(By Paul Virgo) Milan, April 30 - If a professional athlete snaps their Achilles tendon just months before they turn 40, it would usually be safe to assume that the injury spelled the end of their career. But Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti, who ruptured his tendon in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Palermo, is no ordinary athlete. The former Argentina full back has played more matches for Inter than any one else, having notched over 800 appearances since joining the club in 1995. He has started over 90% of the Serie A giants' games since arriving in Milan and had played more matches than any other squad member this season. And despite his 39 years, he continued to show the energy of a teen in his performances this season before the injury, which looks set to sideline him for eight months. So Zanetti, an exemplary professional and gentleman both on and off the field, is confident the Palermo match will not be his last. "After a career like the one I've had, I'd like to play at least one more match in front of my fans and I hope it's more than one," Zanetti told Inter's in-house TV channel. "Thankfully I've not had many serious injuries over the course of my career, this is perhaps the first. "I'll take my time, try to recover and, above all, to return 100% fit". Given the Argentine's attitude to training and his physical attributes, his optimism is shared by most people in the game "It's very sad, I feel really bad for him. He knows that, I spoke to him straight after it happened. But with his character he'll be back, no doubt about it," said Inter Chairman Massimo Moratti. "He's said that he doesn't want this to be the end of his career". Zanetti has helped Inter win five Serie A titles and four Italian Cups, in addition to the 1998 UEFA CUP, when he scored in a 3-0 win over Lazio in the final, and the Champions League and Club World Cup in 2010. Among the fellow footballers to wish Zanetti well was former Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero. "Good luck Javier Zanetti," Del Piero, who now plays in Australia for Sydney FC, said on his website. "I'm cheering for your return to the field".