13.09.2013 18:06 - in: Serie A S

      Inter in the spotlight

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      Juventus’ Derby d’Italia opponents are regarded as one of the Italian “big three”. Winners of 18 Scudetto titles and 3 European Cups, they have stalled since the departure of Jose Mourinho, but a new manager, exciting talent and a strong start to 2013/14 bodes well for this year


      Internazionale was founded when a group of Swiss who were unhappy with the predominance of Italians in Milan Cricket and Football Club decided to break away and form their own club with a greater acceptance of international players.

      After winning Scudetto titles in 1910 and 1920, Inter was forced into a merger during the Fascist era that saw it renamed Società Sportiva Ambrosiana. However, at the end of World War II, it re-emerged with the name FC Internazionale Milano and went on to seal back-to-back league championships in 1953 and 1954.

      The arrival of Helenio Herrera in 1960, along with the introduction of the defensive sweeper that was his invention, sparked a golden era in which the side now known as “Grande Inter” won consecutive European Cups in 1964 and 1965.

      Despite breaking world transfer records to sign Ronaldo and Christian Vieri, the 1990s were a difficult time, the only decade in the club’s history in which they didn’t win a single league title.  

      But Roberto Mancini oversaw a major revival of fortunes, guiding the Nerazzurri to Serie A glory on three consecutive occasions. It was a great achievement, yet he was still surpassed by the extraordinary success of his managerial replacement Jose Mourinho. As well as delivering a fourth successive Scudetto victory, in 2009/10 his Inter team became the first ever Italian side to win the treble.


      Inter share their 80,018 seater Stadio Giuseppe Meazza home, more commonly known as the San Siro, with AC Milan. The English style of the stadium - with football as its sole purpose and therefore no running track - has made for a memorable atmosphere.

      The ground was inaugurated in 19 September 1926 with a Milan derby goal-fest that Inter won 6-3. At that time, the stadium was owned by AC Milan, but Inter later became joint tenants in 1947.

      The San Siro has hosted three Champions League finals, the most recent being 2001,  and has also welcomed the Italian rugby team, whose match there against New Zealand in 2009 saw a record 80,000 fans turn out to watch them in action.

      Current team

      Inter certainly do not lack talent. Mateo Kovacic will surely be a big star of the future and has already lit up the San Siro since his arrival in January. With number 10 on his back, the 19-year-old Croatian is the playmaker who will provide the creative spark along with the Columbian international Fredy Guarin.

      Nor do they lack experience. Esteban Cambiasso is still going strong after 400 appearances for the Nerazzurri, but more remarkable is the fact that 40-year-old Javier Zanetti also continues to play an important part in the team’s fortunes. He captains the side having now put in a total of 18 years of service.

      The Nerazzurri’s main source of goals is Rodrigo Palacio, whose stunning debut season in the last campaign after joining from Genoa contributed 22 goals.

      Transfer activity

      Matias Silvestre, Antonio Cassano and nine-year Inter veteran Dejan Stankovic have departed, as have promising young Italians Giulio Donati and Luca Caldirola, a pair whom many fans were sad to see leave.

      There have, however, been a series of arrivals to offset the loss. Mauro Icardi is an important signing from Sampdoria, a striker who scored a brace against Juventus last season for the Blucerchiati, and will need close monitoring again on Saturday.

      A further option up front this season is the ex-Parma Algerian Ishak Belfodil, who has arrived at Inter along with compatriot Saphir Taider from Bologna.

      Rolando has joined on loan from Porto to strengthen the defence, the same motive which has also seen Wallace arrive on a temporary deal from Chelsea.

      Further recruits Ruben Botta, Hugo Campagnaro, Diego Laxalt and Marco Andreolli mean that new faces are not lacking in numbers, but whether they have sufficient quality to challenge for top honours remains to be seen.


      After what can be classed as a period of transition last year following the departure of Claudio Ranieri the season before, Inter president Massimo Moratti has brought in a manager with a proven track record to lift his side in the 2013/14 season: Walter Mazzarri.

      Andrea Stramaccioni, whose much-proclaimed promise after success as Inter Primavera coach failed to be realised when making the step-up to senior level, was replaced in May this year after a disappointing season in which the club’s ninth place finish meant that they failed to qualify for any European competitions and found themselves 15 points behind derby rivals AC Milan.

      The 51-year-old former midfielder Mazzarri arrives off the back of great success with Napoli during the four seasons he spent as Partenopei manager, and will be looking to lead Inter back to the upper echelons of Serie A that they have traditionally managed to reach.

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