Inter's Superman still flying down the flanks
And so it ends. After 49 games - equalling Arsenal's Invincibles' long run of undefeated matches - Juventus were finally beaten in Serie A last night. The side from Turin lost after scoring in the first 20 seconds, as Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti was caught out of position enabling Kwadwo Asamoah to cross for the score. It was a rare mistake for the consistent and veteran Argentine Zanetti, who will be 40 next August. He recovered to put in a man of the match performance and help the Giuseppe Meazza outfit to a famous victory.
The 145-cap international was playing as a right wing-back, with both of the Derby D'Italia's competitors lining up with three at the back. Zanetti faced a tough task for the evening, marshalling the forward forays of the younger, quicker, stronger Asamoah. Yet using all his nous picked up since beginning in top-flight football in 1992 with Banfield, the defensive utility man blocked off Asamoah's sorties. Ever energetic, neat in possession, continually carrying the ball forward into enemy territory, able to disrupt the opposition's playing patterns with his fine reading of the game, Zanetti must go down as one of football's greatest full-backs. And such is his ability the 39-year-old has often forced himself into central midfield with his strong running and leadership.
In the summer, his contract expires, and many will wonder if he will finally hang up his boots, being the oldest outfield player in Serie A that he is. Judging on last night's match that will surely not happen. With his upright running style, Javier Zanetti - who shares a slight resemblance to Christopher Reeve - could be flying up the right flank for a few seasons yet.