For once is seems that everything in the Nerazzurro half of Milan is tranquil. The team are winning and playing well, Jose Mourinho is experiencing an unusually quiet week, and, finally, President Massimo Moratti is happy.
A brief recap of Inter’s business in the transfer window may well be the answer to this strange state of affairs. It started with the purchase of Diego Milito and Thiago Motta from Genoa, both of whom seem to be settling well, then came the sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and, as a consequence, the arrival of Samuel Eto’o. It was this piece of business that gained much of the media attention, with many – including Football Italiano – wondering if it was the best move for the club. However, seeing how some of that money has helped to fund the signings of Lucio and Wesley Sneijder – it may well turn out to be the best deal in Europe this summer. The only gripe about the transfer activity would be the inability to offload some of the players who have not been performing well or even playing very often, such as Ricardo Quaresma, Amantino Mancini and the seemingly forgotten David Suazo.
The mood in the Inter camp since the derby has been positive but cautious, and much of this is due to Juventus’ impressive performance on Sunday afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico. The Vice-President of Inter, Marco Tronchetti, summed this up well when he remarked: “Scudetto to Juventus and the Champions League to Inter? I don’t like making predictions. It will be a great championship and we will fight Juventus until the end.” President Moratti also let slip that the club view the Bianconeri as serious rivals, commenting: “I think that Juventus are becoming a serious team that are capable of fighting in Serie A and in the Champions League…It seems as if it will be a duel between Inter and Juventus this year, but we have to wait and see.” Of course, the manner in which the derby was won has buoyed the champions and brought real, if premature, belief that there can be success on multiple fronts this season. The atmosphere is so positive in fact, that Inter board member Ernesto Paolillo even found time to offer some words of comfort to their cross-city rivals: “First of all, beyond the outcome of the derby, Milan is able to address the league in a strong manner,” he said, “and should not be underestimated.” Whether these words will act as comfort to Milan boss Leonardo, as fresh rumours about Luciano Spalletti to Milan surface, remains to be seen.
In European news, the squads for the Champions League were selected this week and Jose Mourinho has thrown up a few surprises with his selection of aforementioned wingers Mancini and Quaresma. Whether this means he feels that both players can actually contribute to Inter’s quest for glory or he wanted to make sure he selected a full quota of players in case of injury is an interesting question that only time will answer. Marko Arnautovic has been omitted from the squad, and this makes one wonder whether he will see any playing time at all this season with the team set to challenge on all fronts, and little space for an untested and currently injured, young striker.
In an a rather unfortunate piece of news, it has been reported that the houses of Patrick Vieira and Sulley Muntari were burgled last Saturday night whilst the Milan derby was being played. It is estimated that the two players lost a combined total of €1m in possessions, and continues a theme that has been seen in other places in Europe – such as Liverpool – of players being robbed whilst they have been involved in matches. The week’s other strange story concerns the man everybody loves to hate, Marco Materazzi. The former Perugia centre-back has sued the makers of an Italian television series after one of the characters made a comment about his tendency to pick up red cards – a comment which riled the defender to such an extent he instructed his lawyers to take legal action. This is not the first time that Materazzi has gone through legal channels to clear and blight from his name as he won significant compensation from some English newspapers after their comments about him following the 2006 World Cup final, it is safe to assume that it probably will not be the last.
With the international break curtailing club football for the week, the drama that is Inter will remain subdued for now. But expect sparks to fly once again as soon as we near the time that the famous Nerazzurro colours will make their next Serie A appearance.
Inter Club Focus 2009/10
Another Scudetto for the Nerazzurri? – August 18, 2009
A stuttering start, and a Portuguese explosion – August 25, 2009
It’s derby time – August 28, 2009
A wonderful derby but the champions of Europe are waiting – September 1, 2009
All is well for la Beneamata – September 4, 2009