ALGIERS – The 13th edition of the "Algerian Golden Ball" awards was held today in Algiers. The evening’s guest of honour for the event, sponsored by sports newspapers "Le Buteur" and "El Heddaf ", was Diego Armando Maradona. The Nerazzurri sent their own delegation that consisted of captain Javier Zanetti, Ishak Belfodil and Saphir Taider, who won the "Revelation of the Algerian national team" award.
The Inter players gave some statements at a press conference before the ceremony began. Here is what they had to say:
Captain Javier Zanetti began, "It’s a great pleasure for me to be here in your country participating in this important and prestigious event. Taider and Belfodil are two highly motivated players and have everything going for them to have a great future. Belfodil needs to continue to believe in himself and he’ll find space in this team.
"Is it true I’ll play until I’m 45 years old, as Massimo Moratti said? I was touched by the president’s statements. I’m at Inter to help the team and at the end of this season I’ll decide whether or not to keep playing. My career will end with Inter, because Inter is my home and Italy is my second country; the one that welcomed me and my family.
"Do I remember the game between Argentina and Algeria at the Camp Nou in 2007 when Argentina struggled a lot before winning? Yes, it was a great match and a very even one. I’ll take advantage of this moment to congratulate Algeria on qualifying for the World Cup. They deserved it. They’re in a very even group and I think they have the possibility to advance to the knockout stages.
"The entire world thinks Maradona is better than Messi because Maradona won a World Cup? I don’t think that way. I don’t think Messi needs to win a World Cup to show he’s the best in the world. Maradona was in the past, and Messi is showing he is now.
"How do I see Taider? I’m happy both he and Belfodil are part of the Inter group. They’re young and talented, and it’s something positive for Inter to have two such players."
Then it was time to hear from Saphir Taider: "Do I think Belfodil will stay at Inter? Clearly I’d like him to. He’s a talented player, has quality and has shown he can play in this team. But we have to respect the choices that are made, so we’ll see what happens."
And last, Ishak Belfodil: "Do I think I’ll leave Inter? I’m happy being a part of the team. We’ll see what the January transfer period has in store and what’s best for myself and my club."