Inter and Jose - The marriage that needs rekindling
Football: The Blue half of Milan continue to miss that Special touch
As Jose Mourinhos time in Manchester came to its inevitably miserable end, it got me thinking.
It’s been a long time since Jose last seriously felt the love that he comes to expect as the self-proclaimed ‘special one’. I would argue it’s been nearly 9 years since anything close to love was felt for the man. Internazionale, the grand old Italian club where Roy Hodgson once plied his trade (guiding Inter to 3rd in the 96/97 season, yes I'm as shocked as you), may be one of the few ‘big’ European clubs that still yearn for Jose.
In the 9 seasons since Jose and his inflated ego departed Milan, Inter have had 11 different managers. Take away the year following Jose (a year featuring the dour and yet surprisingly successful Rafa Benitez) and Inter have not added a single honour to their illustrious trophy cabinet. Quite the fall from grace for the serial winners that won 5 straight league titles between 2005 and 2010 and dismantled arguably the greatest club team of all time (certainly the most dominant team I have ever witnessed) in Barcelona on their way to winning the Champions league in 2010.
Built on a rock-solid backline including the Brazilian giant Lucio and his compatriot Maicon, at that time the best full back in world football, Inter have never since seen this level of defensive stability. Finishing as low as 7th 8th and 9th in recent years, the Nerazurri have fallen by the wayside, watching from the sidelines as their fierce rivals in Turin dominate Italian football with relative ease (winning the last 7 titles), even seeing the red half of Milan continue to struggle is little consolation.
Whilst Jose may not have had quite the same spectacular descent, disregarding the current season and its wretchedness, success has not come as easily since leading his side to the first ever Italian treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and European Cup (quite the feat considering the magnificent Italian club-sides of the 1990s where the greatest players in the world resided).
3 of the biggest clubs in Europe have followed since but none have been able to endure the special one beyond 3 seasons, despite averaging 2 trophies for each of the clubs whilst he was at the helm.
So why exactly should these two old counterparts try to rekindle the magic they once had?
Well for a start Inter have an Argentinian striker in Mauro Icardi who is a goal-scoring phenomenon reminiscent of the man who scored the goals that gave Inter their first European Cup since 1965, going by the nickname El Príncipe or better known as Diego Milito. Both have had very little success with the national side despite their proven prowess in front of goal. Jose could be the man to set Mauro straight (his antics off the pitch, include having an affair with former team-mate Maxi Lopez’s wife) and truly put him on the path toward superstardom.
More importantly this is a defence that needs a sprinkling of the Mourinho teams of former years which had the ability to suffocate the life out of the greatest players and teams. The doggedness and fight epitomised by the likes of Lucio and Walter Samuel in the past is a distant memory, Mourinho would be the ideal candidate to bring back that toughness, rolling over and letting Juve walk to another Serie A title would not be an option.
As of the 9th of January 2019, Inter sit 3rd in the Serie A table which is something of a revival considering their trials and tribulations in recent years with Luciano Spaletti in charge. Whilst fans of the Nerazzuri may be pleased to see this, they are still 14 points behind ‘The Old Lady’ (a rather odd nickname for Juventus) and watching them stroll to their latest Serie A triumph.
Mourinho may be an arrogant egotist but he’s still a serial winner. As of the current moment nobody in Italy looks likely to challenge Juve but rekindling the marriage and the love that once made this marriage so successful might just be the way for Inter to climb back to the top of Italy and, who knows maybe even Europe, once more.