Former Inter Milan chief Massimo Moratti has revealed that he made attempts to sign Manchester United legend Eric Cantona and former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini during his time in charge at the Serie A.
The mega-rich oil tycoon left Inter last year to make way for the reign of Erik Thohir, having served as president of the club for 18 years. During that time the Serie A giants saw their fortunes rise and fall, but Moratti’s latest comments appear to cement the idea that he only ever envisaged big things for the Nerazzurri.
Moratti's double fail
According to Goal the 69-year-old revealed that he tried and failed to land two of world football’s biggest stars upon joining Inter, and had dreams of a partnership between Cantona and Mancini. However, it was not to be.
"The first idea that I had after buying the club was taking both Cantona and Mancini," he said.
"Then Cantona ended that in my presence in London with that Kung Fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan and he decided to stay in Manchester.
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"Then Cantona ended that in my presence in London with that Kung Fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan and he decided to stay in Manchester"
"Mancini, meanwhile, was considered non-transferable by Sampdoria.
"I actually tried to sign him twice. At the end of October 1996, it was a done deal.
"But then Enrico Mantovani explained to me that there would have been an uprising among the Sampdoria fans, so I pulled out."
At the time in question Cantona was in his peak years, and routinely dismantled defences in England under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Frenchman was a controversial yet likeable character at Old Trafford, and the fact that he hung up his boots in 1997 makes him even more of an enigma in world football.
As for Mancini, he continued playing professionally until 2001 and has since gone on to become one of the game’s top managers. Currently operating in his second stint at Inter - coincidentally - he has a glittering resume as a coach which includes having won the Premier League title during his time in the Etihad Stadium dugout.
Yet the Italian is faced with arguably a harder task with regards to Inter this time around. The San Siro outfit have struggled greatly in recent years, and the memory of Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning campaign is rapidly ebbing its way out of the ‘modern day success’ category.
Troubles at Inter
Having relieved themselves of Walter Mazzarri Mancini was ushered in last month tasked with restoring glory, but the detail at hand may be even bigger than he himself anticipated.
Whilst the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira, Walter Samuel and Maicon were imported by the 50-year-old during his last stint in charge of Inter, he will be lucky to attract such high-profile names this time around, and idea of him being able to acquire a player who has the calibre Cantona had is practically laughable.