BIDDING STARTS FOR ZANETTI
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
In fact, Zanetti is Inter's longest serving player, having joined the club back in 1995. In the time that he has been at the club, he has played in a number of roles, switching effortlessly between both full-back positions to anywhere across midfield.
Zanetti's versatility and dynamic performances for the Milan-based side have seen him elevated to the status of club captain, and he is just as important for his country, who he has represented for the last six seasons.
English fans will probably remember him best for the equalising goal that he scored for Argentina against Glenn Hoddle's national team in the France '98 World Cup, but he has long been a frequent scorer of important goals for both club and country. Zanetti has nine Serie A goals to his name in total, and scored with a scorching effort in the 1997 UEFA Cup Final against Lazio, to help steer the trophy to the San Siro.
That strike was typical of the way Zanetti likes to attack the opposition, and he has been equally impressive going forward throughout the 2000-01 Serie A campaign. He has embarked on 91 dribbles and runs this season - more than any other Inter player - and found a way past his marker in an excellent 80% of them.
Zanetti's distribution has also been exceptional this term. He has found a team-mate with 84% of his passes - the best proportion at the club - and provided excellent service to forwards Christian Vieri and Alvaro Recoba.
But although Zanetti loves to get forward, his defensive duties always come first. He is notoriously hard to beat in the tackle, so it is unsurprising that he has won more challenges (56) than any other Inter player this season.
It is clear to see that Zanetti is one of the most important players for the San Siro team. But although the 27-year-old has often stated his love for Inter, the lure of playing for one of the world's most prestigious teams could persuade him to move to Spain.
Indeed, Zanetti's playing style would probably be ideally suited to either Real or Barca as he is defensively sound, but possesses the flair that the fans of the two clubs demand from their players. And should either side meet Inter president Massimo Moratti's £13 Million valuation, the Argentinean could well be lighting up La Liga in the 2001-02 campaign.