MILAN - Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti wants a solution to the strike threat issued by the Italian players' union as the public turned against the millionaires on Wednesday, with the action labelled "arrogant".
The union plans to strike during matches on December 11 and 12 following a dispute with Serie A clubs over whether unwanted players should be forced to train away from the first team or accept a transfer.
A split among players is developing and the prospect of a strike by lavished footballers during a time of general economic hardship has angered many fans, with internet forums and radio phone-ins jammed by raging supporters.
"These are things that happen and it's important we find a solution," said Zanetti, one of the most respected players in Italy given his 15 years of Inter service, at the club's snowbound training ground.
Italian Olympic Committee president Gianni Petrucci, whose organisation is due to hold a hearing of its high court in a bid to stop the strike, said it was "intimidatory and arrogant".
The country's best selling newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport branded the action "a slap in the face for good sense".
The postponement of matches later this month will not affect Inter, given the European champions will be away at the Club World Cup in the UAE.
The maligned tournament, where Inter play a semi-final on December 15 and a likely final with Brazil's Internacional on December 18, was a chance for the injury-hit side to recharge their batteries but now all Serie A teams will have a weekend off.
CLUB WORLD CUP
On the flip side, when fifth-placed Inter return to Serie A in the New Year last season's treble winners will not have slipped as many points behind as they might have done.
"The most important thing is we go to the UAE and concentrate on that," Zanetti told reporters at the media day for the Club World Cup as Inter bid for a fifth trophy of the year after the Champions League, Serie A, Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup.
"I really want to return to Milan with this trophy. I'm very happy with all we've achieved and I don't want to stop."
The difference in temperatures between wintry Milan and the UAE could cause difficulties but Zanetti feels they can acclimatise with their long injury list possibly benefiting from the sunshine.
"We hope it won't be a problem, we arrive five days before so we can prepare," the 37-year-old Argentine said, peering out of the window at a Christmas card scene.
Compatriot Diego Milito, Inter's top scorer last term, has been named in the squad for the FIFA tournament but a nagging thigh injury means he will miss Friday's final Serie A game of the year for the club at Lazio.
The striker is doubtful for next week's last Champions League group match at Werder Bremen where already-qualified Inter will be looking to seal top spot.comments