Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti said on Tuesday he hopes that winning the Champions League will convince coach Jose Mourinho to stay at the club.
Inter face Bayern Munich in the final of European club football’s showpiece event on May 22, in what many believe will be Mourinho’s last match in charge of the ‘nerazzurri’.
Rumours in Spain suggest he will take over Real Madrid next season, despite Mourinho saying after Inter’s Serie A title triumph on Sunday that he was a long way from signing for the Spaniards.
And Zanetti hopes that success in the Champions League final on Saturday will help the Portuguese boss to commit his future to Italy.
“These rumours don’t affect us, the boss has been clear, he will talk after the final,” he said.
“But we want to win it also to try to convince him to stay with us.”
Mourinho has been a great success with Inter, as he was at Porto and Chelsea before that.
In his two seasons in charge he has won two Serie A titles and the Italian Cup. Victory in Madrid would secure a historic treble, the first ever by an Italian club.
Mourinho, however, has made no secret of the fact that he is unhappy in Italy and doesn’t like Italian football.
For 36-year-old Zanetti, the final is not just about convincing Mourinho, it is also the pinnacle in a glittering 15-year career with Inter.
And it is his first Champions League final.
“This final was missing from my career, I’d followed it for many years and now I hope it will finish in the best way possible,” he said.
But Zanetti refused to be drawn into a war of words with Bayern.
The Bavarians’ coach Luis van Gaal had said Inter were lucky to reach the final as they had help from referees.
“That’s his opinion and I respect that but if we got to the final it’s because we deserved to,” he said.
Midfield team-mate Dejan Stankovic was less reserved, however.
“To get here we beat the (new) champions of England and the champions of Spain whereas Bayern’s path was less difficult than ours,” he said.
“Hence it would be better if Van Gaal kept his opinions to himself.”
The Serbian, like Zanetti, also expressed his wish that Mourinho goes nowhere.
“We believe in Mourinho and I hope he stays. He’s someone who makes a difference.”
Looking forward to the final he said he expects a tough battle from the Germans.
“Bayern are a very good team with a nucleus of German players who are aggressive and never give up,” he added.
“We respect them but we have no fear whatsoever.”
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