By FRANCO PANIZO
Javier Zanetti’s illustrious career is coming to a close.
Inter Milan president Erick Thohir told reporters Tuesday that Zanetti will retire at season’s end and become a director for the club. Zanetti, 40, has spent almost 19 years with the Italian giants, becoming their all-time leader in appearances and helping it capture several titles.
Zanetti, a legend with both Inter and Argentina, has won five Serie A championships and the 2010 UEFA Champions League. The versatile veteran also earned a record 145 caps for the albiceleste from 1994-2011 and played at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
In total, Zanetti has won 16 major titles in his career. He began his career at Talleres RE in 1992 before moving to Banfield a year later and Inter Milan in 1995.
Here are more notes from around the world of soccer:
NAJAR SIGNS NEW ANDERLECHT DEAL THROUGH 2018
Andy Najar has spent much of the past year-and-a-half with RSC Anderlecht, and he will not be going anywhere else any time soon.
Anderlecht announced on Tuesday that Najar has signed a contract extension that runs into 2018. The former D.C. United midfielder and current Honduran international initially signed with Anderlecht in January 2013, but he has enjoyed a solid stint with the Belgian heavyweights and will continue his development with them.
The 21-year-old Najar has started 19 of the 21 matches he has played for Anderlecht this season, contributing two goals.
CECH, TERRY RETURN TO TRAINING
Petr Cech might not be done for the season, after all.
A week after Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Cech was done for the remainder of the campaign with a dislocated shoulder, the goalkeeper returned to doing limited practice for the club on Tuesday.
Cech said after the training session that he was fit enough to play in the decisive leg of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League semifinals series vs. Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, but it still seems unlikely that the veteran goalkeeper gets the nod over Mark Schwarzer in between the pipes given that Cech is still recovering.
The other main injury concern from last week’s scoreless first leg, John Terry, also practiced with the squad on Tuesday. Terry sustained a knock late in the opening match vs. Atletico Madrid and had to be removed, but looks like he could be an option on Wednesday.
WALCOTT COULD MISS START OF EPL SEASON
Theo Walcott will not be available for the World Cup this summer because of injury, and he might also miss out on the start of the Premiership campaign next season.
Walcott recently said he will not rush back from the left ACL injury that he suffered in an FA Cup match with Tottenham back in January, which means the 25-year-old winger could miss the beginning of the 2014-15 Premiership season. Walcott – who is currently on schedule with regards to his recovery – said he is currently working on building muscle in his quad and would love to begin running in the coming weeks.
How do you look back on Zanetti’s career? Think Najar will continue to develop well at Anderlecht? Expecting to see either Cech or Terry in action on Wednesday for the Blues?
Share your thoughts below.