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Two years on from their Champion’s League victory, it is clear Inter Milan have learned their lesson

Posted By Mahmoud Ghellai On Aug 23 2012 @ 5:46 am In Champions League,Lega Calcio | 1 Comment

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On May 22nd, 2010 a smiling Massimo Moratti had one arm draped over his head coach Jose Mourinho, the man who just delivered the title Moratti craved; the UEFA Champion’s League. It ended a 45 year wait, one that Moratti’s father delivered back in 1965. In the postgame conference, Mourinho announced he would resign to work with Real Madrid and he has enjoyed more success as his well-drilled team dethroned Guardiola’s mighty Barcelona to win the Liga in style.

But what of the club he left behind? Rafael Benitez joined from Liverpool, and despite bringing home the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, he was fired at the midway point as Inter fell 13 points behind league leaders AC Milan. Leonardo was brought in and helped them to achieve a 2nd place finish but left at the end of the year after some abysmal defending, notably the 5-2 loss at home to Schalke in the Champion’s League. At the beginning of the year Gian Piero Gasperini was appointed head coach but was fired a few games into his tenure after a dismal return of results left them near the relegation zone and Claudio Ranieri was brought into the club in order to stabilize the fast deteriorating Inter team. All was good for a few months until once again bad form hit the team and Moratti appointed relatively unknown youth coach Andrea Stramaccioni as caretaker.

Stramaccioni was able to get a few good results and Moratti then appointed him full-time manager and Inter have started to rebuild the team through a more sensible, and prudent, approach. Out went the deadweight players such as Cordoba, Lucio (although Lucio has some good years left), and Forlan, while the team was strengthened via youth and experience with Matias Silvestre, Samir Handanovic, Rodrigo Palacio, Gaby Mudingayi, and Juan brought it. Walter Gargano was also recently loaned to them from Napoli for a 1.5 million euro fee, with an option to make it permanent for 5 million at the end of the year.

These were all excellent signings as a new goalkeeper was needed to replace Julio Cesar, who has become a shell of his 2010 self, and a new defender as well since it was clear that the Lucio and Samuel partnership, while powerful, lacked pace and would be getting too old. Juan is also an excellent signing who should be able to form an excellent backline whilst learning under the tutelage of Walter Samuel. Mudingayi gives more solidity to the midfield while Palacio has added some much needed pace to the Inter frontline. Gargano may also turn out to be one of the best signings of the year as he was perhaps Serie A’s most underrated midfielder for the last few years as his work in midfield was one of the main factors behind Napoli’s recent resurgence.

Inter’s recent acquisition of Antonio Cassano and 7 million euros in exchange for striker Pazzini was also an excellent move on their part. Pazzini can be an excellent striker who can score in bunches, but he desperately requires then services of a creative midfielders and support strikers that will give him service. Cassano can add another dimension of attack to Inter, something Inter desperately needed in the last two years as they depended heavily on Wesley Sneijder in their Champion’s League winning campaign in 2010. His creativity can help to get Inter out of tight spots when Sneijder is unable to.

After a period of turmoil that led to FIVE different managers since the departure of Jose Mourinho two years ago, Inter seemed to have hit rock bottom and fallen out of Italy, and indeed Europe’s, top teams. It appears that under the appointment of Stramaccioni, provided he continues to have Moratti’s patience and support, Inter have turned a new leaf and may rise again. They aren’t likely to threaten Juventus’s title, but while one Milan team is faltering, it appears the other is one the rise again.

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