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Ryan Ross On May - 23 - 2010

Internazionale, Champions of Europe!

Saturday 22nd July 2010, a date which has now become the most important in Inter Milan’s history. The Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid was the host for Europe’s grandest competition and the biggest match in the world. Bayern Munich were taking on Internazionale in a match for the right to be named European Champions.

There were no surprises in the team line-ups as Thiago Motta and Frank Ribery missed out due to suspension for their respected sides. Mourinho opted to deploy his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, with Cesar in goals; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, and Chivu forming a solid backline; the two Argentines Zanetti and Cambiasso provided the dynamism for the side to launch the attack; Sneijder was the spark to ignite a front three of Pandev, Milito and Eto’o.

Bayern’s coach Louis Van Gaal wanted his Munich side to go out and play his favoured brand of “total-football.” Butt lined up in goal; in defence Lahm, Van Buyten, Demichelis and Badstuber were tasked to halt Inter’s attack; Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger and Robben were in midfield whilst a front three of Muller, Olic and Altintop were expected to provide the amunition for Bayern to achieve glory.

Kick off arrived and both teams appeared to have put their nerves to one side and looked to take the game to each other. Bayern threatened earliest when Robben took one Samuel, cut inside only to be brought down by the bullish Argentinian; cameras panned to the sideline to see Mourinho shaking his head in disgust at the challenge. In the 10th minute Robben threatened again as he jigged the ball past Chivu and Samuel only to pass the ball to Olic who blasted the ball wide of Cesar’s post.

Inter’s first real chance in the match came after Van Bommel had fouled Pandev, allownig Sneijder the opportunity to test Butt. The “Flying Dutchman” powered the ball towards goal, only for it to take a deflection off a Bayern player and Butt managed to get hands to it and clutch it safely. The first card of the match came in the 25th minute when Demichelis brought down his fellow countryman Milito and agan Sneijder was allowed a chance to show his skill; sadly for Inter though, the shot was easy for Butt to save and play continued. Chivu was then booked shortly afterwards for fouling Robben, who then took the freekick only for it to be headed out by Milito.

A piece of sheer brilliance was completed in the 35th minute when Sneijder and Milito successfully managed to complete a 1-2 pass and “The Prince” was able to feign a movement and superbly place the ball over the onrushing Butt into the back of the net. Pandemonium ensued as the Nerazurri fans erupted into cheers of celebration as Diego Milito took another step into the annuals of Inter’s storied history books.

The second half opened with Bayern determinded to get back into the game, Altintop played a great ball to Muller who showed just how important experience is, when he shot straight at Cesar who made a great save to ensure Inter were still in the lead. Inter rallied well and attacked with Milito crossing to Pandev, who shot at goal but Butt managed to tip the ball over. Bayern then continued to keep Inter under pressure and Robben forced Cesar into a save similar to Butt’s earlier one, getting fingertips to the ball and pushing it over. On the 68th minute Mourinho opted to make his first change and bring on the Serbian Dejan Stankovic for Chivu.

Inter’s grip on the trophy was sealed on 70 minutes when Milito’s legend rose, as he received a pass from Eto’o and left Van Buyten stunned after turning him inside out, then cooly slotted the ball into the bottom corner; then raced off towards the Inter fans with his arms out, gesticulating that he was flying; this will remain a symbolic image of what now has to be known as the “Milito Final.”

Jose Mourinho allowed his Argentinan star to receive a standing ovation from the Inter fans when the eccentric Marco Materazzi was brought on to replace him; this really did complete the night as an Inter victory!

The final whistle blew, and Inter fans everywhere rose in celebration, many tears were shed and the club was crowned European Champions for a third time! This was the final piece of the treble in what shall be remembered as a majestical year for the club.

Jose’s task was completed, his work done, and now it seems he is to leave Milan fpr a new residence in Madrid. Good luck to you Jose and thank you for everything you have done!

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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