Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 defeat of Inter Milan last night drew two conclusions. First of all, it showed how much of a formidable force Spurs have become and with the type of form Gareth Bale is in they fear no one. However, it also showed just how far Inter have fallen from grace in recent times.
Look back to October 2010, when Gareth Bale burst onto the European scene with a breathtaking hat-trick against Inter at the San Siro. That night Spurs lost 4-3 to a team who were the current European Champions and boasted talent such as Samuel Eto’o, Wesley Sneijder, Lucio, and Maicon. Last night’s team consisted of Samir Handazadic, Juan Jesus, Ricardo Alvarez and Mateo Kovacic - who are all good players but they are not the household names you would come to expect at a massive club like Inter.
The Nerazzurri are the most successful Italian club of the noughties – winning five Scudetto’s in a row between 2006 to 2010, and superstars have come and gone with Luis Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Figo and Patrick Vieira to name a few. Under Jose Mourinho in 2010, the club became to first side to complete the Italian treble. Also credited with this success was club President Massimo Moratti, who pumped billions into the club over an 18 year period.
However, after reportedly losing over €800 million of his own money, Moratti realised he needed to cut costs and start a new sustainable project. This led to a huge overhaul of players, with the highest earners told to either take a pay cut or leave. Julio Cesar and Wesley Sneijder were two of the biggest casualties as they were unable to agree terms of a pay cut.
With the quality that departed, the players they bought have failed to impress and since Mourinho's departure to Real Madrid in 2010, they have been a shadow of their former self. The sacking of four managers in less than three years have seen the club trophy-less since winning a solitary Coppa Italia in 2011.
Currently sitting outside of the qualification places for the Champions League, another season in the Europa League is a realistic possibility. This would be seen as a disaster due to the loss of badly needed Champions League revenue money.
It’s hard to see how the club can build on this, as their most recognised players include Javier Zanetti - who turns 40 this year, Dejan Stankovic and Walter Samuel both turning 35, Antonio Cassano who had a bust up with current manager Andrea Stramaccioni last week and Diego Milito who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Moratti has confirmed that there are plans to build a new stadium of their own, meaning they will have to focus any income toward this, so it’s hard to see where Inter can get cash to improve on their current squad.
With both Juventus and arch rivals AC Milan both showing drastic signs of improvement over the last two seasons, it'll be interesting to see if Inter can dig themselves out of their current predicament.
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