Straight from the dark heart of Italy
If Wayne Rooney is contemplating a future in Italian football, then of course there is only one club capable of matching not only his wage demands, but also his ambitions on the pitch.
Inter president Massimo Moratti has always admired English players, but having half-jokingly claimed that he was considering making a bid for Leo Messi in the January transfer window, maybe he will start cracking a few one-liners about hiring the Manchester United rebel.
It will certainly keep the rumour mill ticking over now that Messi has put an end to any speculation about leaving Barcelona, while Moratti is still silently seething that Silvio Berlusconi landed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who he would have been welcomed back in the Nerazzurri fold with open arms.
Moratti’s principle medium of communication is generally to mutter a few words to journalists as he strolls into work in the centre of the city which then morph into the gospel according to Massimo.
Ever since his arch nemesis across town stole a march in the transfer headline stakes, the feeling is that the old oil baron is planning something spectacular.
If this is the case, then he is either keeping it to himself or Rafa Benitez is a very good actor: the coach has been beside himself with frustration at not having a big-name signing to show off.
Moratti has made it clear that he wants the club on a sound financial footing to comply with UEFA regulations but there may be a loose €70 million or so lying around for the January sales.
No doubt Wayne and his advisers are studying the European market for a big day and they will have an opportunity to check in on Inter this evening when the Champions League holders take on wet-behind-the-ears Tottenham Hotspur.
Little thought has been given to the English side that arrive at the San Siro lacking the gravitas of a United, Chelsea or even Arsenal.
However, it has been left to Inter once again – which made the morning coffees even sweeter for their fans – to salvage Italian pride in the competition.
It is doubtful if the names of AC Milan and AS Roma have come anywhere near the radar of the Rooney camp as potential destinations – and you can see why.
Neither club looks certain of even making it out of the group stages – Milan’s defensive problems were laid bare once again at Real Madrid, while Roma were just downright woeful in the home defeat to Basel.
Massimiliano Allegri had stated that the march wasn’t about him and Jose Mourinho - and didn’t he get that right?
He was left gawping like a provincial boy in awe of the bright city lights and, just as the Special One made sure that his Inter teams were psyched up for the Milan derbies, it was the same attention to detail which helped his Real Madrid charges win with more than a little to spare.
Despite the experience running through the Milan side, Allergi was not primed for the early Real onslaught and the contest was over within the first 15 minutes.
At least back in Serie A there are few teams that play with such intensity from the first whistle – Palermo spring to mind and before that Roma under Luciano Spalletti had their moments.
Milan will still hope to sneak through but the Giallorossi are in real danger of missing out on the knock-out stages all together which would probably save them from further humiliation.
The Olympic stadium is such a cavernous bowl that it is difficult to generate a big-game atmosphere at the best of times, but the vast swathes of empty seats in the stands last night summed up the depressing mood around the club at the moment.
The uncertainty over a buyer with the financial muscle to drag the Giallorossi out of the perilous state is affecting everyone.
Claudio Ranieri has lost that control he initially had over the team who now fail to follow basic instructions such as covering back and making tackles - whispers persist that he will be out the door when a new regime takes over while the players are in the dark on who will be offered new contracts.
Until the off-pitch problems are resolved there seems little hope of Roma turning their dismal season around.
Inter, of course, have no such worries and their continued success is more in keeping with Wayne’s world.
I doubt Rooney would join Inter, although it would be nice to see. All his talk today of ambition would suggest he will move to either Madrid or Man City. The days when the likes of Juve and Milan could buy guys like him are gone for the time being. They now have to settle for wasters like Robinho and half-*rse average squad players.
As for the CL, it showed again the problems Milan and Roma have. Really, if Roma go out at this stage in this group, then they should be shot. As for Milan, the fullback positions are a mess and they have no chance of winning this comp.
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