Rummenigge: ‘Conte has changed Inter’

Former striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge gives coach Antonio Conte the credit for Inter’s position in Serie A and said Romelu Lukaku ‘was reborn’ in Milan.

The current Bayern Munich chairman spent three years as a player at the Giuseppe Meazza, as he moved to the Nerazzurri in 1984, before he finished his career with Servette FC in Switzerland.

The former German international is impressed by the work of coach Antonio

“The stability in the performances and tactics is very interesting,” Rummenigge told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s a tactic that adapts to the team, thanks to Conte, who did a great job. You can see that Inter are different from the one when he arrived two years ago.

“I like it because they are consistent at the back and exceptional in attack. Lautaro and Lukaku are doing really well.

“But the midfield too. It’s a team well chosen by the club and my friend [CEO Beppe] Marotta. It’s a pleasure to watch Inter on TV.”

The former centre-forward doesn’t see any similarities between himself and Romelu Lukaku, but stressed the Belgian forward ‘was reborn’ in Milan.

“He’s different. He’s physically a colossus,” Rummenigge said. “But he gets along technically too. He doesn’t only rely on his physical nature, he’s good.

“In the derby he made an exceptional assist to Lautaro. Lukaku has technical skills that were not seen so much in Manchester. He too was reborn thanks to Inter.”

Rummenigge said the Nerazzurri have done well to not let the situation off the pitch influence the Scudetto battle.

“I heard of the difficulties,” he said. “I’m sorry, but also in this respect they are doing well in the dressing room.

“They don’t let themselves be influenced in the least. It’s a team with great character, they have a great desire to win.”

Bayern Munich have been linked with a move for Marcelo Brozovic, but the chairman said there hasn’t been any contact between the two clubs.

“We never had any contact, honestly,” Rummenigge added. “The market will be very complicated for everyone this year.

“Last year, the market was already a bit overwhelmed, this year it’s still down. The prices of players have fallen by 50 per cent, but the agents have ensured that the good players have kept their earnings at the old level.

“I feel that all the clubs in Europe are trying to lower the cost of wages. And every club – large, medium, and small – have their troubles.”

Bayern host Lazio in the Champions League tomorrow, leading 4-1 from the first leg in Rome.

“We are currently champions of everything,” Rummenigge continued. “We’re at the top of the UEFA ranking.

“Our team have two great strengths. First: very high quality. Second: we respect all opponents. We don’t enter the pitch with the arrogance to believe we have already won.

“The difference between pre-virus football and the current one is that there’s no difference to play at home or away, there are no fans.

“It’s a neutral pitch. But the important thing will be to have the respect we had in Roma, for a team who finished fourth in the League last term and have a great attack.

“It always counts not to take anything for granted.”

With Atalanta trailing Real Madrid ahead of their clash in the Spanish capital tonight, Italy risks seeing all their teams being eliminated before the quarter-finals.

“It may be a coincidence. Last year Atalanta arrived in the quarter-finals and were unlucky to be eliminated against Paris Saint-Germain.

“It’s a time when Italian football does less well, but I remember the first decade of the 2000s, how Milan, Juve and Inter all went very far.

“Now it’s getting harder and harder, just look at who’s out.”

Rummenigge admitted he was surprised by Juventus exit from the last 16 this term but doesn’t believe the investment in Ronaldo has been poor due to the lack of a Champions League trophy.

“Yeah, I watched the match. What happens, sometimes just happens. The others score goals and kill you,” he said.

“It wasn’t Ronaldo’s best day against Porto, he knows it too. It happens. But generally it’s a good investment, it has made the Juve brand more famour.

“And then he scored many, many goals. Three on Sunday too, right?
“A player is important, but he alone cannot make the difference.”

Rummenigge confirmed he will step down after his contract expires after the season.

“I don’t have a final decision,” he said. “My contract expires at the end of the year, then I’ll take a break.

“It was much more difficult to understand when I quit as a footballer. Now, I have an exceptional family, I’m fine.

“I enjoy my life, if I want, I can do something, otherwise, I’ll be a pensioner like everyone else at my age.”