heaped praise on captain Javier Zanetti, who is continuing to break records in the Nerazzurri's shirt.

Inter captain Javier Zanetti is sure to remain in the club's history books, having already reached a record 400 appearances as captain, and he's about to equal Giuseppe Bergomi's record of 118 games played for Inter on the European stage.

A few more seasons with the Nerazzurri may even see him surpass Bergomi in the total number of appearances, as he's now at 627 while the former Italian international totalled 758 matches with the Beneamata.

Former Inter coach Luigi Simoni, who came very close to winning the title in the 1997/98 season, has little doubt Zanetti will indeed become the Nerazzurri's all-time record leader.

"The record of European appearances? It won't stop here...," he said to Il Corriere dello Sport. "Someone like him can play for many years to come because he's indestructible. I've never seen a player who returns from the national team after travelling for over 12 hours and is already ready to play. He's not human!

"He's an incredible person, one of the professionals I remember with the most pleasure. Seeing him play after many years still fills me with enthusiasm, because I know the work he does not only on the pitch, but also in the dressing room.

"He's always there to help everyone and never creates problems. But let's not forget his footballing qualities: at 35 years of age, he is still very hard to stop for anyone once he starts making a run with the ball at his feet because he accelerates in an incredible way.

"I understand why [coach José] Mourinho always plays him, it's hard to lose someone like that when he's doing well. I would always want him in my team."

Inter extended their lead on top of the Serie A table to nine points over Juventus following last week's derby victory against Milan. Next week they will host Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League tie in the last 16.

Danilo Pochini