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Mercato review: Inter’s crazy summer 2011

So that’s it the transfer window for 2011 and what a summer it has been, unlike last season there has been a lot of movement in and out of Inter. It all started with rumours of Sneijder going to Manchester United for a record transfer fee of €35+ million and the equally amazing rumour that want away Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez was linked with a move to the Nerazzurri. Then the club was thrown in to chaos as the then manager Leonardo was 1st linked with a directors job at PSG which he denied at first and then shortly afterward took it leaving Moratti without a coach, from that point on rumours started flying about possible replacements including Jose Mourinho’s protegé Andres Villas Boas but eventually after being turned down by a hand full of world class coaches Moratti decided on what was the best of the rest Gian Piero Gasperini and so Inter’s transfer window resumed, though another cloud was hovering over Inter, our huge debt and the need to resolve it in time for the FFP’s and so the massive spending of old that Moratti was famous for had to be held in check.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t brought in some fantastic players though, while offloading others that weren’t part of the future plan for us or could bring in a healthy profit to help us financially…..

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Arrivederci Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o has completed his move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala after passing his medical on Wednesday night and has now joined up with his new team mates at the squads base in Moscow. The reported figures for the transfer aren’t as high as have been speculated in recent days with Anzhi paying Inter 21 million Euros and paying Eto’o 10 million Euros per season

When asked about the move Eto’o said
“The project is very interesting, money is not so important for me, that’s just part of football,”

His debut with the Russian club will come on Saturday when Anzhi take on Rostov and he will be wearing the number 99 shirt. Many people in the football world think this move is a massive backwards step for Eto’o who is the most decorated African player in history, playing for not only Inter & Barcelona but also Mallorca and Real Madrid, during his career he has been named African player of the year four times and has won the European Champions league three times including two trebles back to back. He has also won both the Spanish and Italian leagues, an Olympic gold medal and the African cup of nations twice. For me he is one of the greatest strikers of all time.

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A week of Interviews for the Nerazzurri

The world’s press has been focused on Inter in the last week or so with the Sneijder transfer saga & the Calcioploi accusations against Facchetti, but the squad at the pre season training camp at Pinzolo have been concentrating on building their fitness & adapting to new coach Gasperini’s tactics. Although the main point of the camp is to get the players and staff ready for the upcoming season there has been a very fan friendly feel to the whole thing with Intersta flocking in their thousands to get a glimpse of their heroes training & also there has been various evening events around the camp to entertain and enthrall the fans present including various appearances by Nerazzurri stars & Gasperini it has just emphasised the whole Inter family philosophy that we are so proud of.

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Inter 6-1 Trentino. The new Nerazzurri show class


Inter’s first pre season friendly went with a bang as Gasperini’s flexed their muscles in a 6-1 win over local side Trentino this afternoon with usual suspects Pazzini & Eto’o scoring the first two goals in the 1st half. Trentino managed to claw one back with a high curling shot over Castellazzi. New boy Alvarez slotted home the 3rd and narrowly missed a wonderful long range effort from outside the box, Pandev gave Inter their 4th showing that despite being fairly slow & clumsy he can still put them away. The final two goals came from youngsters Castaignos & Longo. I have to admit I didn’t see the match as I was working but from what I’ve seen on YouTube Ricky & Luc both are showing that they are fantastic purchases for the Nerazzurri as well as the established players showing that the ‘Grande Inter’ is still is alive & kicking. I realise that we were only playing a small fry local team but the squad seems to be connecting very well & for me this upcoming season is looking very promising.

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Inter’s First Day Training at Pinzolo

When the Inter squad & new manager Gian Piero Gasperini arrived at the team hotel in Pinzolo they were greeted by hordes of Interista all waiting to get a glimpse of our heroes, they were all there, apart from those involved in the Copa America and Coutinho (Under-20 World Cup).
The new season for Inter & Gasperini starts here!

Just before the 1st training session at the Stadio Pineta started at 17:00 over 5000 fans opened the training camp with applause & a standing ovation for the giant photograph of a smiling Facchetti unfolded by Ivan Cordoba & Dejan Stankovic which will stay on the wall of the changing rooms facing the pitch for the length of the training camp.
Now the season can get going: Gian Piero Gasperini’s Inter are kicking off with their first training session of 2011/12 & also their first working with the new boss.

The session today was completely dedicated to ball-play, possession exercises & specific training matches. There were specific programmes for Ivan Cordoba, Thiago Motta and Raffaele Di Gennaro. Sulley Muntari, Felice Natalino and Nelson Rivas played with the group for part of the session.
The day was wound down with a series of stretching exercises & as a curtain call Samuel Eto’o challenged Paolo Orlandoni from the penalty spot and scored to the joy of the spectators, he then kicked the ball in to the crowd for one lucky fan as a present.

After signing some autographs, Eto’o went on to speak to Inter Channel.
“It went quite well, a bit warm but not as hot as Milan. I’m feeling good,” he added, “and here we have found a great atmosphere to start a season which won’t be easy. But we really want to give something back to all these people and thank them for their enthusiastic reception by winning. Me leaving Inter according to the press? I spoke to president Moratti after we won the Coppa Italia against Palermo and when the president speaks I say ‘yes’. We’re going ahead together.”. So the season is starting with good news that Eto’o is staying, hopefully now Sneijder will follow suit & help the mighty Nerazzurri be unstoppable again!

Eto’o & Milito seal Coppa Italia Final with a 3-1 win against Palermo

Inter end the season with their 3rd & 4th trophies of the season, this years Coppa Italia final was a battle to secure not just the Coppa Italia trophy but also a special trophy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

Match Report
Inter have won the 2010/11 Coppa Italia by beating Palermo 3-1 in this evening’s final.

A completely sold-out Stadio Olimpico hosted two sides who had never met before in the final to determine the winner of the 63rd edition of the Coppa Italia. Eto’o gave Inter the lead with a cool finish in the 26th minute, following Sneijder’s perfectly weighted through ball. In the 76th minute, precisely the same combination sent the Nerazzurri fans wild with joy, as Inter placed a firm grasp on the cup. An eventful finale awaited, though, as Munoz pulled one back for Palermo on 88 minutes, before Milito stroked home two minutes into added time to seal the win. The Nerazzurri now have a seventh Coppa Italia to add to their trophy cabinet, and can count 15 trophies won in the last 7 years.

FIRST HALF
Leonardo had to make do without Maicon (suspended) and Cambiasso (injured) but was able to select Ranocchia, who recovered from flu to partner Lucio at the heart of defence, and Sneijder, who nestled in behind Eto’o and Pazzini. Kharja and Milito started from the bench.
It wasn’t long after the Inno di Mameli (Italian national anthem) and Morganti’s opening whistle that Palermo created the first chance of the game, Ilicic setting up Hernandez and the Uruguayan firing into the side netting with 2 minutes on the clock. The opening period saw the Sicilians throwing their weight around a bit: Hernandez elbowed Sneijder, Goian crunched into Pazzini from behind and Balzaretti fouled Lucio on the edge of the box, all within the first quarter of an hour.
On 15 minutes Stankovic played a long ball over the top looking for Pazzini, who held off the challenges of Goian and Munoz as he attempted bring the ball down, but it ran into Sirigu’s arms.
In the 19th minute, Julio Cesar was alert to dive at the feet of Pastore as the Palermo playmaker raced into the box after playing a one-two with Ilicic. The Argentinian tried his luck again a minute later, after another exchange with Ilicic, but lifted his effort over the bar.
Goian asked to come off midway through the half and on came Carrozzieri, making his first appearance of the season after completing a two-year drugs ban.
The Olimpico exploded in the 26th minute when Inter took the lead: Thiago Motta won the ball while being brought down by Hernandez; Sneijder picked it up and, seeing Eto’o’s run, slid a delightful pass in behind the defence for Samuel to latch onto, bear down on goal and sidefoot past Sirigu into the far corner. The Cameroon striker raised his hand to his chest after notching up his 36th goal of the season and repeated with Materazzi the same celebration seen in the Club World Cup final.
Five minutes later, Palermo almost found an equaliser  when, following Hernandez’s cross to Balzaretti and a scramble in the box, Hernandez’s deflected shot was kept out by Julio Cesar with a stunning reflex save.
Ilicic made a dangerous run into the box on 41 minutes, only to flop to the ground after an alleged foul by Ranocchia that rightly wasn’t given.
The last action of the half saw Hernandez’s central shot saved comfortably by Julio Cesar, so after 46 minutes played the half-time scoreline was Inter 1-0 Palermo.
SECOND HALF
The second half began with Julio Cesar keeping out an effort from Balzaretti, then Chivu made a crucial interception as Hernandez was heading for goal in the 49th minute.
Julio Cesar was called into action again soon after, getting up above everyone to claim the ball following Ilicic’s free kick; he then made another timely intervention to pluck the ball away from Hernandez (52nd), with Lucio guarding the goal line.
Miccoli replaced Acquah on 55 minutes and it took the substitute just five minutes to make his presence felt: connecting with Pastore’s cross, he nodded towards the far corner, only for an alert Brazilian keeper to fly through the air and turn the ball round the post with a great save.
Pazzini made way for Pandev on the hour mark, with Eto’o moved forward to play as the side’s spearhead.
Another scramble inside the Nerazzurri box saw Palermo go close again, but after a series of rebounds Lucio cleared with an overhead kick.
After 67 minutes, a contrast between Chivu and Hernandez in the box led to more protests from the Sicilians, but the Romanian had clearly won the ball.
Inter went close in the 75th minute as Eto’o laid off for Sneijder, but the playmaker failed to connect. However, just a minute passed and the Nerazzurri extended their lead: Pandev won the ball with a little luck and fed Sneijder, who released Eto’o once more and the Cameroonian striker entered the box and slotted into the far corner with another display of clinical finishing. The Olimpico went wild as the cup edged ever closer.
Inter might have gone three up in the 86th minute, when Sneijder curled a lovely shot towards the top corner, yet it was matched by a top-drawer save from Sirigu. And Palermo’s hopes were restored two minutes later when Munoz headed past Julio Cesar from Miccoli’s corner, which in fact shouldn’t have been given – Morganti and his assistants failed to see that the ball had gone out of play before the corner was awarded.
Moments after celebrating his goal, Munoz’s evening was ruined when he was shown a second yellow for bringing down Mariga on the edge of the box as the game entered stoppage time. Eto’o stepped up to take the free kick and struck the ball sweetly but it came back off the underside of the crossbar.
Yet almost immediately afterwards Milito did put the game to bed, turning home Pandev’s pull-back just yards from goal to put the Nerazzurri 3-1 up.
After five minutes of stoppage time, Morganti blew the final whistle on the 2010/11 Coppa Italia final – Inter were the winners.

The president of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, handed over two trophies: the Coppa Italia to captain Zanetti and the cup to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification to Marco Materazzi.

Inter 3-1 Palermo (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Eto’o 26 and 76, Munoz 88, Milito 90+2.
Referee: Emidio Morganti (Ascoli Piceno).
Booked: Acquah 27, Munoz 53 and 90, Carrozzieri 68.
Sent off: Munoz 90.
Added time: 1+5 minutes.

Line ups

Inter:

1 Julio Cesar; 55 Nagatomo, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta (17 Mariga, 82), 5 Stankovic; 10 Sneijder (22 Milito, 87); 7 Pazzini (27 Pandev, 61), 9 Eto’o.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 25 Samuel.
Coach: Leonardo.

Palermo:
46 Sirigu; 16 Cassani, 6 Munoz, 3 Goian (80 Carrozzieri, 69), 42 Balzaretti; 8 Migliaccio, 94 Acquah (10 Miccoli, 55), 23 Nocerino; 72 Ilicic, 27 Pastore; 9 Hernandez (51 Pinilla, 77).
Unused subs: 99 Benussi, 4 Kasami, 11 Liverani, 36 Darmian.
Coach: Delio Rossi.
Reactions
Leonardo

“It was an enormous satisfaction this year for me and for Inter with so many changes.” Leonardo enjoys his first trophy as Inter coach, the Italian Cup won against Palermo: “Being able to finish the last match of the season with two trophies raised to the sky by Zanetti and Materazzi [the Coppa Italia and the Cup celebrating 150 years of Italian Unification, ed.] is a wonderful thing.” The Inter coach also praised the thousands of supporters who filled the Stadio Olimpico: “They were extraordinary.”

The Inter coach continued: “Irrespective of next season, this season has been great with all of the obstacles we overcame with pride and quality. Inter finished the season with three trophies which means consistency. This group deserved to finish the year by lifting a trophy.”

And again, more compliments for the Nerazzurri players: “I’m proud of this team, a team that had a difficult year, with three coaches and many demands. It wasn’t easy, especially with all the injuries we had. This team really deserved it: with Ranocchia, who played an extraordinary game after being out for 3 days with a fever; with Sneijder, who did what he did after being out for a month; with Julio Cesar, who made exceptional saves; with Eto’o, who ended an extraordinary year with two goals; with Milito, who scored the last goal of Inter’s season after a difficult year; with all the defence that held strong while under pressure. In short, the whole team was great. The will to win was crucial; we also saw it tonight, but in truth it was always there. The squad is there, and if everyone moves forward with the desire to win again we’ll be fine. There was a desire to confirm that this team could keep winning, the challenges will be there and so will we. On 6 August there will be another one right away.”

Leonardo was asked about a possible contract extension after this victory: “I will not talk about my contract until the end of next season. I’m not worried about it and it’s not important to me. This victory changes nothing. I don’t want to talk about it and it’s not on my mind.”

Then an analysis of the match: “At times we struggled to find the players up front, most of all at the beginning. Then scoring a goal helped us a lot. After that, things were managed very intelligently, and we rose to the occasion. I repeat: we deserved this victory.”

Finally, Leonardo told Inter Channel: “The lads threw me in the air with the cup in my hands, and I almost lost it…”

Massimo Moratti
Congratulations to Palermo, “a wonderful team that played a wonderful match,” said Massimo Moratti praising the season of his Inter. The Nerazzurri president spoke to Rai Sport: “A mini-treble? Not at all. One of the three trophies this year was the Club World Cup, I want to remind you – I’ll sign every year for a treble like that…”

The president then stated to Inter Channel: “The passion of the players coincided with that of the fans and vice versa. It was a great victory we strongly wanted and deserved. The third trophy in a season, even if for some they aren’t the most important ones… The beginning of a new cycle? I hope so, especially for Leonardo and those lads who recently arrived in this fantastic group. I wish them luck in winning as much as the team’s veterans, who have won so much in recent years and who still hold a strong desire to win. I hear so many questions about the transfer market, so many names are mentioned to me, but the first thing that comes to mind is to maintain this group, although we’ll do like always and add a few players to help the team to continue winning.”

Javier Zanetti
(Football Data) Tenth appearance in the Coppa Italia final for Javier Zanetti (two in 1999/00, one in 2004/05, two in 2005/06, two in 2006/07, one in 2007/08, one in 2009/10 and one this year), who climbs to fourth place in all-time appearances alongside Christian Panucci, Fausto Pari, Gianluca Vialli and Pietro Vierchowod. The player with the most Coppa Italia final appearances is Roberto Mancini, who can boast 15: from 30/06/1985, AC Milan 0-1 Sampdoria, to 18/05/2000, Inter Milan 0-0 Lazio. In second place with 11 are Fausto Salsano and Francesco Toldo.
“It was a difficult victory, and that makes it even more beautiful. Congratulations to Palermo, who played a great match, but also to us because we showed ourselves again to be a real group and a team that knows how to overcome all obstacles.” Another trophy finishes in the hands of Javier Zanetti, who commented on a final won by Inter with their ever-present commitment and grit. The captain admitted: “It was fantastic to be able to raise another cup. This is also a victory for everyone: the team, the president, Leonardo, the fans – those who were with us in Rome and those who saw the match in front of the television.”
Samuel Eto’o
With the two goals he scored against Palermo in the Italian Cup final, Samuel Eto’o reached 37 for the season, improving on the 36 he scored when he played for Barcelona. But the Cameroonian, speaking to Rai, acknowledged that, “the important thing in football is to win. My record is important too, but it wouldn’t be so sweet without the victories.” After the match the Nerazzurri striker also went to receive applause from the Palermo fans: “Football is a beautiful sport and I wanted to thank all the fans, including the Sicilians who took a long journey to be here.” Will Eto’o remain at Inter? “The president has spoken and that is enough. Will I stay? Certainly.”
Yuto Nagatomo
For Yuto Nagatomo this Coppa Italia represents the first trophy he has won at Inter. The Japanese player smiles and is proud of it: “Many things happened during this year, now – going through this time of great joy – it seems almost incredible, after the tears for the elimination from the World Cup in South Africa. Now it seems like I’m living a dream. I want to continue going forward to improve. These six months at Inter have helped me a lot; one year in this team is like ten in another club. My personal goal for next season? To become the best full-back in the world.”
Andrea Ranocchia
“They were formidable; young players with great talent who could have caused us problems. We did well to close down in the difficult moments and to strike when the time was right.” A lightning recovery and a match played as a true leader, Andrea Ranocchia analysed Palermo, a worthy opponent of the Nerazzurri in the final of the 2010/11 Coppa Italia that saw Inter raise the trophy.

The defender continued: “It was important to win the Coppa Italia. We ended the season with three trophies and we secured the possibility to go out and compete for a trophy as soon as August.”

Conclusion
What an end to what has been a rollercoaster season for the Nerazzurri and despite all the critcism and bad results we showed we are still a very dangerous team.  The 1st and 2nd goals in this final proved that we are up there with the elite in world football and we must do our upmost to keep hold of Eto’o & Sneijder for many years to come as they both essential to the success we acheive last season, this season and hopefully for many years to come.  Now we can look forward to doing it all again in August maybe with a few new faces but always with the pride and passion of the mighty Nerazzurri so the football world be warned we had a bit of a blip this season but next season we’re coming to take it all back.
SEMPRE FORZA INTER!!!

Inter 1-1 Roma (Agg 2-1) Coppa Italia Semi Final 2nd Leg

Not only did Inter ensure they made it to the the Final of the Coppa Italia against Palermo but Javier Zanetti played his 1000th career game.  It was a good game with Inter looking fairly lively throughout but still lacking something up front with Sneijder still out injured and Eto’o spending most of the game tracking back and covering the left wing, he did however secure his 35th goal of the season and ensured the Nerazzurri got through to the final with a 2-1 agg win


Match Report

Inter will travel to the Stadio Olimpico on 29 May to contend the Coppa Italia final with Palermo. If Stankovic was the man who hit the winner in the first leg, this evening it was Eto’o who got the ultimately decisive goal. The 1-1 return-leg draw means the Nerazzurri reach the Coppa Italia final for the sixth time in seven seasons, on the night captain Zanetti made his 1000th career appearance.
The first half ended goalless despite several chances for both sides, Maicon and Pazzini for Inter and De Rossi and Borriello for the visitors. In the second half the Cameroon striker showed his class once more with a well-placed shot that sent the Meazza wild. Borriello headed in an equaliser for Roma with six minutes of normal time remaining but Inter held on to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

FIRST HALF
Missing both Sneijder and Stankovic (scorer of the match-winning goal in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico), Leonardo fielded Zanetti alongside Kharja and Eto’o in the attacking trio behind Pazzini. Cambiasso and Mariga provided the protection in front of the Nerazzurri defence, which had Lucio and Chivu in the centre flanked by Maicon and Nagatomo.

Tonight’s game at the Meazza was a special moment for Javier Zanetti as he made his 1000th professional appearance, joining an elite group – with just nine other footballers – to have reached such a milestone. Pupi wore an armband made just for the occasion, and before kick-off Inter technical director presented the skipper with a commemorative silver plate, to the thunderous applause of the whole stadium.
Inter started the game brightly and threatened early on through Maicon and then Pazzini, but Roma had the first real chance ten minutes in: Borriello made his way into a decent position before firing a venomous shot fractionally over. Two minutes later Eto’o had a pop at goal but he also failed to hit the target. Back down the other end, some neat interplay from the Giallorossi culminated in De Rossi curling wide, and the Roma captain tried his luck from range in the 19th minute, shooting mere inches wide of Julio Cesar’s right-hand upright. On 26 minutes, a floated ball from Mariga towards Pazzini in a central position proved just too high for the striker to get enough contact. Nagatomo then made an important interception in the 39th minute as Menez was bursting towards goal. A minute’s added time ended a fairly intense first half, played at pace and with several chances but little precision and no goals.

SECOND HALF

Montella made a change during the interval and Greco came out in place of Pizarro. Six minutes after the restart the substitute whipped a dangerous free kick into the box that missed De Rossi’s head by a whisker and ended up in the arms of a grateful Julio Cesar. The deadlock was finally broken just before the hour mark, and it was a clinical finish from the ever-impressive Samuel Eto’o. Mariga started the move by chipping into the box, before the ball then found its way to Kharja on the right; his cross was knocked clear via Perrotta’s hand (which should have been a penalty to Inter), but only as far as the Cameroon striker, who took one touch to control the ball before slotting neatly through the legs of a defender and low into the far corner – his 34th goal of the season.
Inter had a great chance to go two up in the 66th minute, when Pazzini wriggled his way past Juan and Riise only to see Doni show great reflexes and push his effort wide. Two minutes passed and it was Julio Cesar who came to Inter’s rescue with a splendid save from Borriello. Having replaced Pazzini, Milito tried his luck in the 72nd minute: after striding into the box he did brilliantly to shake off his man but couldn’t get enough power on his shot and Doni blocked with his feet.
Roma’s best chance of the match came on 76 minutes, and it must be said that luck was not shining on them: Borriello fired past Julio Cesar and onto the near post, with the ball then ricocheting onto the opposite upright and out. Eto’o tried to put the game to bed with around ten minutes remaining, his curling right-footed effort flying just over. Two minutes later Cassetti caused problems for Julio Cesar but the keeper managed to gather the ball at the second attempt.

With six minutes to go, Roma drew level on the night through Borriello, who rose well at the far post to head in Perrotta’s cross. Inter suddenly found themselves hanging on, since another goal by the Giallorossi would have put them through on away goals, but as the game entered stoppage time it was the Nerazzurri who should have been given the chance to wrap things up from the spot: Juan clearly brought Milito down with a raised foot in an attempted sliding tackle, but the referee decided not to award a penalty.
After three minutes of stoppage time, and with a few frayed nerves on the pitch – ex-Inter player Burdisso in particular – the match ended 1-1. The Nerazzurri qualify for the final with a 2-1 aggregate score.

Inter 1-1 Roma (HT: 0-0; AGG: 2-1)
Scorers: Eto’o 58, Borriello 84.
Referee: Daniel Orsato (Schio).
Booked: Chivu 67, Maicon 87, Perrotta 89, Burdisso 90.
Added time: 1+3 minutes.
Attendance: 33,094.

Lineups

Inter:

1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 26 Chivu, 55 Nagatomo; 19 Cambiasso, 17 Mariga; 4 Zanetti, 14 Kharja (Motta 75), 9 Eto’o; 7 Pazzini (Milito 67).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 20 Obi, 23 Materazzi, 27 Pandev, 29 Coutinho.
Coach: Leonardo.

Roma:

32 Doni; 77 Cassetti, 29 N. Burdisso, 4 Juan, 17 Riise; 7 Pizarro (Greco 46), 16 De Rossi; 20 Perrotta, 30 Simplicio (Vucinic 56), 94 Menez (Caprari 73); 22 Borriello.
Unused subs: 1 Lobont, 3 Castellini, 15 Loria, 87 Rosi.
Coach: Vincenzo Montella.

ReactionsLeonardo

“We suffered, and it was a difficult game for both teams, even psychologically,” began Leonardo in the post-match after seeing his team advance to the final of the Coppa Italia. The Nerazzurri coach continued: “This match was hard to take, with low rhythm and both teams waiting to strike. There weren’t many chances in the first half, then we managed to raise our game and pull ahead thanks to a great goal. We also let in an equaliser but we did very well to manage things. There was also a penalty.”

The end of the match was thrilling, but, as he explained, “it’s normal to suffer in the final moments of a semi-final. We’re pleased to have made it to the final against Palermo; it’s a well-deserved final after so much work.”

Talk inevitably turned to the Gattuso case: “I’m sorry to be involved in controversy. In my statement I asked two questions, but Gattuso hasn’t responded and I don’t believe the response I read from AC Milan deserves any comment. I prefer silence, everyone has their own style.”

The conversation then shifted back to the match against Roma and goal-hero Eto’o: “He’s an incredible player, universal, and he’s shown it throughout the season, not just tonight. His season has been truly exceptional, with 35 goals. He’s shown maximum commitment, as has the team. I’m satisfied; there have been months of sacrifice, and this season tops off a difficult but positive season.”

Finally, a nod to Massimo Moratti, who had spoken before the match of Leonardo as one of the certainties for Inter’s future: “I will always try to have a good relationship with president Moratti, like the clear one that exists. We made this choice together and I’ve never had any doubts, even in difficult times. In those times my relationship with Moratti has been even stronger and clearer. Of course it’s obvious that the relationship between a president and coach is always subject to passion and results. But I want to always have this great relationship with him that has been created.”

Javier Zanetti

“It was a moving evening. I thank everyone, starting with my wife Paula and my children who were in the stands. Tonight’s match was important in every sense, and for that I can really celebrate.” Those were the opening words from Javier Zanetti who, in Inter v Roma, reached two objectives: 1,000 professional matches and a trip to the final of the Coppa Italia with his Inter. The Nerazzurri captain continued, speaking to Rai Sport: “It was a difficult match, as they always are against Roma, a team with players who can change the game. But we did very well to manage the match.”

With a few words he brushed off the tension on the pitch sparked off by Nicolas Burdisso (“These things happen, now it’s all over.”) and the behavior of Gennaro Gattuso during the Scudetto celebrations (“Honestly, nothing surprises me.”), then Zanetti gave an opinion on Inter’s season: “It’s been quite positive; we started by winning the Italian Super Cup, continued by winning the Club World Cup, and now finishing with the Coppa Italia would really be beautiful.”
The skipper later spoke to Inter Channel: “A special game but also a difficult one. We really wanted to win it and I think we deserved to go through to play Palermo in the final. We were unable to wrap the tie up early, but we knew Roma would come back strong looking for goals. We defended well.”
Asked if he has memories of playing any bad games, Zanetti replied: “Yes, there have been lots, but the main thing is being able to reach this goal, which you can only do if you’re very, very consistent.”
Hussaine Kharja

“I’m trying to play the role of playmaker the best I can and I hope to be useful to the team, like tonight,” stated Houssine Kharja following Inter v Roma, a match that saw the Nerazzurri through to the final.
The Inter midfielder added: “I have tremendous regard for Leonardo. I have to thank him, because he has faith in me and helps me so much.”

Yuto Nagatomo

“I was prepared. I knew that tonight I would have to play a match that was more defensive than usual, but we had trained for this.” Yuto Nagatomo spoke to Japanese reporters about his Coppa Italia semi-final match, which saw Inter advance to play Palermo on May 29th. The Rosanero will be there – not Milan. The Japanese full-back continued: “Honestly, I expected to face the Rossoneri. I was also hoping a little bit for a chance at revenge. However, now we’ll face Palermo and we’ll have to think only of that match. It will be my first final in Italy and to win it in my first year with this team would also be a source of great personal satisfaction for me. I’ll be able to finish out a season that I never expected would be at such a high level. But I play for Inter and the objective of this team is always to win.”
Finally, Nagatomo spoke of the milestone reached by Javier Zanetti this evening as he made his 1,000th appearance: “I have a special relationship with him. We room together and he always gives me valuable advice. He’s very important for me, but actually he’s very important for our entire team.”

Conclusion

A good night all round for the Nerazzurri after losing the Scudetto earlier in the week but at least we still have the chance of ending the season with some silverware as Palermo should definitely be an easier prospect to beat that AC Milan would have been. And despite what the critics say the 2010/2011 season hasn’t been that much of a bad season as if we retain the Coppa Italia we will have still won 3 trophies in this campaign and next season we’ll be back stronger than ever ready to repeat 2009/2010’s fantastic acheivements, we may be down but Inter will never be out! Forza Inter the greatest team in the world!

Inter 2-0 Chievo match report & reactions


That’s more like it, even though they weren’t at their very best yesterday Inter showed a lot more quality than the have for the last two games with a couple of players really standing out, the first was Zanetti who was playing on the right of the 3 man midfield, his speed, passes & runs were outstanding and watching him last night you would never guess he was 37. The other was Yuto Nagatomo who for me was the man of the match was just everywhere defending, poaching balls and making blistering runs up the left wing and also getting a few shots off on goal, I’ve said it before but this guy has got a really bright future and he reminds me alot of the legendary Roberto Carlos which is exactly the type of player Inter needs. As rumours have suggested this week I think Moratti has got some big changes in mind for next season as all the way through the match he looked less than impressed! But tonight’s result went the right way and that’s all that matters for now.

Match Report

Inter beat Chievo 2-0 in the early kick-off of Serie A 2010/11 Week 32 this evening. The first half ended 0-0, despite Giampaolo Pazzini and Samuel Eto’o both going close. The Nerazzurri took the lead in the 65th minute thanks to Cambiasso, whose goalbound effort took a double deflection off Andreolli and Sorrentino before hitting the back of the net. Maicon made the points safe with 6 minutes of normal time remaining, when he neatly slotted home after picking up a rebound in the box. Inter thus go up to 63 points to put pressure on the leaders, awaiting the results of tomorrow’s games.

FIRST HALF –
Leonardo made a few changes to the team that started against Schalke: Lucio returned from suspension to partner Ranocchia at centre-half while Nagatomo started at left-back. The coach fielded a three-man midfield of Zanetti, Cambiasso and Stankovic, with Kharja getting the nod over Sneijder to play in the hole behind Pazzini and Eto’o.


Chievo made a lively start to the game and Inter had to wait until the 7th minute for their first shot on goal: Zanetti set up Eto’o, whose effort was blocked easily by Sorrentino. Shortly afterwards, Stankovic tried to play a long ball for Pazzini but the ball bounced away from the striker and ended up in Sorrentino’s arms. With just over a quarter of an hour played, Inter had two great chances to take the lead in quick succession: first Nagatomo, after being set away down the left flank by Pazzini, reached the by-line and pulled back for Eto’o, who failed to connect when he only needed the slightest of touches to turn it in. A minute later, Pazzini clipped his shot inches wide of the far post after being played in beautifully by Maicon. Chievo went close in the 28th minute when Bogliacino shot from the edge of the box, but Julio Cesar showed safe hands. Then on 34 minutes a dangerous cross-shot from Sardo looked as if it might trouble the Inter keeper, but the Brazilian managed to collect. Two minutes later Eto’o hit a ball into the centre looking for Pazzini, who couldn’t quite reach it. Another decent chance came Inter’s way with 38 minutes on the clock, and this time it was Eto’o’s turn to hit an effort just wide of the post. Chievo hit back on 41 minutes when Sardo picked out Pellissier’s head with a cross, but the striker’s effort went over.


And with half-time approaching, the Meazza crowd thought the Nerazzurri had taken the lead when Maicon’s rocket hit the side-netting and created the illusion of a goal, after Ranocchia and Pazzini had both seen shots blocked. So the deadlock remained and the teams headed in for the break after two minutes of stoppage time were played.

SECOND HALF –
Leonardo looked to shake things up at half-time and brought on Sneijder in place of Stankovic. Yokic’s 51st-minute cross was inviting for Pellissier, but he again failed to keep his header down. Three minutes later Pellissier had another chance, this time with his feet, Julio Cesar saving comfortably. In the 58th minute Sneijder picked out Nagatomo and the Japanese full-back tried to set up Pazzini, but Mandelli was covering. On the hour mark the Nerazzurri keeper had to be alert to clear with his fists as Mandelli tried to nod home a dangerous high ball yards from goal. And Maicon made an important interception on Constant shortly afterwards, as Chievo continued to threaten.


That, however, was the cue for Inter to score: Sneijder took a freekick out wide in the 65th minute, Lucio collected on the far side and laid back for Maicon to cross to the Argentinian, who was free in a crowded box. His shot took two deflections, off Andreolli and then Sorrentino, before nestling into the back of the net. Inter were 1-0 up. Pellissier had a fantastic opportunity to level the score in the 78th minute, following Yokic’s low cross, but he contrived to shoot skywards when the goal was much closer. A few minutes later Thiago Motta’s backheel allowed Milito to get a shot in, though he wasn’t able to trouble Sorrentino with it. The Chievo shotstopper then made another save, from Sneijder, while down the other end Uribe went close for the visitors, who hadn’t given up hope of snatching a point. Fortunately though, Inter were soon two goals to the good:


Maicon played a ball to Sneijder, whose shot from the edge of the box was half charged down and went to Milito, before finding its way back to Maicon in the middle of the area; the Brazilian kept his cool to turn and slot into the corner and give the Nerazzurri some breathing space. Milito could have made it three, first when he tried to curl an effort into the top corner (on 89 minutes), then when Yokic unintentionally set him up, but the Prince couldn’t get his header on target. In stoppage time Nagatomo had another chance, as he stormed into the box and shot left-footed, but he was denied by Sorrentino. After 5 minutes of added time, the match between Inter and Chievo finished 2-0.

Inter 2-0 Chievo (HT: 0-0)
Scorers: Cambiasso 65, Maicon 84.
Referee: Antonio Giannoccaro (Lecce).

Booked: Sardo 20.
Added time: 2 + 5 minutes.
Attendance: 61,456.

Lineups
Inter:


1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic (Sneijder 46); 14 Kharja; 7 Pazzini (Milito 61), 9 Eto’o (Motta 76).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 23 Materazzi, 27 Pandev.
Coach: Leonardo.

Chievo:
28 Sorrentino; 20 Sardo, 5 Mandelli, 3 Andreolli,17 Yokic; 6 Fernandes, 16 Rigoni, 23 Costant (Marcolini 68); 26 Bogliacino (Uribe 76); 80 Moscardelli (Thereau 55), 31 Pellissier.
Unused subs: 18 Squizzi, 4 Mantovani, 12 Cesar, 84 Pulzetti.
Coach: Stefano Pioli.

Reactions

Leonardo


“We had our objectives before the two defeats and we still have them now; and more so after today’s game, which was difficult for many reasons – starting with how well Chievo played.” That was how Leonardo began as he commented on the win over Chievo.

The coach was asked if he had been afraid Inter wouldn’t win. He replied: “I always try to keep those thoughts as far away as possible. We have won lots of games at the end and we have made plenty of comebacks; we knew we had to keep plugging away until the end, patiently and intelligently, without losing our shape, and that’s what we did. The lads showed courage. The president and the club have handled a difficult situation very serenely. My affinity with the players? I think they just need to remain calm. Even if they don’t run over to hug me, I know what relationship we have. They don’t have to demonstrate anything publicly. Their prime concern is to be at ease, to come into the training ground feeling happy; not just to clock in and out. Our objectives are clear and they have never changed, and that goes for Europe too.

“What was I talking to Eto’o about on the touchline? About the best position to for him to break through their defence. Today our full-backs enabled us to make full use of the flanks and that benefited everyone. Is that a good sign going into the Champions League match? You must always concentrate on one game at a time, and until the final whistle went against Chievo we were thinking of nothing but this game, which we had to win. Now we can turn our attentions to the Champions League, with the same focus as we had today. Is it possible to come back? Inside I believe that anything is possible. I believe it and the players believe it too. Eto’o perhaps believes it more than anyone: he has plenty of comeback tales and he has played a part in lots of them. He told us all about them and they were great to hear,” concluded the coach, just as the Cameroonian appeared on camera.

Samuel Eto’o


With Leonardo listening in through an earpiece, Samuel Eto’o smiled as he spoke to Sky Sport Italia about great comebacks. He explained that “when I played for Barcelona and we lost 5-1 to Getafe, we turned it around with a 4-0 victory and went through…”

Then he returned to Inter: “It might seem difficult to believe at the moment,” said Eto’o, assessing the Nerazzurri’s chances of beating Schalke 04 over two legs, “but anything is possible in football. You can always dream. Inter have a team capable of going there and getting the result needed to reach the semis. The same goes for the league: there are still two months left to play.”

Esteban Cambiasso


“In December this situation was really unthinkable, so we can’t lose our heads over two defeats.” Relating to Sky Sport Italia what Inter’s situation was last December, Esteban Cambiasso described the situation now after the victory against Chievo and before the upcoming challenge in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday, with a comeback still to be engineered, and one in which all of the fans must still believe. Cambiasso explains why: “Because 45 years had passed without winning the Champions League, and this team did it.”

‘El Cuchu’ then continued to the microphones of Inter Channel: “Today we really needed some calm, after the two defeats and most of all for what had been created more outside than inside the club. Our fans have always believed in our possibilities. We did very well to move forward.”

Giampaolo Pazzini


“It was a tough game. We found it difficult because Chievo defended well and they were very well organised, but we got the win. It was a very important one too because the three points will boost morale and help us move forward.” Speaking to Inter Channel, Giampaolo Pazzini commented on Inter’s win this evening that keeps them in the running for the title.

“It wasn’t easy to get going again after two defeats,” the Nerazzurri striker continued. “There was a lot of pressure and we had to win because we still believe we can achieve the goals we set ourselves. We struggled a bit with the heat and with breaking down Chievo, but today the performance wasn’t so important; what was important was the three points.”

Giampaolo had an early chance but wasn’t able to stick it away: “I’m annoyed I didn’t score that one because normally I would have done better, but that’s ok. Esteban and Maicon settled it for us so that’s ok.”

On Nagatomo: “We’re happy for him. Today he showed what he’s capable of; let’s hope he keeps it up.”

Finally, the Champions League. Pazzini won’t be involved against Schalke 04 on Wednesday evening: “It’s really hard not being able to contribute myself but I have faith in my team-mates and in what they can do.”

Yuto Nagatomo


“I wanted to do my bit and help the team win and that’s the spirit I went onto the pitch with. I succeeded and so I’m happy.” Yuto Nagatomo was speaking at the end of the Chievo match, in which he was one of the best players. “There are lots of very good players at Inter,” Nagatomo went on, “and I know that I can’t start every game, but I have to make sure I am always ready. Winning our Champions League tie? I think the result can be overturned and if we didn’t believe it there would be no point in even playing the game; but we do believe we can do it. Absolutely.”

Finally, a comment on the support received for Japan: “In Italy all the fans and players have offered their support for the Japanese people and I want to thank them for that.”

Conclusion
It’s good to see Inter back winning after a very bad week though the performance was no where near their best but Nagatomo has proved what an asset he could be for Inter, I think he should definitely be Inters first signing of the summer. Now on to the return leg against Shalke in which we need at least 4 goals, can we do it? Who knows but one things certain the Nerazzurri won’t give up without a fight and with Inter anything is possible!

Eto’o Foundation evening & Lucio denies wanting to return to Bayern

From Didier Drogba to Valeria Marini, Jarno Trulli to Isabella Aragonese, Massimo Moratti to Adriano Galliani – who only met long enough to shake each other’s hands. In total, around 350 footballers and other celebrities from sport and show business attended the charity evening organised by Samuel Eto’o’s foundation to raise funds for a paediatric wing at Laquinitie Hospital in Cameroon.

First the gala dinner, then Andrea Bocelli’s performance on stage, and afterwards a series of auctions, hosted by Paolo Bonolis, of collectors’ items: from Usain Bolt’s shoes to the shirt worn by Eto’o in last season’s Champions League final and the one worn by Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup, to the ball signed by all the Inter players, who were in attendance at the event held in Milan this evening.
“My foundation is my life,” explained Eto’o. “My continent, Africa, is different. It hasn’t had the same fortune as others. Unlike other kids I’ve been fortunate enough to become a footballer. Football has given me everything and I feel I have to do something to help others.”

After two years in Italy, the Cameroonian has realised it is the gateway to Europe from Africa. “I understand how desperate these people who emigrate are, and I must say thank you to Italy because it has held out its hands to help,” he continued. “And I know it is difficult, with the current economic crisis, to accept others who are seeking a better future.

Also after various rumours since Inter’s victory at Bayern, Lucio confirms his loyalty to the Nerazzurri
“I never said I wanted to return to Bayern Munich, only that in football anything is possible and that if, at some point in the future, Inter no longer required my services, and Bayern did, I would consider going back to Germany.” At the gala evening organised for Samuel Eto’o’s charity, Lucio clarified what he was reported by Sport Bild as having said about his future: “Now I’m part of this team, my family and I are happy here in Milan; there’s no reason to look elsewhere. If it were up to me, I’d stay here. All I’m saying is that the choice may not depend only on me, as it wasn’t my choice to leave Bayern. My heart is here, with Inter, but obviously whether I stay or not doesn’t depend solely on me.”

Then, looking ahead to tomorrow’s Champions League draw in Nyon, Lucio declared that “We are the best team but we still have to keep working, as we did against Bayern Munich, fighting and believing in ourselves. After the draw we’ll start getting ready to face our opponents, but we can’t say it would be better or worse to end up with Real Madrid, Barcelona or any other side.”

Bayern Munich 2-3 Inter, 3-3 Agg. The comeback kings do it again to secure quarter final place


Inter are through to the Champions league quarter finals on away goals after a 3-3 Agg win against Bayern Munich. All I can say about this match that ended 2-3 on the night, is what a game!!! Eto’o opened the scoring for Inter but by half time we were 2-1 down and it was looking like our title defense was in tatters, but Inter being Inter they picked themselves up and came out fighting, Sneijder scoring a low long range effort the Pandev secured the win with a late goal assisted by Eto’o. Inter thus qualify for the quarter-finals after completing a European comeback for the first time since 1993 – an impossible comeback, they said. But with Inter anything is possible.With this win we are one step closer to repeating the back to back European titles of the 60’s and maybe even an unprecidented back to back treble!

Match Report
The Allianz Arena was the scene for a great show tonight: a full house that included 3,000 Nerazzurri fans packed in after making the trip to get behind the team and help overturn the 0-1 deficit from the first leg.

FIRST HALF –

Leonardo was forced to rethink his starting line-up after Zanetti was ruled out with flu, meaning that Cambiasso and Thiago Motta both started in midfield alongside Stankovic, who was named captain for the evening. Lucio recovered in time to take his place at the heart of the defence but Milito wasn’t even among the substitutes.

Both sides took to the field with a black armband as a sign of respect towards the earthquake victims in Japan, and a huge banner was displayed (“We’re with you Japan”) during the minute’s silence at the beginning of the game.

The Bavarians looked dangerous from the off, with Robben’s freekick met by Gomez in front of goal but saved by Julio Cesar after just a minute. But almost immediately Inter took the lead through super Eto’o: Stankovic fed Pandev, who played a delightful through-ball behind the defence for Eto’o (just onside) to latch onto and turn his shot between Kraft’s legs. Eto’o made it one-nil to Inter with his 8th goal in the Champions League and 32nd overall this season; like last Friday, he dedicated it to Nagatomo.

Bayern’s response came in the form of a Ribery cross finding Gomez yards from goal on 10 minutes, but Ranocchia slid in to make the crucial block just as Gomez pulled the trigger. Inter were still blazing and launching attacks through Eto’o and Sneijder, as in the first leg, a mistake by Julio Cesar brought the Nerazzurri crashing back down to earth: Robben’s long-range blast was fumbled by the Inter keeper and up popped Mario Gomez – again! – to score by lobbing Julio Cesar with his back to goal and make it 1-1. The goal sparked Van Gaal’s side into life and just ten minutes later they had turned the score around: Robben played in a pass looking for Gomez, Thiago Motta got a touch on the ball on the edge of the box but it slipped away from him allowing Muller to run onto it and deftly chip over Julio Cesar: 2-1. In the 35th minute, Julio Cesar came to Inter’s rescue with a superb save from Ribery, pushing the ball just over the bar. On 39 minutes, following Thiago Motta’s freekick, Stankovic was presented with a great chance to equalise but he delayed a fraction too long and Kraft was onto it. A minute later and a quite miraculous goal-line clearance by Ranocchia kept Inter in the game: Ribery’s ball into the box was for Gomez, who slid in and beat Julio Cesar, but the ball bounced along the line for what seemed like an eternity before Ranocchia hacked clear – via Muller’s foot and then the post – into Julio Cesar’s hands. To an almighty sigh of relief from all Inter fans. They were holding their breaths again minutes later when Lucio got himself into a fix trying to clear under pressure from two opponents but the danger was eventually cleared and after one minute of stoppage time the two sides went in for the break.

At this point i really thought our European dreams for this season we’re over, but i should have known Inter wouldn’t go down without a fight.
SECOND HALF –
The second half got underway with the same 22 players on the pitch and with Bayern taking the initiative, first through Gomez, who had his shot blocked by Julio Cesar in the 47th minute, then with Schweinsteiger taking a weak shot from distance a minute later. In the 51st minute Leonardo made his first change when he removed Stankovic, who was carrying a slight injury, and replaced him with Coutinho. A chance fell to Inter just before the hour mark: a low freekick from Sneijder, followed by a cross from Ranocchia for Lucio, which saw Kraft come off his line just in time for the crucial interception. After 61 minutes Eto’o unintentionally served up a dangerous ball for Pandev, whose shot was parried, however.

Then, with more decisiveness, the “Lion King” fed Sneijder, whose magnificent right-footed shot beat Kraft to bring the score to 2-2. Hopes were further reignited when Pandev nearly put Inter ahead in the 67th minute as he chest-trapped Sneijder’s long pass, but the ensuing shot on the turn sailed just over the crossbar. Sneijder came close on 80 minutes after a pass from Eto’o, but his powerful right-footer from outside the box was saved.

Hope never died and in the 88th minute Pandev sent the Nerazzurri fans around the world into rapture by connecting with a pass from Eto’o and blasting the ball into the top corner with a left-footed strike. The Macedonian triggered a Nerazzurri explosion of joy inside the Allianz Arena with his goal that sent Inter to the quarter-finals and closed the game with a 2-3 score line. Only once in the history of the Champions League had a team overcome a first-leg loss at home.

And today Inter made history.
Bayern Munich 2-3 Inter
Scorers: 3 Eto’o, 21 Gomez, 31 Muller, 63 Sneijder, 88 Pandev
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal).
Booked: 38 Gustavo, 57 Breno, 59 Lucio, 88 Pandev, 90+1 Kharja, 90+4 Thiago Motta.
Added time: 1 + 4 mins
Line ups
Bayern Munich: 35 Kraft; 2 Breno (39 Kroos, 90), 30 Gustavo, 5 Van Buyten (28 Badstuber, 70), 21 Lahm; 31 Schweinsteiger, 23 Pranjic; 7 Ribery, 25 Muller,10 Robben (8 Altintop, 68); 33 Gomez.
Unused subs: 1 Butt, 16 Ottl, 18 Klose, 44 Tymoshchuk.
Coach: Louis Van Gaal

Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu (55 Nagatomo, 87); 5 Stankovic (29 Coutinho, 51), 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso; 10 Sneijder; 27 Pandev (14 Kharja, 90), 9 Eto’o.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 17 Mariga, 23 Materazzi.
Coach: Leonardo
Post Match Reactions
Leonardo

“Explaining this match tonight is going to be very difficult,” continued the Nerazzurri coach. “We won and it was a victory with all of our hearts. A very well-organized match: we found the back of the net after three minutes, but various incidents led to a lot of problems in which everything went Bayern’s way. We lost our equilibrium, we tried to take control of the game again, then we let in another goal. We settled down and then, as I said, it was all heart. And Pandev, what can I say? I’m thrilled for him because he’s been going through a difficult period.”
Pandev may have been going through a difficult period of bad form but he’ definitely the hero of the day for Inter and he pulled a goal out of the hat just when it was needed.
A moment of indecision on the part of Julio Cesar led to Bayern’s equaliser and opened the door for Inter’s problems, but Leonardo can joke about it now: “It was all planned out. We calculated that the mistake would give us the boost we needed… [smiling]. And to see Julio crying at the end of the match was touching, tears of spontaneous joy. A win like this can’t be explained, it can only be experienced.”
The Nerazzurri coach continued, “This team was always in the game. We had a few problems but we were always in it. Otherwise none of the things that have happened this season would have been possible. This is a historic victory, but similar things have happened in our league season, too. There may be better or worse moments, but what happened today symbolises what Inter are capable of.”
A match to be experienced, not explained. Leonardo reflected: “Perhaps someone will accuse me of talking too much about emotions, but for us that’s what football is: something to be experienced. I think this team has many certainties. They won exactly as they had been set up to do tonight, and having to face a side that plays so well in attack such as Bayern, we had to show courage. We managed things very well in the second half. We could have lost our heads, but instead we always stayed in the game.”
Emotion is exactly what Inter is built on everything we have acheived in the last 6 years have been made all the better for the emotion of getting back where we belong after so many years of pain, and it’s great to see this Inter squad that doesn’t give up when behind and has faith that they can acheive anything, these are two qualities that were missing from Inter for so long.
And as for the question posed to him regarding whether he’s happy to be a coach even after such an agonising victory, Leonardo replied with a smile: “I’m still alive, I have no other plans. Not even for the derby, there’s still a lot of time.”
Massimo Moratti

“It was a strange game. It had moments that were completely different from one to the next, first manageable, then dangerous. In the second half we controlled the game well once again and then, when the team felt sure of themselves again, they sealed the win. Julio Cesar? When a goalkeeper makes an error like that it’s an accident. You can’t ever judge him because he then goes on to make incredible saves, just as he did tonight. Pandev wasn’t in the game tonight, but the god of football is strange… Good for him, though, because otherwise it would have been a disaster [smiling]. The team has personality, character and is very united; even when things go wrong this team knows how to turn it around. In the quarters we’ll get Barcelona – again [smiling]. Does Leonardo deserve a ten for this game? I think so, also because during the game it was truly tough from a psychological standpoint and he was fantastic.”

Our thanks go, again, to Moratti for replacing that waste of space Spaniard with Leonardo at just the right time, as i think we all know that if Benitez was still in charge we’d be out of the running in all competitions by now. And last night’s game just proves that Leonardo is the rightful heir to Mourinho’s Inter throne!

Cambiasso

And speaking of heir’s Cambiasso also proved he is more than capable of filling Zanetti’s shoes and leading the Nerazzurri to a glorious victory
“We feel a great sense of satisfaction. We formulated our game knowing that we would be able to pull it off. At the beginning it seemed to be going well, then there was a bit of a wobble but we really put our hearts into it and we did it. Julio Cesar wasn’t pleased at half-time because he thought he had ruined our evening, but then he gave us the charge to go out there and win. We believed until the end and we did it. I’m happy for Pandev. For him and for all of us, it’s a great satisfaction. Now we’re moving ahead, we have a great squad and we’ll also have Milito back: this team has a lot of heart and can do great things.”

Julio Cesar

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Julio Cesar analysed the game and his mistake on Bayern’s first goal: “That was a terrible moment. When I let that in I just wanted to disappear immediately, go back to Milan – on foot, on horseback, whatever – but then I pulled myself together. The goal was like a cold shower, but thanks to my team-mates we got back into it. I really must congratulate them. Still, you learn from your mistakes. I messed up tonight, more than in the first leg for sure, but fortunately we’re here now talking about our victory. Afterwards I rolled my sleeves up and got on with it. Which save was the most difficult? Maybe the one from Ribery. What did I do when Pandev scored? I started to cry, I thanked God and my team-mates. I would have been in a really bad way if we’d lost, but these are things that help you become more mature. Let’s hope that’s the end of the mistakes now.”

I wish Cesar wouldn’t be so harsh on himself, so he made a mistake it’s up to the entire team to stop the chances coming not just him, it can’t be good for his mental state to always be so self critical, he seems to forget about all the wonderful saves he does do and he needs to remember no keeper in the world can stop every shot that comes their way no matter how good they are.

Thiago Motta

“We knew that it would be a tough match, but we believed it was possible and we did it. We believe in our game because we have strength and determination inside us. The teams in the quarter-finals? All of the teams that make it there are strong. Now we’re thinking of the Serie A. And I’ll say one thing: Italians should be happy tonight, because an Italian team in the quarter-finals is important for Italian football as a whole.”

Cristian Chivu

Tonight’s game against Bayern Munich also included a protagonist’s role for Cristian Chivu, who gave his comments to Inter Channel on the victory that won the team a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League: “It was a good game, we suffered a bit, but we played as Inter should. We were aware of what we were going to face and how we could do it. We did it in the best possible way and now we can be happy and celebrate because this was the only thing we wanted.”

Andrea Ranocchia

“It turned out all right in the end and I’m happy I was able to save that goal. I felt some incredible emotions out there tonight: to come here and turn the tie around, especially after going behind on the night as well, wasn’t easy. But we put a lot of heart into it and managed to pull it off. If we keep working like this, we have a great chance of doing well, in every competition.”

Goran Pandev

And last but not least the hero of the hour-

“Eto’o gave me a great ball, I only had to stick it in. I couldn’t not score. Thanks to everyone, the club and my team-mates, who have been there for me through a very tough time. I’m not someone who scores 20-30 goals a season, but someone who works hard for the team, and when a goal arrives it’s very important. Everyone told me that I would score and that we would win the game: I really have to thank my team-mates, who then celebrated with me and made fun of me. This goal truly arrived at an important time for us, and I’m happy. Now I’ll continue to work. I feel better than before, definitely.”
I truly feel this goal for Pandev not only got us through to the quarter finals but also will give Goran the confidence to get back into the goal scoring form that he’s been lacking all season
Inter have now got a day off before training begins for this weekend’s game against Lecce and the Champions League quarter final draw is this Friday so we won’t have long to wait to see who we’re up against next, no matter who we’re drawn against you can guarantee it’s going to be a tough match and Inter need to keep the faith that they can again reign supreme as the Kings of European and World football.

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