Javier Zanetti hopes that a long weekend dominated by FC Internazionale Milano's birthday will end with champagne football rather than a San Siro hangover.
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Javier Zanetti is hoping that a weekend spent celebrating the centenary of FC Internazionale Milano will end with a champagne moment rather than a UEFA Champions League hangover against Liverpool FC at San Siro tonight.
The Nerazzurri captain has been with the club for 13 years of their century and is confident that the party can carry on into the early hours of Wednesday morning – despite his side trailing Liverpool 2-0 in their first knockout round tie. Zanetti said: "We have to try to overturn the first-leg result, because it is not impossible to do. It would be a great birthday present for the fans as well as for the president, Massimo Moratti, and his family."
Zanetti, who has featured in all of Inter's Serie A and European games this season, believes the lingering sense of occasion can help the team achieve a historic result. "It is an emotional time because being part of this club and its history is a huge source of pride," he said. "To be captain on days like these ... I really couldn't ask for more. The atmosphere on Tuesday will be a great boost to the players.
"We are starting from a difficult position," continued the 34-year-old Argentinian international, "but provided we play with our heads as well as our hearts we can do it – especially considering the tremendous backing we'll get from the fans. We have to believe we can do it. Whoever takes the field for us must know that they can enter the history of this club."
The right-sided player, who will make his 580th appearance for Inter in the second leg, went on to say: "It will be a difficult game because Liverpool have great experience in this competition. We have to play at our very best and make as few mistakes as possible. Zlatan Ibrahimović can make the difference but the whole team will have to perform really well if we want to qualify. We have to be aggressive without giving them too much space on the break."