Luciano Spalletti Claims Inter ‘Are a Different Side’ Under His Management After Excellent Start

Inter manager Luciano Spalletti has described his current crop as “a different Inter compared to the one before” after guiding them to third place in Serie A before the international break.

The Italian took over at Inter last summer and has quickly reinvigorated the squad, through both a make-over in personnel and inspiring the long standing players at San Siro. The Nerazzurri are currently unbeaten after 12 matches and are putting pressure on table-toppers Napoli, sitting just two points behind.

Hellas Verona FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A

The former Roma coach, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport (via ​Football Italia) explained: “We’ve picked up 30 points in this first part of the campaign. It’s a lot and it wasn’t easy. At first, I had to carry around bit of everything at first, I couldn’t make any decisions. There was a huge weight on the team, club and fans.”

Going forward, the Italian feels far more confident, claiming: “Now I can choose who to keep and who to leave. We’ve laid important foundations and it’ll be difficult for us to go back.”

He also believes the players are fully invested in his project: “I see the eyes of my players. They all want to keep building something great. We’re different to before. It’s a different Inter compared to the one before, which found itself in trouble after a good spell.”

Inter Milan are in a great run of form and the manager is exercising the classic mantra – if it isn’t broke don’t fix it: “You only change things that aren’t working, and Inter are working properly right now.”

The blue half of Milan will now hope to continue in fine fettle and assert themselves once-again as a powerhouse in Italy, now that international duties have concluded. Spalletti will demand the very best from his outfit, as they chase that elusive 19th Serie A title, in an extremely competitive season.

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Inter Ready to Swoop for Experienced Barcelona Defender as Valverde Looks to Move on Stars

Internazionale are considering signing Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen in January on a short team loan deal, according to reports.

The Belgian joined Barca in 2014, but near-constant injuries mean he’s played just 22 times for the club in three years, while he spent last season on loan ​at Roma, where he only managed 12 appearances in all competitions.

Despite boasting the third-meanest defence in Serie A this season, Luciano Spalletti is reportedly on the hunt for reinforcements at the back with Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala also an option.

However, Inter look to be seeking a more experienced defender in the form of 31-year-old Vermaelen, according to Tuttosport (via Football España).

The Belgian centre back, who has also been linked with several Premier League sides, has played for Ajax and Arsenal, and will likely be looking for first team football ahead of next summer’s World Cup. 

The 31-year-old is one of three Barcelona players who have been made free to leave the club, along with Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan, as new boss Ernesto Valverde looks to put his own stamp on the squad.

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‘More Than a Father’ – Former Inter Stopper Explains Impact Mourinho Had at San Siro

Former Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar has described current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho as being ‘more than a father’ to him during the time they spent together with the Nerazzurri, hailing the Portuguese’s incredible impact at the club.

Mourinho arrived at Inter in the summer of 2008 after leaving Chelsea under a cloud a few months earlier, and left on a high in 2008 after transforming the club into treble winners in just two years.

Inter Milan players celebrate with the t

He forged close relationships with a number of players in that squad, including key defenders Marco Materazzi and Lucio, with Cesar another to benefit hugely – he was considered by many to be among the best goalkeepers in the world at that time.

“Mourinho was more than a father to me when I was at Inter,” the former Brazilian international told ESPN.

“In only two years, Mourinho and his staff helped win everything. Inter contracted Mourinho to win the Champions League. Inter had success in that period winning Serie A, but the Champions League was different.

Inter Milan's Portuguese  coach Jose Mou

“The club had not won it for 42 years. Within two years, Mourinho had won it. It was a heroic win. That Inter team and Mourinho will be in the hearts of Inter supporters forever.”

Mourinho’s Inter became the first and still only Italian team to complete a famous league, cup and European Cup treble. Cesar, who is still playing for Benfica at the age of 38, was less successful on the international stage, despite 10 years as a Brazil player.

Cesar made his debut two years after Brazil’s last World Cup triumph in 2002 and was involved in the infamous 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany in the tournament on home soil in 2014. In two previous World Cups, he had never been past the quarter finals.

Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

He has higher expectations for the Selecao now, though, labelling them as ‘one of the favourites’.

“I think Brazil has a very good chance of winning the World Cup. We have a coach who is doing a great job since the moment he joined. We’re one of the favourites. For me, Neymar is the best player in the world today,” Cesar explained.

[Ederson is] ready to play in the World Cup and he’s got all the ingredients to be the best goalkeeper in the world…[Gabriel Jesus] went to Europe young and straight into the Premier League, but he did well immediately. He’s a player who we will hear a lot about.”

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“[Tite’s] given an identity to Brazil. He worked hard, got Brazil playing well. We were very strong in the qualifying group; a very tough qualifying group. Losing only one game from 18 when you play all those really strong countries is fantastic.”

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Former Chelsea Midfielder Returns to Chelsea’s Training Ground Ahead of Loan Switch to Serie A

Jiangsu Suning midfielder Ramires is on the brink of having a January move to Inter finalised, with the Brazilian currently undergoing rehabilitation at Chelsea’s training ground.

The Brazilian should make his way to Milan next month and train with the squad a few weeks before he is eligible to play for the Nerazzurri, according to Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia).

In January 2016, Ramires ended a six-year spell in west London to join the expanding Chinese Super League in a deal worth £25m. Just two years after leaving Chelsea, the 30-year-old is now back in Europe ahead of his loan spell at San Siro.

The midfielder started his career at Brazilian side Joinville Esporte Clube, before a loan spell at Cruzeiro convinced the Raposa of signing Ramires in a deal worth £180k.

He then moved to Europe in 2009 to join Portuguese giants S.L. Benfica for just £6.75m and after just 12 months at the Estádio da Luz, Ramires swapped Lisbon for London in a £20m move to Chelsea.

The Brazilian international made over 260 appearances during his Blues career, winning the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup during his six years at Stamford Bridge.

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​​Ramires scored seven times in the 2017 season, as his side Jiangsu Suning finished a disappointing 12th in the Chinese Super League.

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8 of the Worst Crimes Against Traditional Squad Numbers in Football History

Long gone are the days when football clubs numbered their starting lineup from one to eleven. Now, players have the power to select their own squad numbers when they join a club.

Most are sensible and are given numbers appropriate to that player’s position. Number one is still given to goalkeepers, and forwards still often desire numbers like nine or ten. 

But sometimes those numbers are not available for selection and some bizarre decisions are made. Some players get creative with their selections, others get ludicrous. Some of these kit numbers are frankly criminal to those who prefer a more traditional numbering system. 

Here are eight of the biggest crimes against kit numbers in football… 

8. Ronaldinho, AC Milan: Number 80

When Brazilian midfield maestro Ronaldinho signed for Milan in 2008, he had an issue. His preferred number of choice, the number 10, was already worn by Clarence Seedorf. 

Instead of insisting on taking Seedorf’s number, Ronaldinho chose number 80 – the year of his birth. 

In doing so, Ronaldinho started a trend in Milan of players wearing their birth year as a kit number. Mathieu Flamini chose 84, and Andriy Shevchenko was 76. 

7. William Gallas, Arsenal: Number 10

There is something about a defender wearing a traditionally attacking player’s kit number which just feels wrong. It felt especially wrong for centre-back William Gallas to take the number at Arsenal, considering who wore it before him.

Dennis Bergkamp, one of the greatest players to ever play for Arsenal, was the number 10 before he retired in 2006. His iconic shirt number was given to a defender. 

Manager Arsene Wenger defended the decision by saying he did not want to give an attacking player the pressure of Bergkamp’s number. But still, William Gallas?

6. Nicklas Bendtner, Wolfsburg: Number 3

Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is guilty of two crimes against kit numbers in his career.

The first came at Arsenal when just before the 2009/2010 season, he quickly changed his number from 26 to 52 because it was a lucky number for him. He apologised to fans who had bought his jersey with the number 26 and said he would personally reimburse them.

But the second came in 2014 when he moved to Wolfsburg. Despite being a forward, he picked the number three shirt which is traditionally worn by defenders. However he didn’t do because number three was a significant number for him, apparently he let his mum pick it for him! 

5. Clint Dempsey, Tottenham: Number 2

During his time at Fulham, American Clint Dempsey was number 23. But when he got his big move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, he opted for a change. This time he chose the number two shirt for Spurs.

Typically a defender’s number, it was unusual to see it on the back of a forward’s shirt. Outside of football, Dempsey’s other passion hip hop music, where his rapper nickname is ‘Deuce’. At Spurs he was finally ‘Deuce’ both off and on the pitch.

4. Bixente Lizarazu, Bayern Munich: Number 69

When French left-back Bixente Lizarazu returned to Bayern Munich in 2005 he had a choice. Does he pick a shirt number traditionally fitting of a left-back? Or something completely absurd? 

He opted for the latter and selected number, ahem, 69. 

His reasoning? It was because he was born in 1969, his height was 1.69m and he weighed 69kg. It was definitely not for the other reason you are thinking of.

3. Hicham Zerouali, Aberdeen: Number 0

Hicham Zerouali is guilty of a kit crime so bizarre that the Scottish and English Premier Leagues passed a law to stop from happening ever again. 

The Moroccan striker had the nickname Zero, which comes from his surname. Naturally, he picked his shirt number as zero when he joined Aberdeen in 1999. 

The number was outlawed the following season.

2. Edgar Davids, Barnet: Number 1

In 2012, ageing Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids joined League Two side Barnet. He was placed in a player-manager role alongside Mark Robson. 

When Robson left the club in December 2012, Davids was placed solely in charge of the team and seemingly left to do what he wanted. The following season he announced he would wear the number one shirt.

He said he wanted to start a trend of midfielders wearing the number traditionally worn by goalkeepers. It did not catch on.

1. Ivan Zamorano, Inter Milan: Number 1+8

Ivan Zamorano represents a player truly dedicated to his kit number. The Chilean was Inter Milan’s number nine, until the arrival of Roberto Baggio from Bologna in 1998. 

Baggio insisted on wearing the number 10 shirt, but the Brazilian Ronaldo already wore that number. Chaos ensued. Baggio was granted number 10, and Ronaldo was given Zamorano’s number 9.

But Zamorano had a clever solution. In order to remain Inter’s number nine, he chose number 18 but put a ‘plus’ sign between the two numbers. Genius, but also utterly ridiculous. 

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Inter Centre-Back Milan Skriniar Plays Down Barcelona Switch Amid Speculation

​Internazionale centre-back Milan Skriniar has played down rumours of a possible transfer to Spanish giants Barcelona, following an impressive start to the season with the Nerazzurri.

Having made the switch to San Siro in the summer from Sampdoria, the 22-year-old has become a regular fixture in Luciano Spalletti’s starting eleven, having played all of Inter’s 12 league games this time out, scoring two goals along the way.

Despite interest from several high calibre sides, Skriniar insists he is happy at Inter, and wants to continue to help them climb further up the table.

As quoted by Italian outlet Calciomercato, the Slovakian defender said: “I am very happy about the results the team is earning. We struggled on Sunday against Torino, but Inter remain near the top of the table and close to Napoli.

“I put myself at the team’s disposal as best I can and I am also very pleased about the two goals I have scored.”

In addition to discussing life at his new club, he went on to ensure fans that he has no intention of leaving the club any time soon, and reports of interest from Barcelona are not on his mind right now.

FC Internazionale v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

“I’m an Inter player, and I do not talk about transfers,” he added. “Barça is always Barça, but I do not say anything. I’m at Inter and I’m very happy.”

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Mauro Icardi Reveals His Pick for Fantasy Football and the Team He Loves Scoring Against the Most

​Inter Milan’s man main Mauro Icardi recently took part in a new series, courtesy of Inter Milan, where he answered questions during his drive home from training.

Having scored 26 goals last season, as well as eleven already in Serie A this time out, the Argentine has been the subject of interest from a whole host of top European clubs, with Bayern Munich the most recent to express interest in him as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski.

During the drive home, the 24 year-old spoke about his personal life, as well as his antics on the pitch for the Nerazzurri.

As reported on Inter’s website, he said, “I know fantasy football, I know that a lot of people say they spend a lot to get me. Who would I buy? Hmm, Immobile he’s scoring a lot of goals this year!”

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile is currently on top of the Serie A goalscoring table with 14 goals, while Mauro Icardi is three behind on 11.

He goes on to say who he enjoys scoring against the most in Italy, and unsurprisingly, Italian champions Juventus are his favourite victims. In addition, he spoke of his love while playing against fierce rivals AC Milan.

“The team I like most to score against? Juventus, it’s the Italian ‘Clasico’, to score against a rival is always nice.

`”The hat-trick in the Derby Milano. It was unique feeling for all Interisti, to win the derby like that. 

FC Internazionale v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

“I also had the sense of regret about the penalty missed against Milan. I really felt the affection from the fans, especially from the youngest wins.”

Inter Milan and Icardi currently sit third in Serie A, two points behind league leader Napoli after 12 games.

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Bundesliga Champions Looking to Swoop for Inter Sharp-Shooter Mauro Icardi to Replace Lewandowski

​Inter Milan’s talisman Mauro Icardi is reportedly the subject of interest from Bayern Munich, whose main man Robert Lewandowski could potentially exit the club after casting doubt over his future.

Having been vocal about Bayern’s lack of activity during the summer transfer window, many have seen this as an indication that Poland’s all-time record goalscorer may seek a way out of the club.

FC Internazionale v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

The 29 year-old caused a commotion earlier in the season when he told Der Spiegel, via Marca: “Bayern need to do something to bring in more world class players. If you want to be competitive then you need players of this quality.

“Until now Bayern has not spent much more than 40m on a player and that figure is more or less the average in the transfer market.”

According to Spanish outlet Don Balon, the Bavarians are already lining up several replacements, with Argentine marksman Mauro Icardi among a list of potential replacements.

Having netted 26 goals last season for the Nerazzurri, the 24-year-old has continued his impressive goalscoring exploits this season, finding the net eleven times already in Serie A.

With a whole host of clubs tracking Inter’s star man, including Arsenal and Chelsea, the German champions will face stiff competition if they are to make a move for Icardi. 

Having been a prolific part of Inter Milan’s resurgence in recent seasons, he would certainly be a fitting replacement for Robert Lewandowski, should he leave the club.

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Lionel Messi Plays Down National Team Influence After Inter Striker Snubbed by Argentina

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has insisted that he didn’t influence the decision to leave Mauro Icardi out of the Argentina national team.

The Inter captain has been in scintillating form this season, scoring 11 goals in just 12 Serie A appearances. However, Icardi still wasn’t selected for the national team and it has been suggested that Messi had a part to play.

It was said that I didn’t want Icardi coming to the national team, but I’ve never decided if a player comes or not,” Messi told Olé (via Football Italia). Now it’s coming out that all that was said was a lie. I never said I didn’t want Icardi in the national team, nor did I make anyone leave other players out.

“Telling great players that they’re only playing because they’re Messi’s friend is disrespectful, and it’s also a total lie because I don’t run the national team.”

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It was suggested that Messi had a part to play due to his friendship with former Barcelona striker Maxi López. 

Icardi is considered one of the most hated players in football because of his personal history with his compatriot, the Inter striker now married to López’s ex-wife, 30-year-old Argentine media personality Wanda Nara.

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Portuguese Midfielder Open to PSG Move After Finding Lack of Game Time in Milan

João Mário has refused to rule out a January move to Paris Saint-Germain, admitting that there is still ‘a lot of time left’ before the transfer window reopens, according to ​Calcio Mercato.

The former Sporting CP midfielder moved to Inter in 2016, setting the Nerazzurri back £36m. Despite an impressive maiden campaign in Italy, where Mário registered 30 Serie A appearances, the 24-year-old has had limited playing time this season.

Obviously, I would like to play more, as there are many players who play the same position as me, but I can not do anything,” the Portuguese star said about his current game time.

The voices from Paris Saint-Germain are normal. I always stay focused, I do not get distracted because I’m used to it. 

“We’ll see, now I think it’s still early, there ‘s still a lot of time left before the January market and I’ll see what’s going to happen and then make a decision on what’s best for my career.”

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​​Mário would be a fantastic addition to the Paris Saint-Germain squad, especially considering the current transition the French giants are going through. However, any potential move would likely rest on players leaving the club before any more big money signings can be made.

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