Inter have started 2010 as they mean to continue, with a controversial victory away to Chievo. A goal from Mario Balotelli was enough to see the champions through, and although there may have been complaints after the game, they were well worth the victory even thought it came in strange circumstances.
Despite the win, the one thing that will now worry Nerazzurri fans is the injury sustained by Cristian Chivu. The Romanian defender fractured his skull and looks like he will be out of action for the best part of the rest of the season, which will leave Inter without one of their best defenders and a key member of the team. Chivu has undergone surgery, and the doctors involved have said that while his injury is very serious, they expect him to make a full recovery.
One positive was the debut performance of Goran Pandev. The striker did not dominate the game but considering that he has not played a competitively in several months he played very well, and the fans will be encouraged to see the way he has begun his second spell at the club. Ricardo Quaresma also made a reasonable contribution after coming on, and is showing surprising determination to make an impact for la Beneamata.
The other talking point after the match is Mario Balotelli’s fine. The youngster has been fined €7,000 for provoking the Chievo fans, after he was booed continually during the second half of the game and he sarcastically clapped the fans as he was being substituted near the end of the game. Not a man to back down, Balotelli has issued a statement apologising to those fans who did not abuse him, but telling those that shout racist chants at him exactly what he thinks: “I will not apologise to those who insulted me, but I do to those who were innocent and I offended through my expressions. I should have made it clear that the fans in Verona and around Italy who boo me disgust me. Instead of enjoying a good sports game, they prefer to insult me. I am tired of always hearing racist chants when I behave on the pitch. It’s a disgrace which must end.” Whether you love or hate Balotelli, he does not deserve to suffer racist abuse, and racism is a very real problem in Italy that needs to be addressed by both the clubs and the FIGC.
On the transfer side, it looks as if Patrick Vieira will be leaving the club very soon. He played 90 minutes against Chievo but looks almost certain to be making the move to join former Coach Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. Vieira’s time at Inter has been good, and even though he failed to perform to the level that saw him highly praised at Arsenal, he has played his part in three consecutive Scudetto wins. He understandably wants to leave to find first-team football and increase his chances of playing for France at the World Cup this summer.
The final, and most curious, transfer story circles around Amantino Mancini and Roma’s Júlio Baptista. There have been rumours that Baptista is unsettled in Rome, and is considering leaving the club so he can play more regularly. Mancini finds himself in the same position, and a potential exchange of the players on loan deals has been talked about. Other than Pandev, it appears the club are not intending to sign any more players this January, certainly on permanent deals. President Massimo Moratti has said that he thinks the squad is in good shape at the moment, and even though he understands that José Mourinho may ask, he will have to convince Moratti that any new signings are needed. However, keep an eye on the Nerazzurri, because many clubs have stated in the past that they are not in the market and ended up signing new players. Don’t assume that Inter will not be signing anyone just yet.
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
Nerazzurri look to the future as Ibra looks back – September 11, 2009
Inter get a point, but that’s not the point – September 18, 2009
They never had a problem with ugly wins – September 22, 2009
Partenopei are beaten Black and Blue – September 25, 2009
Blucerchiati run rings round Inter – September 29, 2009
Champions League? You’re having a laugh – October 2, 2009
I’d rather be lucky than good – October 6, 2009
The international break – October 6, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer Talk – October 13, 2009
Back to Genova – October 16, 2009
The Puzzle continues – October 20, 2009
What next? – October 23, 2009
Papering over the cracks – October 27, 2009
The pressure is on as Inter almost throw it away against Palermo – October 30, 2009
Judgement day awaits – November 3, 2009
Just in time – November 6, 2009
A draw with Roma, but things look good – November 10, 2009
Back to the day job – November 20, 2009
A Messi situation – November 24, 2009
It was embarrassing – November 27, 2009
José gets ruffled – December 1, 2009
Derby d’Italia – December 4, 2009
It could be worse – December 8, 2009
Disaster averted – December 11, 2009
A missed opportunity? More for them than us – December 11, 2009
Resolutions – December 18, 2009
How do you solve a problem like Mourinho [does]? – December 22, 2009
Grazie Marco – December 29, 2009
Inter transfer rumours beaten black and blue – January 5, 2010
Mario Balotelli, hero and villain – January 8, 2010