PAVIA - The operation on Javier Zanetti's Achilles was a complete success, as the captain went under the knife at the Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia this afternoon. The procedure was performed by Professor Franco Benazzo, alongside F.C. Internazionale's chief of medical staff, Franco Combi.
Here's what professor Benazzo had to say to the press following the operation: "We performed the operation after he snapped his Achilles tendon, which X-rays picked up on Sunday evening. We repaired it using another tendon from his leg, known as the 'gracilis', which we inserted into the heel bone. The operation was a complete success, it lasted around an hour, an hour and a quarter and now the player will return to his room. I went first to speak to his wife Paula, everyone was there wanting an update because he's an important guy, the captain of a big club. How long will it take him to recover? He'll have his foot in a cast for the next three weeks and won't be able to walk on it, then he will start to walk in phase two of his physiotherapy. As ever in cases like these we're looking at six months out of action, just as we've seen from other examples in recent times.
"Was he relaxed going into theatre? What do you think? Have you ever seen Zanetti worked up? He was very calm and relaxed. Was his hair in place? As ever! Will we keep him in overnight? Yes, I think we'll keep him in until Thursday so he need not worry about his medication, then he'll return home and I'll follow him at Appiano Gentile as I've always done. Does his incredible physique give him an advantage? He's proved it by playing until the age of 40 and he will do so again. Is there a chance he might lose a bit of fitness after an operation like this? In general terms no, but locally the muscle mass will decrease slightly during the time his foot's immobile. But the Inter medical staff have shown over the years that they can get players fit who have suffered from more serious injuries than a snapped Achilles, examples being Walter Samuel, Diego Milito, or anyone else they've helped to recover. Could Zanetti's physical and mental approach help in his recovery? When he came in on Sunday night he said, "I've come to change my tyres." What do you think that means?"