When mulling over potential candidates for the defence of a World XI, there are a few obvious places to start. Principally: Italy, and that fascination with the aesthetics of the 1-0 victory; the 1970s, when barbarism by and large bested beauty; the Defenders section in B&Q, maybe; and the ‘Southern Cone’ of South America, spiritual home of the escalation of cynical fouls into all-out brawls (see Rattin, Antonio) as well as the provenance of a certain Helenio Herrera, legendary manager of and architect of ‘Italian’ .
Why is this? Why are
This unconscious hankering after order – to the point that its absence produces physiological effects: crawling skin – often betrays a right-wing sensibility (think of the army or the church, based as they are on stringently codified behaviours and comportment, the ‘right’ way to think, feel, move, desire). So then, is Zanetti, the tireless and hyper-disciplined team man, actually something of a paradox? Can someone so punctilious with his hair be the antithesis of the modern, pampered, preening footballer? Well, regardless of whether his concern with his parting denotes right- or left-wing tendencies – and as we’ve seen, the supremely versatile Zanetti is equally adept at both full-back positions or on either side of midfield – the unobtrusive, can-do, workaholic attitude made him the manager’s dream and a legend for the Inter support.