Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughJavier Zanetti: football's fittest 40-year-old - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Javier Zanetti: football's fittest 40-year-old - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Javier Zanetti: football’s fittest 40-year-old

The Inter Milan and Argentina defender will turn 40 on the 10th August this year, yet he still remains a regular for the Nerazzurri and shows no signs of slowing down.

Whilst an achilles tendon injury suffered recently has ruled him out until October, Inter’s record appearance holder insisted that he would return to playing for the club rather than hang up his boots. The club offered him a one year extension to his contract, which he accepted, and we will see him playing in the black and blue shirt until at least the middle of 2014. Given his fitness and reliability, he could well continue beyond this date should he still be able to perform to the exceptionally high standards that he has set.


Born in Buenos Aires in 1973, Zanetti began his career at Talleres RE, where he played for just one season before being transferred to Banfield. He spent several years at the club, earning a call up to the national side and attracting the interest of Boca Juniors and River Plate such was the standard of his play. However, it was in the summer of 1995 when he finally moved to a bigger club, although it wasn’t one of the Argentine heavyweights that persuaded him to go. Instead, Italian giants Inter came calling and oil baron Massimo Moratti made his first purchase as the new chairman of the club. It is probably the best signing he has ever made as 17 years later he is still getting good value from his acquisition and the man nicknamed ‘El Tractor’ has passed the 700 game mark and been captain since legendary Inter defender Giuseppe Bergomi retired.

Whilst there are very few players of his age still competing at the highest level, he is possibly unique for an outfield player in that he plays virtually every game. Ryan Giggs is of a similar age, yet is now used much more sparingly at Manchester United than in the past and more often than not he rarely completes 90 minutes. Zanetti however has quite incredible stats and has been indispensable to all of the managers that he has played under over the years.

Season    Age     Total Appearances
95/96       22             39
96/97       23             50
97/98       24             41
98/99       25             50
99/00       26             43
00/01       27             34
01/02       28             44
02/03       29             53
03/04       30             51
04/05       31             49
05/06       32             39
06/07       33             50
07/08       34             51
08/09       35             51
09/10       36             55
10/11       37             52
11/12       38             45
12/13       39             48

You only have to take a look at his stats to see that from the age of 33 he has averaged 50 games a season, a feat that would be phenomenal for any player in modern day football. His versatility, calmness on the ball and ability to run with the ball past opponents has allowed him to always find a place in the Inter team regardless of the players available. He has already said that once he does eventually retire then he will continue his relationship with Inter by taking up another position at the club. The way he is going it could be a long wait for that moment to arrive and there is no reason why he can’t continue for a few more years yet.

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