Club football returns this weekend with a full round of Serie A games, with the Inter players returning to their day jobs for a home tie against Parma. This will be welcome relief for the fans, many of whom question the wisdom of an international break so early in the season.
Parma are a newly-promoted side – although no strangers to Serie A – and have started the season well with four out of a possible six points coming from an away draw with Udinese and a home victory over Catania. Jose Mourinho’s side would expect a fairly comfortable victory on Sunday, but will be mindful of the season opener against Bari, a game that could well have been won by the side from Apulia. The Gialloblu have already been talking up their chances of getting points against the champions, with striker Davide Lanzafame explaining that they feel it would be foolhardy to play for a draw: “When you play against a team like Inter such important teams like Inter, and especially in a scenario like the one of the Meazza stadium, you cannot think of going there just confiding in your good luck, maybe hoping for a goalless draw…If you face the big teams with that mentality, nine out of 10 times you lose the games.” This attitude could well work in Inter’s favour, however, because if Parma do attack them they will leave opportunities for Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito to score. But if Parma come and set out to defend with everything they have, the atmosphere could become a lot tenser for the Nerazzurri.
The good news for Inter is that they have emerged from the internationals unscathed, with the big bonus being Wesley Sneijder’s fitness as the Dutch international managed 77 minutes against Scotland on Wednesday evening before being substituted. Whether Mourinho will want to risk Sneijder with the game against Barcelona next week is an interesting question, so don’t be surprised if the little Dutch magician is sitting on the bench when the game kicks off on Sunday.
One of the biggest stories this week about the Nerazzurri is the announcement from President Massimo Moratti that the club will be leaving the magnificent Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in 2014 for a new stadium of their own. Early reports suggest that the new stadium will be housed in the north-eastern Pero region of the city and will have a capacity of around 65 000 – significantly less than their current home. This prospect will no doubt hold mixed emotions for Inter fans as the Meazza is a beautiful stadium but in dire need of modernisation.
The quote-happy Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made headlines in Milan again this week after an extraordinary claim that he was the reason for Inter’s success: “Before I joined, Inter had not won in 17 years,” said the flamboyant striker. “When I arrived, we won for three consecutive years. And I was only there for three years.” This is an interesting comment considering that the Swede admitted that he was unsure of what his reception will be when he returns to Milan in the Champions League: “How will I be accepted at San Siro?” Ibra mused. “I honestly don’t know, I’ve not thought about it.” Fortunately, Zlatan, we can tell you that the Inter fans are distinctly underwhelmed at the prospect of your impending return, with one Nerazzurro ultra commenting: “He doesn’t deserve our consideration. We will put up a banner, but there will not be any whistles. He could have spared himself from a few things – his behaviour seems like that of a mercenary.” If the new Barcelona striker had the idea he would get a hero’s welcome, it is fair to say that he will be very disappointed.
On Tuesday, the Inter Club Focus reported that Marco Materazzi’s boots were stolen from the Inter training ground. Football Italiano is delighted to report that the centre-back has been reunited with his boots and this is sure to have made his week. Perhaps the thieves, in a moment of lucidity, realised that being hunted down by ‘Matrix’ would be far more dangerous than submitting to the police…
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