The club captain, who has made close to 850 appearances for the Italian side, ruptured his Achilles during Sunday’s Serie A defeat to Palermo.

But, after operating on the 39-year-old, Professor Franco Benazzo has revealed that everything went to plan. 

"The operation was a complete success, it lasted around an hour, an hour and a quarter," he said.

"How long will it take him to recover? He'll have his foot in a cast for the next three weeks and won't be able to walk on it, then he will start to walk in phase two of his physiotherapy.

"As ever in cases like these we're looking at six months out of action, just as we've seen from other examples in recent times.

"Does his incredible physique give him an advantage? He's proved it by playing until the age of 40 and he will do so again.

"Is there a chance he might lose a bit of fitness after an operation like this? In general terms no, but locally the muscle mass will decrease slightly during the time his foot's immobile."

There has been speculation since Sunday’s game over whether or not Zanetti will play again for Inter, but club president Massimo Moratti expects him to return.

"It's very sad, I feel really bad for him," said Moratti. 

"He knows that, I spoke to him straight after it happened. But with his character he'll be back, no doubt about it. He will be back playing his best."