Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Jose Mourinho's charm offensive yesterday may have impressed the foreign press but cut little ice with the locals.
He was hardly recognisable from the snarling figure of the weekend, now working the room like the seasoned seducer – or should that be manipulator – he so likes to portray himself to those outside these shores.
NEWS, Tue Feb 23: Knowing Chelsea makes job harder – Mourinho
Those ready smiles and badge-kissing for the assorted Brits, French and Portuguese hacks at the press conference suggested a man without a care in the world – although at least he could momentarily forget about his three-game suspension for his behaviour during the game against Sampdoria and the numerous other bans handed out to his team.
NEWS, Mon Feb 22: Inter quintet handed bans
However, if he fails to take Inter past Chelsea the whole of the Italian press will queue to dance on his grave.
The Portuguese needs to get his starting line-up right on the button for this first leg and of course someone had to go and heap some extra pressure on what is becoming an anxiety-ridden club.
That someone was Julio Cesar, who pranged his Lamborghini off a central reservation barrier in the underpass outside the San Siro stadium on Sunday night.
The goalkeeper turned up to training with an ugly-looking bruise and some heavy swelling under both eyes.
The has been plenty of speculation on why the Brazilian was whizzing around in his sports car on a Sunday night, but thankfully his wife was on hand to clear up what could have been a messy outcome.
Writing on her blog, Susanna Werner explained that hubby had dropped off some guests he'd had round to the house when she was in Brazil – and had then decided to indulge himself with an ice-cream.
For anyone puzzled at why buying a lolly should lead to the state the player ended up in, Ronaldo’s ex then let the cat out of the bag by revealing that her man wanted to “enjoy the car.”
There must be better ways to prepare for the biggest game of the season than jumping in your sports car when it's almost time for bed, but how the incident will affect the player will become clear this evening.
Cesar hasn’t been in the best of form of late anyway and if it wasn’t for the fact that there is no decent option as back-up he might have been “rested” on a couple of occasions.
Francesco Toldo’s howler against Juventus in the recent Italian Cup tie makes it imperative that the club bring in a keeper capable of putting the current custodian under some pressure.
In the short term, the current No.1 will be carrying a heavy load this evening (if he makes it) - and in an encounter where one goal could be enough for either side, the ice-cream loving keeper cannot afford to slip up again.
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