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2014 World Fair Play Trophy Winners

The International Fair Play Committee recognises the greatest ambassadors of fair play who act in the spirit of sportsmanship either on and off the sporting field. Let's get to know the touching stories of these exeptional personalities.

3. Jean Borotra World Fair Play Trophy


Jean Borotra World Fair Play Trophy

Javier Adelmar Zanetti

There are certain names that people, but football fans especially, will not easily forget. Javier Zanetti (born in Argentina on 10 August 1973) is certainly one of them. It was in 1995 that he decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean to start a football career in Italy with a successful front runner in the Serie A: Inter Milan, also known as Internazionale. His football career turned out to be exceptional not only because of the successes he achieved, but also because of the almost unprecedented length of his stay with Inter: 19 seasons to be exact. In this period Zanetti made 615 Serie A appearances, and including his numerous other European or National Cup matches, his grand total nets 858 games played for the club from Milan – an all-time record. His successes include 5 serie A overall league titles and victories in the Coppa Italia, the Italian Supercup and UEFA Cup. In 2010, he won the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, scoring as the oldest player ever in the Champions League series.

He also appeared in the blue and white striped jersey of his country. His list of successes with the Argentinian squad is not less impressive as he won the 1st place at the Pan-American Championships and several silver medals including the Olympic silver medal in Atlanta in 1996, the FIFA Confederations Cup and the Copa America. His successes were duly acknowledged as he received a career prize as a world football legend in 2011.

However, what makes people not only successful athletes but great personalities as well are the things they do when paying society back for the opportunity provided to them to become who they are today. Caring about the less fortunate in the world has been on Javier Zanetti's agenda since 2001, the year when together with his wife, he founded a charitable organization called P.U.P.I. committed to the social integration of poor children. The organization is involved in providing the necessary financial support to disadvantaged children and their families in Buenos Aires.

Besides his personal charity enterprise, Javier is also a FIFA Ambassador for the project SOS Children's Villages in Argentina, a non-profit association for the rights of children as well as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador.

As a devoted Catholic, his spirit of solidarity manifested itself in a recent initiative carried out together with Pope Francis. They organized a charity match on 1 September 2014, backed by former teammates and international superstars like Samuel Eto'o, Gianluigi Buffon, Andriy Shevchenko and many others. The proceeds were used to finance the project "An Alternative Life", which offers specific help for developing schools in Buenos Aires, thus helping thousands of children. All this has been done with the help of "Scholas" Foundation and Zanetti's own P.U.P.I. Foundation. His engagement in the future of our world is exemplary, and it is best illustrated by his own words uttered upon his meeting with Pope Francis: "Peace is the most important thing in the world and the thing that we are the most concerned about."