Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Inter’s preseason is well underway, with three friendlies and three wins under their belt. Ritiro in the idyllic setting of Pinzolo has come and gone and after ten days, the squad has returned to Milan with training to resume at Appiano Gentile.

While the pitch and training grounds have been quite busy with double training sessions and matches, they are not the only place seeing action.  Late last week, news started circulating that the FIGC were not going to revoke the 2005/06 Scudetto that was awarded to Inter.  This past Monday, FIGC president Giancarlo Abete confirmed the majority vote of the council and the decision for Inter to keep the title, due to having no basis for revocation.

The announcement happened to fall on Giacinto Facchetti’s birthday (July 18), with Massimo Moratti stating Tuesday morning that it was merely a “confirmation” of what the club already knew.  The main concern for the club is to clear and protect Facchetti’s name, as is evidenced by the actions the club has taken during ritiro in honour of him.  Possible legal action could be taken by the club and the Facchetti family over the vilification of the Inter and Italian legend by various parties.

Still staying off the pitch, much was made about Franco Baldini’s interview in La Repubblica yesterday regarding his new position at Roma.  What should also be focused on for Interisti is Baldini’s admission that Gabriele Oriali had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and that “Lele” was telling the truth in regards to Alvaro Recoba’s passport scandal of over a decade ago.

Oriali issued a statement acknowledging Baldini’s comments, but also said that he does not exclude the possibility of having the process of ten years ago reviewed in light of this news.  While this helps clear his name, it does not undo the pain and disappointment associated with this scandal that the club and Lele have felt since.

Continuing on, Marco Materazzi has given an in depth interview with Gazzetta, where he talks about his circumstances leaving Inter, more ink and the future.  His presence has been sorely missed this ritiro, the first in ten years without the tattooed talisman.

Matrix stated that he felt betrayed by former coach Leonardo and he left a year prior to the end of the contract because he was told he was no longer in the plans of the Brazilian.  He goes on to say that he would have liked to have had Jose Mourinho being his last coach, Ronaldo is the best player he has played with and he has a spot over his heart to get a tattoo of the Inter crest.

Regarding his future, Materazzi’s role at the club will be “defined with time,” but will initially start in collaboration with Piero Ausilio in working with (and scouting) young talent.  As far as coaching goes, he doesn’t believe he is cut out for the position, as he thinks that it is too demanding even for him.

Finally moving on to what is happening on the pitch, Moratti visited the squad for the last day of ritiro and to attend yesterday’s friendly against Cremonese.  Despite winning 4-1 with a brace from Samuel Eto’o and goals from Giampaolo Pazzini and Marco Faraoni, the match was a tougher test than what the score line indicated.

The main focal point of the match was the formation and tactics that Gian Piero Gasperini would be using.  Much has been made of Wesley Sneijder’s fit into the manager’s new system, though many forget that he is not a true trequartista and his role at his former clubs were similar to how Gasperini has used him in conjunction with new signing Ricky Alvarez.  Alvarez has impressed during the previous friendlies and has looked really sharp and lively, playing on both flanks and as a link between the strikers and Sneijder.  There were signs of frustration during yesterday’s match, as movement on the left side of the formation was not as fluid due to the experimentation of Luca Caldirola at left back and Lorenzo Crisetig in the left side of midfield.

Sneijder played the entire 90 minutes, slowly asserting his influence as the match wore on.  Gasperini stated that he kept the Dutchman on the pitch the whole match because he was “the sharpest player out there” and that he was playing in his specified role well.  Both Gasperini and Moratti have said that Sneijder is a very important player for the club and with all the rumours surrounding him, everyone at the Inter wants him to stay.

The next and first real test of the preseason comes this Sunday, as Inter travel to Bochum, Germany to face Turkish giants Galatasary.

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