Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti has confirmed that he will stay with the club at the past his retirement, which could come at the end of the season.
The 40-year-old Argentine has had an extraordinary career with Inter since his 1995 switch from Banfield, and has made over 850 appearances for the San Siro side, but is expected to hang up his boots in the summer having just returned from a ruptured Achilles tendon in November.
Zanetti had been recently linked with a move to Chelsea in order to reunite with his former Inter boss Jose Mourinho, with a player-coach role reportedly on offer for Zanetti, but it seems he is set to shun that offer in order to extend his stay at Inter in a backroom role, which Zanetti is clearly delighted about.
"I am very happy, because I think that I will continue to be a part of Inter," Zanetti said. "I never had any doubts about that, as there has always been absolute clarity with the president. The most important thing is that this marriage will continue."
New owner and chairman Erick Thohir has admitted that Zanetti will be offered a job within the club whenever he decides to retire, but wants him to continue to concentrate on the rest of this season.
"Zanetti is a great player," Thohir said. "I want him to focus on the season, and he agrees. There are only three months left, then after this season he can join the family," he added.
The news may not be a huge blow to Mourinho, though the Blues boss may be somewhat disappointed that he is now unable to add Zanetti to his team at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has been linked with another player-coach swoop, with former Chelsea hero Didier Drogba reportedly offered a similar deal.
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