El Pupi Zanetti and his beloved Banfield’s stadium in the background.
In today’s Ole an interview with Javier Zanetti
Q – Alright, let’s review all your managers with short answers, Passarella?
Z – The first manager that bet on me, who gave me alot of confidence along with a group of young players that consolidated to play our first world cup.
Q – Bielsa?
Z – He brought out the best of me on the field and formed me also as a person.
Q – Pekerman?
Z – With him I don’t have any type of resentment. He gave me the possibility to continue on the national team after Marcelo left. And up until three months before the world cup, I participated, playing in all the games. Afterward I did not go to Germany and he must know the reasons.
Q – Do you owe a conversation with him?
Z – No, I think that it is not necessary. It was a decision that he took at that moment and no matter how many conversations we may have now, I did not play in that world cup.
Q – Basile?
Z – Coco was the manager who had trust in me again and he also made me captain after the retirement of Raton Ayala. I respect and value him alot because of that.
Q – How did you process his resignation?
Z – I was surprised, because while we did have down moments, the national team in general had a positive balance. Nobody really knows the circumstances nor why he reached that decision.
Q – He said that it was not because of any football reasons.
Z – Exactly, we don’t know about the non football reasons. He would have to explain it and give his conclusions.
Q – Maradona?
Z – To play a world cup with him would be a spectacular way of ending my time with the national team. It is a luxury to play for him.
Q – Yes, but in the beginning he did not want you.
Z – Well yes. It appeared that my time with the national team had ended. I had the hope that he would call me up for the Scotland game. I wanted to have an opportunity with him. I wanted Diego to know me while training me, for him to see the way I conducted myself within the group.
Q – How were you able to change your image before him?
Z – I did what I’ve always done and that permitted for Diego to have another opinion of me. We talked alot and he realized right away what kind of person I am.
Q – Now that the awe felt at the beginning of his tenure has passed, the situation now is different?
Z – Well, now we have to fight more, what we have ahead of us will not be easy. The remaining games will be very difficult but the Argentine players always respond in difficult situations. The most important thing is to qualify for the world cup, as early as possible and in whatever manner that we can. Afterward there will be alot of time to work calmly.
Q – Which is the word to define this moment for the national team?
Z – We can’t talk about being scared but we have to be conscious of the moment that we are living.
Q – Brasil is coming and everything indicates that there will be a move to Rosario.
Z – It’s beautiful that the national team can appear in different parts of the country. In Italy, the national team does not play only in Milan or Rome. This is a clasico and in these games the closer you have the fans, the better.
Q – How are we compared to the best national teams in the world?
Z – Spain is well, Brasil woke up, Italy and Germany are respectable but I tell you the truth, what happens today does not matter. The important thing is to qualify for the world cup and to be well during the world cup.
Q – Do we have to pray for Messi to be in the same form that he is now, a year from now?
Z – He is going to be our ace of spades. The issue is to not be comparing all the time what he does in Barcelona with what he does in Argentina. The games that he plays with his club and the ones that he plays with us are completely different. The world cup qualifiers are terrible, closed in, very difficult games.
Q – And what will the world cup be like? More like the world cup qualifiers or like the Spanish league?
Z – The world cup games despite being the most important ones are alot more open. The world cup qualifiers are a war, there are games in which from the start football is not played.