Former Inter player Nicolas Burdisso, who recently retired, talked about his career in a long interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I have worn the captain’s armband in every team that I have played except for Inter. The reason for that? Javier Zanetti never stopped playing,” he started.
He proceeded to talk about his daughter’s battle with cancer.
“The story is well known, my daughter Angelina, at the age of two, had to start fighting leukaemia. I stopped playing for six months while she was in hospital and only returned when she was out of the woods. In football they talk about tough matches, this was a tough match in life. I learned three things from that experience: 1) What true fear is. Today I am not afraid anymore because Angelina is doing great. Although my wife’s face changes every time Angelina gets a trivial headache. 2) In front of a fear like this, every man is like any other. Of course the money helps, if it was not for the money I could not have left my job for six months. But money can eventually run out and it is not money that helps you from anxiety, depression or guilt. I witnessed Adriano’s life go south after his father passed away. 3) Everyone is afraid at some point, but after fear comes courage. More for some, a bit lesser for others, it all depends on what kind of challenge you are facing. And of course there is no greater challenge to face than the life of your child.”
He then spoke on the infamous brawl that broke out as Inter faced Valencia away from home in the Champions League.
“There is the need of experiencing that kind of situation as a 23-year old with the mind of a 40-year old. Football, up until then, had only given me victories and had left me with a lot of unexpressed things in addition to the unresolved issues. The fight in Valencia was one of many rollercoaster rides during my career: great games, great errors, goals and red cards for ruthless challenges. It all started when Marchena together with Joaquin started to make fun of me and insult me, by charging him I let out a lot of things that were compressed inside me. But it all would have ended there had not Navarro so cowardly sucker punched me. But when we were in Nyon in front of the disciplinary committee it was understood that also Navarro had some personal issues and was taking drugs because his mother was very ill.”
He then spoke on leaving the club the season before they went on to win the Triplete.
“Mourinho tried in every way he could: “Do not go, this will be you year”. And when our paths crossed months later in Rome during the Coppa Italia final. He touched my heart by saying: “Even if it will end perfect, this will not be a perfect year since you are missed.” But I never have had any regrets, I swear that on the day of the final I was in front of the TV at my home in Buenos Aires, totally calm and feeling half like an Inter fan and half as part of the team about to play the UCL final. But at the time it was necessary for me to leave Inter, it was almost impossible for me to be “normal”. I wanted to prove that I was a central back and not a fullback, but above all I had to find the balance I had before when I left my home at the age of 13.”
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