MILAN (AP) — Javier Zanetti's last home match at the San Siro was celebrated with a win as Inter Milan beat Lazio 4-1 to all but guarantee a Europa League berth from the Serie A on Saturday.
Zanetti will retire after 19 seasons at Inter, and the stadium was sold out as fans packed in to bid farewell to their 40-year-old captain.
Lazio threatened to spoil the party when Giuseppe Biava scored the opening goal inside two minutes to stun San Siro.
However, Rodrigo Palacio scored twice, either side of Mauro Icardi's strike, and Hernanes netted against his former club to secure victory.
At the end of the match, footage was shown on the big screens of Zanetti's greatest Inter moments, and the clearly emotional player was led out by his family, peers and club presidents, with all his teammates wearing shirts with his number four on it.
To chants of "there's only one captain," Zanetti took the microphone and thanked the fans and teammates.
"I have always tried to honor and defend the Inter shirt in every country in the world," he said. "I learnt to love it thanks to you, I will love you forever. A very lovely career is coming to an end for me. I don't know what I will do but now one thing is certain: I will defend Inter even off the pitch."
Players from across the globe also took to Twitter to pay tribute to Zanetti, including former teammate Mario Balotelli, who wrote, "Javier Zanetti is an example of humanity and professionalism for all of us!"
Inter has five points more than Torino and six more than Parma and AC Milan, who all have two matches remaining. It is the same number of points above Hellas Verona, which squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Udinese following a superb goal from Antonio Di Natale.
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