Before anyone thinks I'm mad, understand that I'm trying to be as non-Inter, to be as neutral as possible when I'm writing this piece.
I have been very curious in the past couple of years when it comes to Inter's reputation in the world of football. We had dominated the Serie A so much but it seems that we never do get that recognition from those outside of Italy. It's true that Italian clubs' performance in Europe was on a decline but Italy IS the World Champion and Milan DID win the UCL back in 06/07.
Then last night, we finally conquered Europe. We got the trophy that has been eluding us for 45 years. We won the trophy that is considered as the grandest price in club football. But for some reason, I feel that those media and fans out there regard our achievement like a 'flash in the pan,' like when Porto won the Champions League in 03/04 for example. Instead of crowning us as Europe's best club, like how Barcelona were hailed as one of the best team ever after winning the CL last year, it seems to me that they are trying their best to rain on our parade.
For example, the focus of the media has been on our departing coach, Mourinho, instead of the team and its players. Yes Mourinho is the biggest name in football right now but the amount of attention we get is just disgustingly low. Another example, I just watched the SKY Sports UK post-match review of the match and instead of hailing Milito’s remarkable performance, they chose to put down his goals by saying that he got it the easy way because Demichelis & Van Buyten was extremely bad.
If you ask me, even right now our name in the world of football is not as big as Manchester United. It’s not as big as big as Barcelona’s. It’s not as big as Real Madrid. And heck, it’s not very much bigger than Milan’s when actually our achievement over the past few years DWARFS Milan’s.
So why? Why is this the case with Inter? Why do the others get their praises but not us? I feel that there are several reasons and I’ll try to discuss them in this article. They’re done in no particular order by the way.
Firstly, it has to do with the 45 years we suffered without European glory. The drought of international accolades is not something that can be pacified in just one season, no matter how good it is. Inter’s name has fallen so far down the list for so many years and it will take a few years of good achievement in European stage for Inter to be regarded by them as the top name in Europe.
Secondly, it’s the lag of big names in our club. I was comparing Real Madrid’s achievement over the past 7 years, starting from season 03/04. I purposely picked this number because it coincides with the drought in title that they’re suffering in the next years. Since that season, Real Madrid had just won 2 La Liga titles when we won 5 Serie A titles plus a Champions League. But our name does not even come close to Real Madrid’s name. Why is that?
The answer I deduced from this is Florentino Perez’ Los Galacticos policy. Even though Real Madrid was suffering, they still managed to get the most attention from the football world. Who cares if David Beckham was struggling as a central midfielder with Real? Who cares if Michael Owen just warms the bench? All they here about is Real Madrid is the team with Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Beckham, Owen and it’s those names that the fans want to talk about, that the media want to report about.
Thirdly, it’s the identity that the club has chosen. The captain of this club is Javier Zanetti. The president of this club is Massimo Moratti. The current biggest star player of this club is Diego Milito. They are three of the most humble person I have ever seen and all of them just happen to be our bandiera. They shun the spotlight, are very modest in giving interviews and never create any sensation. Case in point, when Mourinho joined us, he was this arrogant bastard who demands everyone’s attention to him and look, our club’s stock rose too!
Fourthly, and it has to do with the third point, is the lack of shameless marketing from our club. For this point, I’m comparing our club with Milan. Even though Milan has finished in the top 2 of the Serie A just twice since winning the Champions League in 02/03, Galliani & Berlusconi still have the shameless guts to proclaim themselves as “The Most Success Club” in the world.
Do you remember in 08/09, somewhere in December, after Milan failed to win (Draw or lose, can’t be arsed to check), Galliani had the gull to say that “I’m still happy today, because this time last year, we were crowned World Champions.” What a fucking travesty right!? But that groundless arrogance, backed by big names like Beckham & Ronaldinho, has helped maintain Milan’s status among Europe’s big names. Obviously it won’t last forever and their façade have been exposed more and more lately.
Fifthly, the lack of home-grown talent in our squad. Now, I’m comparing our situation with Barcelona. Last season, looking at Barcelona’s squad, they didn’t have a ‘big’ name either. Messi is fantastic but he wasn’t being talked that much outside of Spain. Neither did Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Puyol or Victor Valdes. But one thing they have in common is, alongside Pep Guardiola they were raised from Barca’s own academy backyard. This fact received more attention from the press compared to the individual talent of the players itself.
Sixthly and finally, it has to do with Serie A’s ineptitude compared to its rivals. The lack of marketing that our domestic league does is just astonishing. Everyone can now watch the Premier League in HD and in some countries, the La Liga is being broadcast by SKY Sports UK in HD too. Their commentators are not those with dull, boring voices but those who can truly market their product well. The picture quality that Serie A is being broadcasted at, here in Indonesia and back when I was in the States, is just an abomination compared to the other leagues.
And I just wanna point out one thing that is really in my nerves. Serie A only introduced a Serie A trophy for the first time back in the 05/06 season. And Good God almighty, what a fucking disgrace that trophy is! It’s half-assed, very small and looked like dog poo. I mean, here Serie A have the advantage of outshining the design the EPL trophy that were designed way back before and what do they do? They create something that’s fucking worse than that! The idiocy is just astonishing.
In the end, there are a lot of things that we CAN do in order to increase Inter’s name, but the question is, do we WANT to do those things? Should we get Beckham just for the media coverage? Should Moratti start whoring Inter out the way Galliani did for Milan? Should sell Milito because he’s too timid? Obviously the answer is no.
There are some ‘righteous’ things that we can do that would ensure Inter name enters the top echelon of football. As much as we don’t want to commercialize the club, as much as we should give a fuck about what the others think about us, we DO need that attention from the worldwide media in order to secure the best players and the best coaches in the market. Let’s all hope that Inter will achieve all those.