Directory Free Newsletter Contact  

Inter Milan go for 4th title in a row under new management
By Steve MacClare
September 8, 2008



With Portugal's Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan should have even better times ahead


     Defending Serie A champions Inter Milan start off the season looking to win four in a row for the first time in their history. Juventus and Torino have done five but four would mean Internazionale had at least done something local rivals Milan hadn’t. Known as the Rossoneri (red and blacks), Milan won three scudetto (Italian for shields) between 1991 and 1994 and again in 1996, but their four triumphs were split by a Juventus title win in 1995. 

     Inter’s main rival this year seem to be eternal bridesmaids from the Eternal City, AS Roma. Runners-up for each of the last three seasons and five of the last seven, Romans can argue that had it not been for an injury to talisman striker Francesco Totti last season which caused him to miss eleven games they might well have found the extra points to overcome the difference. Inter however are under the management of none other than Jose Mourinho, Portugal’s ‘Special One.' He has brought in Sulley Muntari from Portsmouth and Roma’s Amantino Mancini. It would be surprising if Inter didn’t improve under his tutelage. Inter also have the most underrated player in Italy, in Honduran David Suazo. Even when he was at Cagliari, he shone out on pitches chock-a-block with world class talent. With Zlatan Ibrahimović, Luis Figo, Patrick Vieira, Hernán Crespo, Marco Materazzi and Esteban Cambiasso also available for selection, it is hard to see anyone surpassing Inter this year. 

     Roma have added John Arne Riise (from Liverpool) and Júlio Baptista (from Real Madrid) but their pre season preparations had been badly affected by the sudden death of their owner, Franco Sensi.  Juventus seek to continue their rehabilitation after a bribery scandal that saw them relegated two years ago. They are temporarily playing at Stadio Olimpico, the home of local rivals Torino, while their Stadio delle Appi is undergoing reconstruction. The Olimpico only has a capacity of 27,500 but this shouldn’t unduly affect Juventus as they frequently achieve better attendances in the home matches they move away from the city of Turin due to their supporters being widespread across the whole country especially in the south of Italy. Their star players include Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, captain Alessandro Del Piero, Mohamed Sissoko who was born in the same town as Seattle’s Sébastien Le Toux, Bosnia’s Hasan Salihamidžić and French star David Trézéguet. Bringing in Braziliam Amauri from Palermo was their biggest summer addition. They are the second club in Serie A to employ a former Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri, and their third place finish in their return to Serie A was seen as acceptable last year but may not be so this season. Interesting historical note is that Juve’s black and white shirts date back to their early days when a friend of a player who supported English club Notts County supplied them with their shirts. 

     Milan have been perhaps the most active in the summer transfer merry-go-round. Mathieu Flamini, Chedric Seedorf (younger brother of Clarence) Gianluca Zambrotta, and of course Ronaldinho have all made the headlines. They finished fifth last year, a full 21 points behind Champions Inter and manager Carlo Ancelotti will be under tremendous pressure to improve that. They also missed out on a Champions League place when Fiorentina pipped them for fourth place. Adrian Mutu was in the news last year for the right reasons and he netted 17 goals to spearhead their challenge. Adding (World Cup Winner) Alberto Gilardino, Stevan Jovetic, Jefferson and Alberto Melo has strengthened their squad and it will be interesting to see if they manage to retain that place in Italy’s top four. Their first test came early as they kicked off their season against Juventus and attained a creditable draw. 

     Lastly, I’d like to say a word about Lecce, the club from the heel of Italy. Promoted again from Serie B, the giallorossi look set for another enterprising struggle against returning immediately. They have only ever won 90 games in Serie A in their history and lost 204. If they can bring up their century of wins this season, they may yet defy the odds and survive. Bologna and Chievo Verona (known as the "Flying Donkeys”) make up the trio of promoted sides and on paper seem to have a better chance of survival than Lecce

     Next week we’ll look back on a busy week of World Cup qualifying with all the European nations getting their campaigns underway. 


Serie A – Italian First Division. Serie B comes next and then Serie C1A and Serie C1B, divided geographically.
Scudetto – Shield, name of trophy awarded for winning Serie A
Calcio – Italian for football or soccer

Juventus - La Vecchia Signora
(The Old Lady),  I bianconeri (The white-blacks). Juventus play in Turin and are the best supported club in Italy.
AC Milan -  I Rossoneri

Inter Milan or Internazionale – scudetto winners and rivals of AC Milan

Fiorentina- club based in
Florence. Known as La Viola. The Italian for Florence is actually Firenze
US Lecce – the giallorossi


For a full list of Steve's soccer articles here

We welcome feedback and comments on Steve's articles




© 2006 All content property of European Weekly unless where otherwise accredited