05.01.2015 22:23 - in: Serie A S

      Inter in the spotlight

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      The Nerazzurri share the San Siro with inter-city rivals Milan, last won the Serie A title in 2010 and are managed by Roberto Mancini


      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 success.

      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.

      The club has been through somewhat of a barren phase since the Portuguese manager left his post following his triumphs at the helm. Six managers have come and gone to try and get Inter back to their heyday of the late 2000s but have so far been unable to do so.

      Last season’s fifth-place finish saw Inter earn themselves a spot in the 2014/15 Europa League play-off round but it meant they ended the campaign some 42 points behind Derby d’Italia rivals and champions Juventus.

      During their illustrious history, the Nerazzurri have claimed 18 Serie A titles, seven Coppa Italia triumphs, five Super Cups, three Champions League successes, three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup.


      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 latest coming back in 2001, and was recently designated the venue for next year’s showpiece event.   

      It 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

      Defender Andrea Ranocchia replaced stalwart and club legend Javier Zanetti as Nerazzurri captain after the Argentine called time on his career last summer. The 26-year-old Italian international is now in his fourth season with the Milan-based outfit and has gone on to make over a centenary of appearances. Blessed with expert aerial ability, he is a firm fans’ favourite at the San Siro.

      Named in the Oscar del Calcio Serie A team of the year in both 2010/11 and 2012/13, Slovenian shotstopper Samir Handanovic is a key member of this Inter side. Capped 74 times for his native country, the 30-year-old is renowned for keeping out penalties on a regular basis and as of November 2014 has saved each of the previous six faced.  

      Versatile Yuto Nagatomo joined Inter from Cesena back in January 2011 and now serves as vice captain for the Nerazzurri. Normally deployed at left-back, the 28-year-old is a speed merchant and frequently beats opponents with ease. Winner of the 2011 AFC Asia Cup under former Bianconeri boss Alberto Zaccheroni, the Japanese international also represented his country at both the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

      Exciting talent Mateo Kovacic will surely be a big star of the future and has already lit up the San Siro since arriving from Dinamo Zagreb back in January 2013. With number 10 on his back, the 20-year-old Croatian is the playmaker who provides creative spark and attacking prowess just behind the striker. The Juventus defenders will have to be wary of a tricky customer who could prove to be Inter’s key man come Tuesday evening.

      Twenty-nine-year-old Anderson Hernanes de Carvalho Viana Lima, commonly known as Hernanes, is a Brazilian international who is adept with either foot. Seen as somewhat of a set-piece specialist, the 5ft 11in midfielder also possesses spectacular long-range strikes in his locker. Hernanes can play in a variety of positions across the middle of the park which highlight his quality.

      Former Sampdoria striker Mauro Icardi is a classic striker who has a knack for goals. Frequently seen in the right place at the right time, the 21-year-old already has eight strikes to his name this season – one less than his tally for the whole of the 2013/14 campaign. The diminutive Argentinean has a very bright future ahead of him.

      Normally viewed as a main source of goals, Rodrigo Palacio has failed to recapture his stellar form from last season and has only found the net once in this year's Serie A so far. The 32-year-old started his career in Italy with Genoa back in 2009 before leaving for Inter three years later. Part of the Argentina squad who finished runners-up to Germany at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil, Palacio was a peripheral figure during the tournament.

      Transfer activity

      Thirty-one-year-old goalkeeper Tommaso Berni has joined on a free transfer from the Bianconeri’s arch-rivals Torino to provide backup for Handanovic and Juan Pablo Carrizo. The Florence-born shotstopper has seen his career come full circle having played for the Inter Primavera side from 1999 to 2001.

      Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic adds a wealth of experience to a Nerazzurri rearguard who conceded 39 goals last time out. A Premier League and Champions League winner with Manchester United in the late 2000s, the 33-year-old provides a victorious mentality for an Inter side who last tasted success in the 2011 Coppa Italia.

      Left-back Jose Rodolfo Pires Ribeiro (Dodo) has signed on a season-long loan from Roma. The 22-year-old was brought in to contest Nagatamo for the starting berth in defence and has already made 16 appearances thus far this campaign.

      Much-coveted midfielder Yann M’Vila is a strong, imposing figure in the middle of the park. Famed for his great positional sense and expert challenges, the 24-year-old ended his association with Russian outfit Rubin Kazan by transferring to Inter last July.

      Having caught the eye at last season’s World Cup for his versatility, Gary Medel swapped English Championship football for the dizzy heights of Italy’s premier division following the conclusion of the tournament in Brazil. The Chilean featured 34 times for Cardiff during a difficult season where they were relegated but was one of their star performers on a regular basis.

      Former Juventus forward Dani Osvaldo left Southampton for Inter in the summer on loan and already has five goals to his name in the league so far. He spent the second half of last season with the Bianconeri, notching three strikes in all competitions and in the process, won his first ever Serie A title.

      January recruit Lukas Podolski has arrived on a loan deal until the end of the season from Premier League outfit Arsenal. The 29-year-old possesses a lethal left foot and can either be deployed up top or on the wing. A World Cup winner with Germany, Podolski will hope to kick start his campaign after finding first-team chances hard to come by with the Gunners.  

      Following 19 years serving the Nerazzurri on the pitch, Zanetti hung up his boots before being appointed club vice-president. Elsewhere, Esteban Cambiasso – who made over 400 appearances for Inter – has joined English side Leicester City on a free transfer.

      Two other Argentinean stalwarts who featured heavily during the Milan-based outfit’s treble winning team back in 2010, Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, have departed for Basel and Racing Avellaneda respectively.


      Following what can only be described as a period of mediocrity over the past four years, Mancini replaced Mazzarri in the Inter hotseat back in November 2014 to try and propel the club back to their glory days.

      Having initially begun his playing career with Bologna in 1981, he would transfer to Sampdoria only 12 months later and embark on a 15-year career full of success. Mancini formed a dynamic partnership with Juventus legend Gianluca Vialli and spurred the Blucerchiati on to its solitary league triumph in 1991 whilst also winning four Coppa Italia titles and a Cup Winners’ Cup.

      Before going on to feature for Lazio and subsequently Leicester City on a short-term loan deal, the former creative and technical forward appeared in Sampdoria’s 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in the 1992 European Cup final.

      The 50-year-old began his managerial tenure with Fiorentina in 2001 before leaving for Lazio only a season later. After leading the Biancocelesti to a Coppa Italia triumph in 2004, he took over at Inter and success ensued.

      Mancini provided the Nerazzurri with their maiden domestic title since 1989 before also bringing attacking football and six more trophies during a four-year spell.

      After being relieved of his duties in 2008, he took a break from management before being appointed Manchester City manager. Under his tutelage, the Premier League side won their first title in 43 years (the FA Cup) before breaking the Manchester United/Chelsea league duopoly and were crowned as league champions in 2012.

      Following failure to defend their crown, he was sacked before joining Galatasaray where he won the 2013/14 before leaving the club after the culmination of the campaign.

      Regarded as a cup specialist, Mancini holds the record of the most consecutive Coppa Italia final appearances from 2004 to 2008, with Lazio once in 2004 and Inter in each of his four seasons at the helm.

      Now in his second spell at the San Siro, a different proposition awaits for ‘Mancio’ as he looks to rejuvenate an Inter side who currently sit 11th and badly need to rocket up the table so they can at least guarantee European football for the 2015/16 campaign.  

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