Inter have succeeded in completing a historic treble and credit must be given to everyone at the club from president Massimo Moratti for his persistence in pursuing the dream of emulating his father by winning the Champions League to Jose Mourinho for his exemplary preparation ahead of keys matches and for his superior motivational skills. However, the Nerazzurri players deserve much of the credit for their solid performances with Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti, Lucio, Walter Samuel and Samuel Eto’o among others providing the driving force behind the successes this season. One player stands out above all the rest and it is not Wesley Sneijder who had a great season but Argentina striker Diego Milito who deserves much of the credit for his valuable contributions in the big games.
Mourinho deserves credit for guiding the squad, for making them believe and for his solid tactics, but none of this can be achieved without the proper players. The outspoken Portuguese craves the media and the fact he did not get along with the Italian press is one of the reasons behind his decision to leave the club which is not something that reflects positively on Mourinho. The former Chelsea manager expects the media to make a big deal out of his statements and create the attention he craves. In England, Mourinho was able to successfully manipulate the press to cater to him and give him the desired attention while in Italy he has failed to do so and was at odds with the Italian media early in the season.
Without taking away from Mourinho, the credit must also be shared with the squad with many of the starters providing solid contributions at different stages of the season such as full-back Maicon who broke down the resistance of Juventus with a great strike in a crucial win which helped the Nerazzurri to retain their Serie A title. Dutchman Sneijder has been very influential too but striker Milito has been phenomenal when it really matters considering the Argentina international has scored the winner against Roma in the Coppa Italia final then followed it with the winner against Siena in Serie A which secured the league title before his stunning brace against Bayern Munich helped Inter claim the Champions League trophy.
Mourinho prepared the Nerazzurri in the proper way and the squad provided a solid and professional display yet Milito was by far the star of the Champions League final. While Goran Pandev struggled to make much of an impact and flopped on every possible occasion, Eto’o sacrificed for the team and was running around the pitch like a man possessed, but above Milito was the difference maker. The former Genoa striker was a willing runner often taking on defenders and running from either flank but his well taken double against Bayern perhaps merits the highest of praise due to the level of skills involved in both goals. For the first one, Milito actually used his head to direct the ball to Sneijder before he ran to accept the Dutchman’s wonderful pass and finish it with style. Another striker might have rushed his shot and missed the goal or hit the goalkeeper but not Milito who faked an initial shot before finishing with style.
As for the second goal, words would not give it enough justice and cannot represent how great it was because Milito ran a reasonable distance before showing some great footwork and displaying great skill to perfectly place his shot to put the match beyond Bayern’s reach. Diego’s numbers with Inter have been quite good as he scored 30 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions divided into 22 strikes in 35 Serie A games, 6 goals in 11 Champions League matches and 2 strikes in 5 Coppa Italia appearances. Mourinho might be gone but the Nerazzurri have a winning foundation and this is evident by the Serie A titles won before the Portuguese arrived under Roberto Mancini who is a decent coach but not part of the elite coaching group. Mancini benefited from having a great squad as well as the demise of certain teams, in particular Juventus, due to Calciopoli which helped pave the way for Inter’s dominance.
All credit must go to the players as well as Mourinho for this great achievement and there is no doubt Inter are currently Europe’s best. The interesting question now is whether Mourinho will take with him to Real Madrid two key players in the shape of Maicon and Milito. If the Portuguese does indeed lure both players to Madrid then Inter might struggle next season. Regardless of who leaves, the current Nerazzurri squad is one of the best as a group and they could challenge again in Europe if the core players are kept and a decent coach is hired to guide the club.