Javier Zanetti should make his 103rd appearance in UEFA club competition when FC Internazionale Milano visit Valencia CF. But if he is to reach Giuseppe Bergomi's record of 117 European matches for the Nerazzurri, the Argentinian international could do with Inter prolonging their UEFA Champions League campaign beyond Tuesday's trip to the Mestalla.
According to the right-sided Zanetti, however, it may take a display the equal of any Inter have produced in Europe during his San Siro career to get them past a Valencia side with the cushion of two away goals following the 2-2 first-leg draw in Italy.
Respect for Valencia
"It will need a great performance because, realistically, the only result that will get us into the quarter-finals is a victory," said the 33-year-old club captain, who has missed just one Serie A fixture for the table toppers while featuring in all of Inter's UEFA games this term. "There is no point denying that this is a really difficult test for us, and it is going to be hard to play at our very best while keeping Valencia quiet. They have a great home record in all competitions, but that's not the only reason we should respect them. They have proved over the years that they are a single-minded and clever team."
Record of achievement
That said, Zanetti's visits to the often heated atmosphere of the Mestalla have allowed him the warm glow of reminiscence. "We have been drawn together quite regularly and we have a good record of going to their place and achieving the required result," he explained. "However, the past has little relevance to this game, because those were different times with different players and coaches. I would, though, take a similar result even though at this stage of the tie there is no favourite between us. We are just two very good sides who are each capable of imposing themselves when at their peak."
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