Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Massimo Moratti used to believe that Inter had to win the Serie A title at all costs.
Maybe lifting the Champions League trophy would be a nice diversion, but really that was secondary to domestic dominance.
All's fine on the home front now – we've given up wondering if anyone can stop the Nerazzurri from pinning the scudetto onto their shirts for the foreseeable future – but the patron has been unable to switch track and focus on Europe.
Look at AC Milan over the last few years: when they hear the first strains of the Champions League anthem they are generally a team transformed.
Wednesday was a case in point. In fact their vice-president Adriano Galliani made sure Zadok The Priest was blasting out in the dressing room just before kick-off.
The motivation was certainly there within the Rossoneri camp to delve deep and produce a stirring performance at Real Madrid, although they didn't crow about it too much as that would have openly cast them in the role of underdogs.
NEWS, Oct 21: Milan stun Madrid
Leonardo’s men strutted back to Italy with an air of “Well what did you expect? We are Milan, and this is the Champions League.”
Inter, for their part, can't seem to find that sort of impetus when it comes to European evenings – unable to burst out of the blocks for a one-off, at total odds with the approach on the domestic scene where they can wear down the opposition over a number of months.
To use a cycling analogy, it’s akin to being a one-day time-trial specialist and a Giro d’Italia winner.
Dynamo Kyiv didn’t arrive at the San Siro looking to stifle Jose Mourinho’s side, as would happened with most Serie A opposition.
And in Madrid, Milan took the game to the Spaniards (as soon as they had gathered themselves after Nelson Dida’s howler).
NEWS, Oct 20: Struggling Inter held by Kyiv
Moratti has claimed that anyone who thinks his club must win the Champions League knows nothing about football.
That type of thinking would seem to belittle Serie A somewhat: being the big shot in your own backyard only to be pushed around by the likes of Rubin Kazan and a team containing Andriy Shevchenko.
Inter have gone eight games without a win in the competition – and this under a coach who prides himself on being a conqueror of Europe.
To save this campaign, Jose Mourinho now has to wrap up his assorted artists – South Americans et al – in tights and gloves for the icy blast of Ukraine in November.
Needing to take a point in a hostile environment, who would you put your money on – Inter or Milan?
Juventus are another club who like nothing better than tallying up their league titles, but at least they could back that up with a European pedigree (six continental competitions conquered, even if the last was an unlucky 13 years ago).
Unlike the new Fiat 500, this year’s footballing model is going nowhere fast – and maybe only now is the true extent of Luciano Moggi’s influence finally being felt.
The Old Lady can't, erm, buy a win in the league, and were fortunate to escape with a completely cohesion-free victory at home to 10-man Maccabi Haifa.
NEWS, Oct 21: Chiellini header seals Juve win
Ciro Ferrara has been tying himself up in numbers – 4-2-3-1, 4-3-1-2 – but still can't work out the best combination to open the safe.
Thank goodness then for Fiorentina who have little time for the restrictions of set formations.
Cesare Prandelli’s philosophy is refreshing – attack both home and away – and the Viola could be a real danger further down the line if first they can keep Liverpool at bay in their group.
NEWS, Oct 20: Fiorentina edge seven-goal thriller
Home comforts may be all well and good for Inter but really they should have a yearning to broaden their horizons.
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