Boulevard Of Broken Dreams for Inter
Bruno Cardile looks at Massimo Moratti’s decade in charge of Internazionale and suggests that the while it has largely been spent in the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, the Nerazzurri could soon be checking out of Heartbreak Hotel and onto Cloud Nine. Then again this is Inter we’re talking about, so maybe not - yet…
A little while ago, an article was written about Massimo Moratti’s 10th anniversary as the Inter Don. The article was a brief one, as it highlighted the high, ambitious expectations of the Inter tifosi. His father, Angelo, was the President of Inter in the ’60s and in that period the team won 3 Scudetti, 2 consecutive Champions League titles along with 2 Intercontinental Cups. Many thought that the ‘like father, like son’ syndrome would apply again. Moreover, Massimo had cash and was willing to spend. In the ten years that have passed since he became president, there has been a love-hate relationship between the Inter tifosi and Moratti. They love him for he is very generous to the club, but on the other hand, there are angry at the lack of success. There has been nothing to brag about save only a UEFA Cup won in 1998.
There have been so many articles written about Inter Milan and their so-called Scudetto syndrome drummed up by the media, that an epic novel or a movie could be produced. There are many explanations: Moratti has no direction and just spends; he has bad advisors and they do not know how to play the transfer market like Milan or Juventus; they buy a new team every year and do not build on last year’s progress; it does not foster team unity or youth development; there is a sense of urgency in the locker room.
The list goes on and on. One thing is for sure: there has been no success. They have come close on three occasions: 1997/98, 2001/02, and in 2002/03. The curse of Inter is not an isolated phenomenon. Other teams have suffered a similar fat, like Liverpool in England, the Italian National Team and the Dutch National Team. They have the talent but cannot seem to win the prize. Many reasons have been given but there is no definite conclusion to the debate.
So why is Inter Milan always the bridesmaid? I have no definitive answer and I do not think anyone has. You can quantitively measure success by numbers and statistics, but it does not answer qualitative factors like the human aspect (players play the game), or the psychological one. One needs a theory and a hypothesis. Then you must test this out by interviewing every person who has been a part of the Inter organization since 1989. Then you must interview soccer journalists and critics to get their say. In the end, you will get a plethora of reasons, but no definite answer. Even Moratti does not understand the problem. As he stated: “We always lack something.”
On Sunday the 27/02/05, the derby of Inter vs. Milan was played. Inter played a better game, but lost 1-0 to a goal by Kaka. There was to be no salvation. A tie was not in the works; hence, soccer can be a cruel sport, especially when one team plays the better football, but fortune does not reside in their ranks. A tie would have been just. In the end, it was not to be. So now the Inter tifosi must walk the avenue of dejection once again and see their arch enemies (Juventus and Milan) relishing the spoils of victory yet again. The fans at least can play the recent Green Day song: the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, to console their pain.
But is it fair to say that Inter are once again down and out? They are still in the Champions League, in the Coppa Italia competition and they are playing entertaining soccer (it is just the defense that has not gelled together this year). Inter do have the chance to win something this year and with the quality players they have at their disposal especially in offense and in midfield they could win the Champions League. This may sound naïve, but I do think that they can go all the way and why not? If any pundit in the pre-season had said that Monaco and Porto would be playing in the CL final last year, they would probably have been asked: “What have you been smoking?” And Greece won Euro 2004. In a knockout competition, anything is possible. Since Inter are officially out of the Scudetto race, they can focus on the CL and try to win the ultimate prize in football and - most of all - attain bragging rights over Juventus, who are themselves bridesmaids in this competition. Could you imagine the nightmares Moggi would have? After all, he brought Capello to Turin to win not only the Scudetto, but also the CL trophy. Capello wants to taste European success and so does the Juventus organization. For Inter to have 3 and Juve two CL’s would be sweet revenge and cement Mancini’s reputation as a top coach. So walking the avenue of dejection could be premature.
All in all, it has not been a horrid season as I have seen tremendous character from this squad. It takes guts and heart to come from 2-0 down and win 3-2, or to tie and salvage a point from the brink of defeat. It could have been worse. Inter could have been fighting for relegation like Fiorentina and Parma are now. Furthermore, Inter have always been contenders over the last 10 years (excluding one year) and have solid financial backing. Where are Roma, Lazio or Parma? Lazio and Roma only won one Scudetto between them in this period, and after heavy spending along together with other factors, now find themselves awash in debt and having to sell their stars. Not exactly a legacy. With Inter at least you know they will be back.
Inter this year will have to hold off the Scudetto celebration. However, it just could be a good year after all. Perhaps the next 10 years will be ones of success and a couple of Scudetti and the Champions League. That will end the polemics and articles of praise will be written. But if not, there is always next year.
Here's a similar topic, I think.