Javier Zanetti arrived at the San Siro almost two decades ago, joining a club whose two record appearants were both former fulbacks. Nobody could have predicted the Argentinian would go on to outrank Giuseppe Bergomi and Giacinto Facchetti, but he went on to do just that.
Last week, after almost two decades at Inter Milan, Zanetti announced he would retire at the end of 2013/14. On Sunday the 40-year-old played his last home match – and what a party it was.
Zanetti came on as a substitute in the 55th minute to an unbelievable reception. Wearing a special armband with the name of every single Inter player he has appeared alongside in his 19-season stay, the No4 helped Inter to a 4-1 win over Lazio and was then thrown up into the air by his team-mates.
In an admirable gesture, even arch-rivals AC Milan joined in the tributes on one of their social networking sites: "A special tribute to Javier Zanetti, a loyal opponent in many matches. #fairplay"