Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti has insisted that his career is not over despite suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon at the weekend.
Zanetti suffered the injury 17 minutes into Inter's 1-0 defeat by Palermo, leaving the 39-year-old to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
The Argentine defender, who has played over 600 matches since joining Inter in 1995, was diagnosed with a ruptured Achilles tendon by hospital doctors.
However Zanetti says he wants to "come back stronger than before".
"Injuries can happen and they're part of this profession. The most important thing is the team," said Zanetti.
"We'll decide when surgery will take place They still haven't given me the times involved but my career certainly isn't over. What matters is healing well."
Inter have slipped well off the pace of late and currently sit in seventh place in Serie A, one point behind Udinese and two behind Roma, who occupy the final Europa League place.
With four games remaining, including one away to second-placed Napoli and then at home to Lazio, Zanetti believes Inter can fight their way back into European contention.
"I'm sorry I can't give them a hand in the final part of the season but I'm confident they'll be able to qualify for the Europa League," he said.
While Zanetti fell victim to chants from some sections of the support from rivals AC Milan during their match against Catania on Sunday, the player has received messages from rival players and staff.
"Javier, stop joking around," said Roma captain Francesco Totti on his personal blog.
"I'll be waiting for you at the next Roma v Inter game. The only person I want to exchange the team's pennant with is you."
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, meanwhile, said: "Best wishes to Javier Zanetti and we hope to see him back on the pitch as soon as possible."