Inter Ambassador answers questions . . .
Why do you support your current favorite club ?
For me, the first and last question are inevitably linked. As a child and budding calcio enthusiast, my favorite teams had 1 thing in common – Baggio was on the roster. From Juventus to Milan, Bologna and so on all before the age of 10 – my allegiances hopped around along with the divine ponytail.
However, in 98-99 something changed – I got internet at my house and was no longer restricted to following calcio on RAI via once-a-week public television programming. I became addicted to Baggio’s goals and magical moments.. in
I was now not only following my favorite player, but following a massive club challenging in -what was- the best league in the world.. Taking in weekly goals and highlights. Other legends of that era included Vieri, Zamorano, El Chino, Djorkaef, even Pirlo and Ronaldo; I worshiped them.
It was around that period of time that I received my first jersey as a gift – an authentic, thick-striped Internazionale home kit. I wore it everywhere and in doing everything and still feel a sense of satisfaction whenever I have it on – that’s how I know I’m a lifelong Inter fan; my roots are deep.
Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting ?
Italian football has lost its champions league spots and must now battle in all European competitions to regain its status as a top 3 league – giving 4 of its proud clubs the chance to thrive in Europe’s top competition once again every season.
However, I regretfully must advise inter to forgo Europa league success while focusing on winning the scudetto once again. As a top squad with only one competition to focus on, inter should be able to make a strong push for the title ala Juventus of this season with no taxing commitments outside the peninsula.
Being a perennial challenger and either winning the league or qualifying for the ucl directly is the only way to attract top talent to the side and maintain inter’s proud history.
Inter have had great success in the past 6 or so years, but also have suffered some huge disappointments in that time, dips in form, manager uncertainty and an aging squad.
Many of their current troubles stem from bad club and player management and a return to “Pazza Inter” or crazy Inter – an unpredictable but always enthralling state of affairs that can end in great victory or epic heartbreak.
The best years of Inter’s past 10 seasons have seen some of the world’s top players come and go – I would suggest bringing back the man who made it all happen, Oriali. As sporting director, Oriali signed prolific talents such as Ibrahimovic, Eto’o, Milito, Thiago Motta and more – while his successor Branca has brought on flops including Zarate, Forlan and Palombo.
Last, sign Stramaccioni as full fledged manager. He’s clever, charismatic, and has the support of the players – compared to the other options out there, the man affectionately dubbed ‘Stramala’ may have a promising future at the nerazzurri post.
What is the low point of the club while you have followed it ?
The obvious low point during the time I have followed Inter was the ___ season in which Inter led the title race until the last day.. Only to lose to bitter arch-rivals Juventus after an historic collapse. I distinctly remember seeing a soggy eyed Ronaldo on the sideline weeping as the scudetto slipped through black and blue fingers – an image we as Inter supporters won’t soon forget.
What is the high point ?
The highest highs of Inter’s success came with the 09-10 season treble: scudetto, coppa Italia AND the legendary Champions League victory over Bayern Munich.
The victory was not only a win for Inter’s trophy cabinet, but all of Italy -whether they accept it or not. In beating Bayern in the final, Inter secured the 4th and final champions league spot remain with Serie A for one more season.. Though the accomplishment was largely unappreciated.
It is also the season where a personal favorite of mine for years came to life and etched his name in the history books – there was no striker better than Diego Milito, il Pricipe, in 09-10. Period.
Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club ?
For me, this question is a very tight race – and would have to be a draw in my eyes between my very first Inter jersey or 98-99 and the 09-10 shirt.
Purely on aesthetics, the 09-10 shirt wins with its smart stripes and tight ribbed collar.. Though the 98 shirt comes close with the bold, chunky black and blue stripes – my mind often wanders back to the champions league winning shirt being that it is the collector piece I do not have! Help me MM Sport!!
From a nostalgia standpoint, one shirt is what Baggio wore as he roared like lion, the other Milito donned as he twirled like dervish – its a tie!
When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ?
As stated numerous times in this interview, my favorite player since I began following calcio has been Roberto Baggio – divin codino.
I idolized him as a youngster in 1994. I followed him throughout his career and thought that I was his biggest fan – only to learn that every fan of calcio was also -without exception- a die hard Baggio fan.
As an aspiring soccer player, trying to star on my high school team with all my might – I turned to Baggio. I purchased his career highlight vhs in the Le Stelle di Calcio series title Baggio – il Divin Codino and watched it
religiously, studying and learning each of his moves and using them to great effect against my opponents on the pitch.
I had even purchased his autobiography, Una Porta nel Cielo (written in Italian) and had my father read and translate it to me – a little bit each night – until he grew tired of the scholarly undertaking and I was forced to become a strong Italian language scholar myself to continue learning from Baggio in his own words.
Being a die-hard Roby Baggio fan has shaped a lot of my young life! Will there ever be another like him.. Surely not. I hope that he will turn to manage the nerazzurri sometime soon.