Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Jose Mourinho may have booked a one-way ticket out of Italy along with all of his possessions - and if Inter lose to Bayern Munich on Saturday evening we will not see him back on these shores until Real Madrid play here again.
It may not be an obsession for the Portuguese to win the Champions League, having already tasted success with Porto, but that cannot be said for his soon-to-be late employers and their legions of fans who expect nothing else but to witness the Holy Grail in all its shining glory displayed in the Duomo on Sunday evening.
Massimo Moratti is certainly feeling the weight of destiny hanging over him as he attempts to emulate his father Angelo's feat of landing the trophy some 45 years ago.
In fact, his gruff tones which are such a feature of everyday life on Italian sports news bulletins, have been remained silent after admitting that his 14th and most successful coach will not be around for much longer.
Usually you cannot keep the man away from a microphone but obviously Mou’s defection has hit him hard so it has been left to the fans on the street to voice their opinions, doubts and predictions on what will be the Special One's last great act at the club.
It has been another week of frayed nerves and lost appetites for the Nerazzurri faithful; La Gazzetta dello Sport even provided its readers with a detailed survival pack for those lucky enough to be making the trip to the Bernabeu stadium.
Amongst the check-list of identity card, scarf and so forth should have been throat spray such has been the endless chatter on how events will unfold across the Iberian Peninsula.
The team's final training session saw a few hundred fans gather out at Appiano Gentile for a rousing send-off and a final attempt to persuade his Holiness of Setubal to remain in situ.
"I'll keep in touch, I promise..."
"Please don't go Jose," they screamed to no one in particular; much
better to save one’s voice for a full-throttled backing on Saturday
No doubt the man at the centre of all this fawning was
happy to get his feet under the table in his new surroundings after the
full party flew out on Wednesday as a precaution against the threat of
volcanic dust sweeping down through Europe.
As it turned out the skies were clear and the omens are set fair for an Inter victory – no doubt Manchester United thought the same thing ahead of their meeting with Bayern Munich – but Jose and his men have never been ones to undersell their own worth.
There is enough quality and experience to see Inter through on a day where captain Javier Zanetti will make his 700th career appearance, and Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and Wesley Sneijder will be back on their old stomping ground.
There will be no surprises in the starting XI apart from Zanetti occupying the covering role in front of the defence alongside Cambiasso in the absence of Thiago Motta – and little deviation from the manner in which Cheslea were dismissed over two legs and the way Barcelona were dispatched at the San Siro.
Mourinho has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation or with a slight variation morphing into a 4-2-1-3 ever since the competition got underway again in late February.
He will come up against his old boss Louis Van Gaal, who is even more obsessive when it comes to note taking so the aim will be to hit Bayern early and hard then ruthlessly keep the opposition pinned back to ensure that Arjen Robben, as like Lionel Messi, has little or no space to fire up those weaving runs.
However, it is going forward where Inter can catch the Germans out and Sneijder will be the key to the master plan as he has been throughout this momentous season.
Drifting beyond the Bayern midfield the playmaker can exploit the space in front of the penalty-area to play Diego Milito or Samuel Eto’o into a goalscoring position.
There should also be opportunities arising to take advantage of the Dutchman’s expertise at dead-ball situations – and it could well be a set-piece that settles the outcome.
It has been a long wait for glory and Inter can let this moment pass them by – especially now that Mourinho has locked up the house for one last time.
More from Serie Aaaaargh!
Leaving Chelsea to coach Inter is one thing, leaving Inter to coach Real Madrid might be the move that finally ruins the Special One.
I hope he doesn't leave, as Italian football will be weaker without him, but it looks as if he is off to Madrid. Why I don't know, as Madrid have been nothing more than a joke for several years now. Still, Mourinho would probably see himself as the man who can bring this huge club back to the top. Whether he will be left in peace to do so is another thing.
As for the final I can only see an Inter win. Probably only 2 or 3 of the Bayern team would get into the Inter 11. Hopefully Inter push forward and expose Bayern's weak defence.
"His Holiness of Setúbal". hyperLOL
Dude, you just don't know how funny that sounds. If you'd ever been to Setúbal you'd be laughing your ass off and patting yourself in the back for having come up with that one.
Imagine a harbour town where EVERYONE has as Brian Clough complex. That's Setúbal.
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