Even though this early season international break has curtailed club football for a week, there has been plenty to keep the interest of Inter fans – aside from hoping that their star players will not pick up any injuries.
Speaking of players acquiring injuries on international duty, Wesley Sneijder was taken off on a stretcher during Holland’s victory over Japan on Saturday (after scoring a lovely goal). Fortunately for the Nerazzurri it would appear that the injury is not as serious as it looked although he will almost certainly miss the next game against Parma and potentially the Champions League opener against Barcelona. Whilst this is clearly a blow, it is also encouraging news, as it looked as if Inter were facing a lengthy spell without their new star. With another round of internationals to come mid-week, Jose Mourinho will be hoping that his other key players can stay out of harms way.
It is not entirely accurate to say that there has been no club football since the famous Derby win, as an Inter side featuring players not involved with their international teams drew with Swiss outfit Lugano on Saturday. The most notable event in this game was the debut of Marko Arnautovic, as part of his continuing rehabilitation from ankle surgery. The Austrian played well, and is now anxious to prove his worth to the team and win a place in the side: “We tried to win the match” said the young striker, “it was a good game for me. I’m coming back from my injury step by step, I’ll grow.” In the same game the much-criticised Ricardo Quaresma scored an excellent goal, skipping past defenders before finishing with the outside of his foot. The Portuguese winger is showing that although some – including Football Italiano – have questioned his commitment and character, he is willing to fight for his place, and this was reflected in his post-game comments: “I am working hard and want to do well here – I don’t care about transfer rumours. The goal was beautiful and I feel I am reaching top form. My objective is to help the team reach its targets.” This will no doubt have impressed his conational Coach, and if he can start to produce on the field he can may yet provide a valuable attacking option for la Beneamata.
Whilst current players worry about their place in the squad, a player has been in the headlines this week with his comments about the Nerazzurri. Former Inter star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, when asked about the upcoming clashes between his new club, Barcelona, and his former side – he had this to say: “We (Barcelona) have better players, we play a much more beautiful style of football, holding onto the ball and always playing on the attack – and I have no doubt we will win.” This comment came only days after Fulvio Collovati, a former Inter player and a World Cup winner with Italy in 1982, declared his belief that la Beneamata are a better side without the Swedish superstar: “Many people thought that Inter became weak after Ibrahimovic left” he stated, “However, in my opinion, I think Inter’s already strong squad has become stronger with extremely valuable players.” The games between Inter and Barcelona in the Champions League should provide a way for these opinions to either be validated or exposed as specious, ending the constant to-and-fro that has developed between Ibra and various people connected with his former club.
This weekend brings the recommencement of Serie A, and Inter’s next game against Parma. Hopefully the international break will not have affected form too much and the Champions will fall back into stride with an easy victory.
Finally, in a section of the focus that has become something of a haven for strange stories recently, Marco Materazzi once again stars in a strange tale of stolen football boots. The club’s Pinetina training complex was raided at the end of last week and five pairs of boots were stolen, including those of everybody’s favourite defensive villain. Although ‘Matrix’ will have no difficulty in getting another pair of boots, it will no doubt inconvenience him, as players take a short period to wear in new boots and make them comfortable. The other stolen boots belonged to players from Inter’s youth squad, and because Materazzi was not on international duty his were unfortunately still at the training ground when the break-in happened.
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
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Friendlies, injuries and stolen boots… – September 7, 2009