MILAN - 27 August 1995, matchday one in Serie A. The first game of the season doesn’t always go down in history for a club, but that afternoon at the end of August will always remain in the Nerazzurri history books, because it was the first time that Javier Zanetti stepped onto the pitch in an Inter shirt.
The first of 858: he’d arrived alongside Rambert from Argentina, Zanetti signing from Banfield and the striker from Independiente. That day, Javier Zanetti put on the number 4 shirt for Inter, and he simply never took it off. Our current Vice President broke all kinds of records in our colours: Inter appearances, 858; the most games played for any non-Italian player in Serie A, 615, plus three play-off games; the most decorated player in Inter’s history, with 16 trophies (five league titles, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, one UEFA Cup, four Coppa Italia trophies and four Suppercoppa Italiana trophies).
The records and numbers were simply endless. But for now, let’s just look at where it all began, his first game for Inter on this day 25 years ago: Inter vs. Vicenza, Serie A 1995/96. Ottavio Bianchi was at the helm for Inter, and Javier Zanetti was lined up at right-back with the number 4 on his back. On the other side of our defence that day? Roberto Carlos. And it was indeed our two full-backs who lit up the game that day, their driving runs forward simply unstoppable for the opposition. It wasn’t Zanetti on the scoresheet, but instead Roberto Carlos who settled proceedings on that sunny afternoon at San Siro: one of his famous free kicks fired past Mondini to make it 1-0 at full-time.
For Inter it was a solid three points to start the season. For Zanetti it was the first step of his magical tale in Nerazzurri colours.
INTER 1-0 VICENZA - 27 AUGUST 1995
Inter: Pagliuca, Festa, Fresi, M. Paganin, J. Zanetti, Dell'Anno, Berti (Bianchi), Fontolan, Roberto Carlos (Bergomi), Ganz, Delvecchio.
Coach: Ottavio Bianchi.
Vicenza: Mondini, D'Ignazio, Bjorklünd, Lopez, Sartor, Mendez (Rossi), Di Carlo, Maini, Lombardini, Murgita, Otero (Briaschi).
Coach: Francesco Guidolin.
Scorer: 52' Roberto Carlos.