I bought the book when I was in Milan on Sep 2009. It's fully in Italian but with the help of the great Inter Forever and also Luca-22 we're going to try and translate every page of the book for you. Without further adieu, here are the first couple of pages to it.
"Oh my beautiful Madonna, you shine from far away, gold and small, you guard the whole city of Milan." – Javier Zanetti
An Argentine Boy
There is an Argentine boy that lives near Milan. There are many young people who were not born in Europe that live protected by the Madonnina who, from the highest spire of the Duomo, watches over the city. From this height, looking northwest, you can see the stadium in San Siro: the "Giuseppe Meazza" and it is here that the boy works. He plays football, but he also likes to play tennis or volleyball on the beach with his friends. There is another sport that he likes very much: basketball. Particularly because it is thanks to basketball, many years ago, that he met a girl who plays on a team; a wonderful girl who he later married and together they conceived two children: Sol and Ignacio. The mother of Sol and Ignacio is Argentine, like her husband, but feels Milanese and perhaps this is why, in Italy (in regards to basketball) has always followed Olimpia di Milano, the Armani Jeans... where the greatest basketball player in his country played: Hugo Sconochini. Sometimes, the boy and his wife will be a little childish and play basketball together.
The Argentinean boy goes to church whenever his commitments allow him to, and, if possible, he attends mass.
The Argentinean boy has simple tastes, like those of many other young people around the world. Hi likes to be with his family and friends. He likes to go to the movies and have dinner together. By now an adopted Milanese, he is well acquainted with and enjoys risotto with saffron, Cotoletta (breaded veal cutlets), panettone, and has become such a connoisseur that he can recommend to the Milanese an almost forgotten dish that is rarely cooked and eaten: roast ossobuco drowned in wine white.
After dinner he likes to play games with his friends and maybe end up singing karaoke. He enjoys music very much, even if all his free time has been dedicated to helping poor children in Argentina. He loves romantic music, pop, folk, rock, Cumbia (a genre from his country), tango, Argentinean rock, and, above all, the band Los Piojos and the singer Charly. The Italian artists that he gladly listens to are Zuchero, Ramazzotti, and Ligabue. He likes to listen to so much music and really likes to sing but he does not play any instrument well, although he has many drums and will tap a beat on anything he can find.
After family, his two great loves are his work and music. To sing is his passion because he hears things in music that a man cannot express in any other way. For him, artists are unpredictable so fascinate him. The Argentinean boy plays football well and is accustomed to doing so surrounded by thousands of people, he is a professional at his job; however, once he happened to sing before an audience at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, and for him it was a dream, like being in a science fiction movie.
The Argentinean boy deserves his position at work, he did not get where he is accidentally. He is always himself; he has never changed, and has always stayed faithful to his principles.
He is part of a very united group, both at work and in his daily life. During the breaks in training, with his companions, he enjoys playing cards and an Argentinean game; sometimes they play pool, also if in a game, Argentina; sometimes they play pool, although some are isolated a bit with video games. When he returns home in the evening, though, he prefers to stay quite and rest beside his wife, his children and his dog.
There are occasionally some misunderstandings between him and his companions, but their energies are all directed to the same objectives. In their work they must be responsible and committed to the maximum: there is a common responsibility towards the one who directs them. No one has an assured place, even the strongest must earn it. Now it is like this in every sector. He struggles every day to earn his place. He has within him the same desire as when, at a very young age, he started playing football in Argentina. Before a game he concentrates, but when taking the field he still feels the thrill of that first time: a beautiful feeling. The passion for his work is the stimulus that makes him always go forward, even when he is tired, when it's hot, when it's cold, and even when things are not going the right way. It is important to always be loyal. His advice to young people who are struggling to realize their dreams is not to neglect their studies, which is also important in the life of an athlete. The secret, perhaps the only one, is to do everything with heart.
The Argentinean boy has ran all his life and the kilometers he has done are as much as his attachment to the shirt of his team. Everything he does is in the interests of his company, because his desire is that his team wins!
If you happen to see him in his work clothes, on his left arm you will see a yellow band. The first one he wore was simply embroidered with his initials. Then, his friend Frederico prepared many others more, for hundreds of games. That yellow band is the Captain’s arm band.
But wait! We are forgetting. The Argentinian boy's name is Javier Adelmar Zanetti and he is the captain of FC Internazionale Milano, the most wonderful team in the world. Zanetti, as related by a journalist who knows him well, Edward Caldara of the Inter Channel, "is one of the few who can still represent a sense of belonging, he arrived Nerrazurro and Nerazzurro he remains ... he is a a point of reference, silent and always present ... he is exactly like when he arrived at Milan in 1995. Javier Zanetti is someone who seems to be able to play football forever; this physiological and mental perfection keeps him away from too much praise because Zanetti has parameters too high to be valued: a physical monster, a Latin American touch of the ball, an iron discipline, a unique integrity."
Javier Zanetti has one hope: "I would to be remembered in the history of Inter as one who has lived his entire career with passion for the Black and Blue colors, trying to always give my best and never give up!"
The Captain's Ghost
by Edoardo Caldara
It is impossible not to have a memory of Javier "Pupi" Zanetti, if only for the long period of time that binds us Interisti to him.
Javier is in life as seen on TV, devoid of weak points, humanly and athletically irreproachable, in a country that has made attacks with impunity on all that is regarded as an "Inter Idea" as a way to get ahead and get noticed.
But that is another story
You have come to me and asked for a memory of the Captain.
"It is difficult," I think
It should not be for me, I work at a television channel that allows me to see him, the Captain, both in front of and from behind the camera. I have been more or less in direct contact with him for years.
Nevertheless, in this period of time, the Captain has brushed past me so often and always so quickly that I have not been permitted to make a practical contribution to the work in process.
The point is: does the Captain really exist?
Or is he a projection that we have all exercised for nearly 15 years to create with our imaginations the perfect athlete?
Is he perhaps one of those collective hallucinations so dear to a certain type of literature?
I have had, in my surreal existence, this belief more than once.
I have also thought it could all be a figment of my imagination, which has always been extremely lively and productive.
But I have heard many tales of this genre, from '95 to today, and I wonder if I am not alone, and about to brush the truth without touching it.
In short, there is and there isn't this Captain.
And yet, many have seen him, on hot summer nights, in gothic Paris, launching magic shots and lifting trophies. (UEFA Cup 1998, a wonderful goal by Zanetti)
Then followed continuous manifestations, here with us, in Italy, they also continued.
And in Europe
Not to mention Argentina, where he has pursued the myth of years, as narrated by those sides that he has harvested in his carrier the greatest number of appearances in the jersey of the Argentinean National team.
How is it possible that a unified country, full of different people (Italians, Spanish, Germans, English) who have very different experiences, is being fooled by this little devil (everything bad that points towards him is not being talked about)!?!?!?
I don’t believe it
Where is then the truth?
Does this superior character really exist?
I ask myself that every evening when I return home and see His face framed, a gift to me from the Captain years ago.
Perhaps he is a hologram!?
A Brief Introductory Note to the Book
Dear readers, the book that you area about to read is not a biography of Javier Zanetti. It is best to clarify this immediately. What is it then? Simple: it is a pat on the back. One of those pats on the back that are coming between friends, looking into looking into their eyes, and then, there is no need for words. Everything is equal. If it is truly clear that this book is not a biography, it is also truly clear that, in the pages that follow, there are words, thoughts too; some ours and some from other fans.
We found only one person that would tell us something "discordant" about Javier Zanetti, the Captain of F.C. Internazionale Milano. Even among the opponents (and even among the fans of other teams). Of course, if you had wanted to dig deep, finally, some fan of another team that speaks poorly of him could be found (the fans beautiful also because it is so), but in any case, we would not have found someone who could tell something bad or something ugly about Pupi (this is one of his nicknames). Here is the difference. Sometimes we said: "But this thing they all know!" we find ourselves, however, in likewise occasions to exclaim: "You know I didn't know this!" and, in both, cases, we believed that it was not important. It pleased us to keep this book so, simple, like the gaze of the Captain. Faithful as the heart of the Captain to the colors of this team, that, when they asked him if they could create him a a second Inter jersey of his own design, he had no hesitation: half black and half blue.
Why did I choose to write this book in collaboration with Christiano Marzorati? Surely the name has made him immediately likable to me. I did this because: a little old-fashioned for some probably, even a little "retro," but to me the word "christiano" is pleasing and I like it very much. Moreover, Christiano is a person dear to me: a friend of Cyrano de Bergerac, the husband of his cousin Rossana, he dies desperate for love and bathes with blood the last letter to his beloved, who, however, had not written him. Also, the surname Marzorati sounded good in my ears. In the 70s, despite being a supporter of the yellow red Mobilquattro, a basketball team from Milan, I admired a great point guard for who played for Cantu: the name was like mine (Pierluigi) and the surname was like the coauthor of this book: Marzorati, exactly. Finally, when I met him, I realized that Cristiano attended the matches in the Curva Nord, and therefore, one could consider him an Ultra.
In reality, the matter is a tad more complicated.
The first time I met Cristiano was at a presentation of my book "Marco Materazzi - Worthy of the Jersey" in Monza. The occasion was important because it wasn't a presentation like usual. It was held at the headquarters of the association "Comitato Letizia Verga - Onlus" near the San Gerardo Hospital and, at the end of the presentation, we went with the President to visit the ward for children suffering from leukemia, to have a greater consciousness of what it meant for those little sick ones, but also to show us the work of those who assists them. The visit, in fact, deeply affects me, my staff and some journalists.
Only the producer of a sports broadcast at a commercial television station amid the charity followed in Lombardy heard from his correspondent that the Inter defender Nicolas Burdisso (which should be present at the event), unfortunately, had not come (because of illness), he got angry to the point that he declared his intention to prepare a program against the F.C. Internazionale Press Office, incriminated himself as, according to him, he had confirmed the player's presence without being sure that they would definitely attend. A jerk, in short...
But back to the co-author of this volume: Cristiano Marzorati. On that occasion, a female friend of his from Monza that had read the book on Materazzi, having learned of the meeting, informed him. Perhaps, for the transmission of the above, my books and I do not count for anything, but fortunately some colleagues of the journalist and, above all, a few thousand readers, do not think so. After the meeting, outside the headquarters of the Committee Letizia Verga, I noticed a gentleman with a mustache across the street who had already seen the presentation of the book. He hesitated. Perhaps his girl friend, undoubtedly a type more reserved and less carried away by impulse, was not more reserved and less carried away by impulse, she was having a disagreement with Cristiano on what he was going to do. There is not doubt that, as I watched her, that presence disturbed me a bit. I dialed 112 and, ready to cal the police, I lowered the window hailing the boy with a wave of the hand and the girl with a smile. It was enough because the mustachioed gentleman, Cristiano that is, repentantly crossed the street and, having arrived at my car on the passenger side, he inserts himself halfway into the vehicle, completely insensitive to the beauty of the legs of my girlfriend who was sitting in the car and wearing a not terribly long skirt were displayed in all their sensuality. My girlfriend, though, was one who particularly liked to show off, was a little upset; I, on the other hand, had already put the phone down having noticed that the guy with the mustache, in the hands that first held, in practice, behind his back, he had, on the left my book and in the right a letter.
He presented himself well, politely, beyond the initial dive onto my girlfriend's Parisian stockings. He praised as he red the pages written by me and asked me for a dedication. I noticed that, while I was writing, he was touched and it opened my heart. My first book on Inter: "Get thee behind me Satan - Stories of a neroazzura life" was a really good book and, receiving emails and letters, I was not astonished at certain reactions of some of the readers, but this on Materazzi, for me, was a simple book written from the heart of a fan; a book of journalism, if you will, because in my intentions there was the presumption to tear down the castle of accusations, rumors and nastiness which Marco was subjected to. That book was this, but, at least for me, it was nothing more.
We return to that day, to Cristiano, who, in making the second request, became very serious. He pulled himself out of the car and turning around he stepped to my side: "This letter," he said solemnly, "I have tried get it to the Cavalier in all the world..." The question caught me out, who is the Knight: "What?" He was a bit disappointed: "The Cavalier Materazzi!"
I apologized for the distraction, having understood that he wanted me to deliver it for him, I told him that I did not know personally the World Champion Cavalier Marco Materazzi, that I heard only occasionally by phone and we exchanged a few text messages: "In any case," I explained "it is very difficult for the players to respond to letters, they not have much free time..." "Its not important," interrupted Cristiano "You surely will have a chance when you can deliver it to him. I only hope that he reads it, that he understands." I took the letter while his friend tried in every way to convince him to let us go. Some time later I left the envelope with Matrix's assistant.
I saw Cristiano and his female friend again a long time later, at the presentation of the Marco's autobiography: "A life of a Warrior" (Mondadori - 2007). On that occasion, I don’t remember why, I gave him my phone number. It happened that one day he called me just as I was organizing the archive of newspapers, clippings, memories and photographs of Inter. As it was in the area, I asked him if he wanted to come to my house, to see those things. He leafed slowly through ever newspaper. He read everything carefully. He was fixated on the images for some moments. He ran the t-shirts, pennants, and scarves lightly through his hands. I decided to also show him what was entrusted to me (temporarily) by the son of a great Champion of Inter: the original photos, newspaper clippings, and writings of Armando Picchi.
While reading a notebook with some notes Cristiano asked me: "This was written by him? This is his handwriting?" I confirmed that this was a notebook of notes compiled by Picchi on the "training system" of the Grande Inter. The notebook begins: "Championship 1963-1964" and one line below "10 August - Beginning of preparations" then began the description: "The training has begun at 17 and lasted about 65 minutes, so divided. The first 15 minutes we performed numerous laps around the field alternating two laps at pace and one at a moderate run."...
Cristiano held a hand lightly on the sheet, open, as is done for an oath and closed his eyes. He remained that way for a few minutes...
Is there need for more explanation?