Watching tonight's Champions League final has made me cast my thoughts back to 2010, so I want to talk a bit about this today... Especially since tonight is the night a fourth person joins the club of elite managers to have won the Champions League with two different clubs - the most recent of which, of course, is one this article has focus on.
I think the 2010 Champions League final will go down in history as one of the most defining ones for this era of football.
The differences couldn't be greater between the two sides lining up on that night in Madrid - and the fortunes that have befallen both clubs since that night.
On the one hand, the ultimate victors, Inter, costs have spiralled out of control as those dreaded letters - FFP - loom over the horizon, reflecting on years of complete financial mismanagement resulting in losses of over 1.5 billion euros since incumbent chairman Massimo Moratti took over the club - including one year posting a record 260 million euro loss in 2006, which equated to costs of at least 200% of revenue.
Bayern, on the other hand, still reeling from an overhaul in German football since the 2002 Champions League final where Real Madrid beat Bayer Leverkusen, now drawing in the biggest - ahead even of United, Real Madrid, or Barca - commercial revenue globally, and expecting to have 100 million euros a year to spend on the transfer market by 2018.
It's a telling story when analyzed in depth - who would have expected that the losers would have gone on to be so successful in the wake of the final, with 2 more Champions League final appearances, and at the time of writing, seemingly another win, while Inter continue to spiral out of control in descent, with 6 new managers in the mean time - indeed having gotten through so many professional managers there was no option but to hire an amateur one last season - and perpetually worsening statistics, quality, players and excuses. Short-sighted decisions such as the sale of Eto'o - for financial reasons, and picked for sale ahead of Sneijder - only to not qualify for the Champions League (thus offsetting any savings from Eto'o), and to subsequently sell Sneijder plague Inter, while Bayern continue to build, and build well, for the future.
Of the teams starting that fateful night, only 4 Inter players remain, while 6 of the German's original line up play.
Changes have been quite large in both clubs - but Bayern have tactically signed for their weakest spots, and bringing in quality without any sacrifice on budget. Inter, on the other hand, have firmly employed a quantity over quality strategy, with moderate sums of money splashed out on a significant quantity of players.
Infact, one might be surprised to note that since the CL final, Bayern have spent 62+39+15m, or a net of 9.7+34.5+61.5m, for totals of 116m (105.2m) respectively, as opposed to Inter's 57.5(12)+34.5(-15)+41(-12) of 133m (-15m). Indeed, Inter have spent more money on players than Bayern since that day - albeit those purchases are significantly offset by signings, but considering the quality brought in by Bayern (Shaqiri, Mandzukic, Boateng for example) - one has to wonder who spent better.
This is further exasperated if you look at another startling coincidence between the two teams...
Santon vs Alaba.
Both were highly regarded left-backs at their clubs at the time of the Champions League final - but their careers, when considered in parallel - tell the true story of success between the two clubs. Alaba has strode from strength to strength, a permanent fixture in the Bayern side, while Santon has disappeared from the public radar. Initial enthusiasm for him at Inter quickly dropped off - with that infamous Milan night life - resulting in, ultimately, a loan to Cesena, before being sold to Newcastle. His stint at Newcastle - at first so successful - has disintegrated along with the team's form in the latter half of this season, resulting in completely disappearing from the Italy international radar for the upcoming Confederations Cup game
One hopes, perhaps, the all German Champions League final of tonight - with the entire Dortmund team costing less than Inter have spent paying compensation for managers since (and including) Mancini - will give the Serie A, Lega Pro, and more importantly, Massimo Moratti something to think about.
Football can be successful, by striving to involve the fans, by more active involvement of youth players, and by building for the long term. These are things that have never been considered important at Inter - with nothing but short term signings and excuses from the management - but one hopes that this can change.
Which brings me back to my original message.
The irony is not lost on me that it is in fact the losers of the 09/10 CL who have succeeded from that match, and the winners of the game who have gone on to be the losers.
Bayern were not in the same league as us on that fateful night in Madrid. Sadly, they are not in the same league as we are now. For very different reasons.
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made some edits, added in quite a bit more too
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forgot to mention:
One of the biggest differences between Inter and Bayern is infact the foundations - alot of the Bayern team remains from the previous CL - infact 6 of the 11 starters do. From Inter, Chivu and Samuel arent really regulars anymore, Cambiasso and Zanetti are well past their prime too.