Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inter Milan Greatest All-time Team

2010 Champions' League
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

All-Time Team Under Helenio Herrera
Inter Milan All-Time Greatest Players for Italian players
Inter Milan All-Time Team for Foreign Players

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Inter Milan won back-to-back European Cup in the early 1960's.  Led by Coach Helenio Herrera, the team was known as "La Grande Inter".  Herrera introduced a new tactics that would changed Italian football.  His method revolutionized the Italian "Catenaccio", a defensive tactics used by the Italians.   Under Herrera, Inter Milan played with hard-tackling defenders and overlapping fullbacks.  In 2009-2010, Inter Milan won the Champions League again under Jose Mourinho. 
La Grande Inter
GK: Walter Zenga (Italy)
Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 WC Finals in Italy. He had five clean sheet, a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing in the WC Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Sampdoria, Padova and New England Revolution in the MLS of the USA. He won two UEFA Cups with Inter Milan.
Walter Zenga
GK: Gianluca Pagliuca (Italy)
Gianluca Pagliuca made his name with Sampdoria, winning the league in 1990-1991 and reaching the European Cup's final in 1992.  In 1994, Inter Milan broke the world transfer record for a keeper to sign him.  While at Inter, he reached UEFA Cup Final twice, winning it in 1997-1998.  For the national team, he was the starting keeper at both USA 1994 and France 1998.  

GK: Giuliano Sarti (Italy) 
Giuliano Sarti had done well in European football.  In 1960-61, he helped Fiorentina to win the Cup Winners' Cup.  In 1963, he joined Inter Milan and became the starting keeper of La Grande Inter under Helenio Herrera.  He won back-to-back European Cup with them in 1964 and 1965. He only had 8 caps with the Italian national team.

RB: Javier Zanetti (Argentina)
Javier Zanetti was the starting rightback for Inter Milan for almost 20 years.  He served as their captain from 1999, earning him the nickname "Il Capitano" (The Captain).  He held all kind of appearance records in Italy.  He widely considered to be Argentina's best ever rightback.  He holds the record of the most capped player in the history of the Argentine national team and played in the 1996 Olympic tournament, five Copa América tournaments and two World Cups, in 1998 and 2002.
Javier Zanetti
RB: Tarcisio Burgnich (Italy) 
Throughout his career, Burgnich played for Udinese, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale, and Napoli; although he won titles with both Juventus and Napoli, he is best known for his time with Inter Milan, where he was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.  He also participated and won the Euro 1968 with Italy. 

CB/RB:  Giuseppe Bergomi (Italy)
Giuseppe Bergomi was one of Inter Milan's greatest defender, winning one scudetto and three UEFA Cups with them.  He played his entire career with Inter Milan.  He held the record of most appearance in the UEFA Cup. Bergomi won the World Cup in 1982 and appeared in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup Finals. He was capped 81 times between 1982 and 1998.

SW: Armando Picchi (Italy)
Armando Picchi was the captain of La Garnde Inter.  The team was transformed when Helenio Herrera moved him to the libero position during the 1961-1962 season and a legendary team was born.  He was often credited of changing how the position was played. He was capped 12 times by the Azzurri, but he was left out of the 1966 World Cup team and an injury prevented him from playing at the European Championship of 1968, in which Italy won.
Amando Picchi
CB: Riccardo Ferri (Italy)
Riccardo Ferri spent most of his career with Inter Milan.  With them, he won two UEFA Cups in 1991 and 1994, and a Serie A title in 1989.  He had 45 caps.  He played at the 1988 European Championship and the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. Between 1994 and 1996, he played with Sampdoria along side his former Inter Milan teammate Walter Zenga. 

CB: Giuseppe Baresi (Italy)
Giuseppe Baresi spent 16 seasons at Inter Milan while captaining the team from 1988 to 1992.  He won two league titles and the UEFA Cup in 1990-1991.  For the national team, he was a starter at the World Cup Finals in 1986. He was also at the European Championship in 1980, where he played alongside his younger brother Franco Baresi of AC Milan. It was the only tournament where both brothers attempted together.
Giuseppe Baresi
LB: Andreas Brehme (Germany)
Andreas Brehme is best remembered for his career with Kaiserslautern and Inter Milan.  He was the Serie A Foreign Player of the Year in 1989, in an era where the best players played in Italy.  He was an important player for West Germany in the 1990 WC Finals, where he scored the winning goal in the Final. He had 86 caps and attended the World Cup Finals of 1986 and 1994.

LB: Giacinto Facchetti (Italy) 
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times for Italy. He was the captain of the nation team that won the European Championship in 1968 with Italy. He also played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
 Giacinto Facchetti
DM: Gabriele Oriali (Italy)
Gabriele Oriali was the starting defensive midfielder at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.  He also participated in Euro 1980. For Italy, he had 28 caps between 1978 and 1983. He was a great destroyer at his time.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Fiorentina. He won two scudettos and two Italian Cups with Inter Milan.

CM/DM: Aldo Campatelli (Italy)
Born in Milan, Aldo Campatelli made his debut with Inter Milan at the age of 17 in 1939.  He played with them until 1950.  He won two Serie A titles with Inter Milan before the war as their captain.  From 1950 to 1953, he played with Bologna.    He was capped 7 times between 1939 and 1950, and a member of the 1950 World Cup team.

CM: Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
Lothar Matthaus captained the West German national team in winning the World Cup in 1990.  He was the European Player of the Year and the first ever World Player of the year in 1990. He played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), a record for an outfield player, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He also won the Euro 1980 in Italy, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 European Championships.
Lothar Matthaus
CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes (Spain)
Luis Suarez Miramontes was considered to be Spain's greatest player until 1970's.  He won Ballon d'Or in 1960.  In 1964, he led La Roja in winning the European Championship.  For club football, he was a member of "Grande Inter" and won two consecutive European Cups with Inter Milan. He is also considered an all-time great with Barcelona, where he played with Ladislao Kubala, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, Ramallets and Evaristo.

CM/AM: Sandro Mazzola (Italy) 
Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.
Sandro Mazzola
LW/FW: Istvan Nyers (Hungary)
Istvan Nyers was of the same age as the members of the Mighty Magyars, but he was not a member of them.  He was capped twice by Hungary between 1945 and 1946. Born in France of Hungarian immigrants, he moved back to Hungary and played for various numbers of clubs in Eastern Europe.   He joined Inter Milan in 1948, where he won two Serie A titles and finished as the top scorer of the league.

LW: Lennart Skoglund (Sweden)
Lennart Skoglund is regarded as one of Sweden's greatest players.  He played in Italy from 1950 to 1963.  His best stint was probably with Inter Milan.  He also played for  Hammarby IF, Sampdoria and Palermo.  He only had 11 caps because Sweden's ban on professional players. He was a star in the World Cup Finals in 1950, where Sweden finished 3rd behind Uruguay and Brazil.  He also played in 1958, where they finished 2nd.

LW: Mario Corso (Italy)
Mario Corso was one of the greatest Italian wingers.  Nicknamed "God's Left Foot", he was a part of La Grande Inter of the 1960's. Except for two seasons with Genoa at the end of his career, he played his entire career with Inter Milan. At the international level, he earned 23 caps for Italy, but was never selected for any major tournament.

AM: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
Sneijder emerged from the Ajax Academy before making to the first team in 2002.  He moved to Real Madrid in 2007, where he won a La Liga title in 2006-2007.  He also won a Champions' League title with Inter Milan in 2009-2010.  At the time of writing, he has 114 caps for Netherlands.  He was the star player for Netherlands as they reached the Final of South Africa 2010. He won the Silver Ball.  He moved to Galatasaray in 2013.
Wesley Sneijder
RW: Jair da Costa (Brazil) 
Jair played with Portuguese before heading to Europe after the World Cup Finals in 1962.  In Europe, he was a part of La Grande Inter.  He also won 4 Serie A titles and 2 European Cup with Inter Milan.  He had one spell at Roma between two spells with Inter Milan. He returned to Brazil and played for Santos in 1972. His international career was limited by playing in the same position as Garrincha.  He was a non-playing memeber of the 1962 World Cup winning team.

FW: Giuseppe Meazza (Italy)
Giuseppe Meazza is one of Italy's greatest players. He had 53 caps, scorimg 33 times. He led Italy winning two World Cups in 1934 and 1938.  He was probably the best player in the 1930's.  He was the best player at the 1934 World Cup Finals. He played mainly for Inter Milan in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club. He also played for AC Milan, Juventus, Varese, and Atalanta.

FW: Alessandro Altobelli (Italy)
Alessandro Altobelli played for Latina and Brescia before joining Inter Milan in 1977, where he became a star at the club.  He scored over 200 goals for them.  He also spent a season with Juventus in the 1988-1989 season before joining Brescia.  For the Italian national team, he had 61 caps. He was best-remembered for scoring a goal against West Germany at the World Cup Final in 1982. He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.
Alessandro Altobelli
CF: Antonio Angelillo (Argentina/Italy)
Antonio Angelillo was a member of the "Angeles With Dirty Faces" of Argentina. He moved  in 1957 to Italy after Argentina won the Copa America in 1957.  He scored 31 goals in 31 matches for Inter Milan in the 1958-59 season, the second highest record at the time. He also played with Roma, Genoa, Lecce and AC Milan.  He was with AC Milan when they won the European Cup, but he did not play. He earned 2 caps for Italy.

ST: Roberto Boninsegna (Italy)
Roberto Boninsegna was a key player as Italy reached the World Cup Final in 1970, scoring Italy's lone goal at the Final.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1974, but was overlooked for the European Championship in 1968. For his club career, his best years were with Inter Milan, where he won a single scudetto.  In 1976, he joined Juventus, winning two more scudetto, an Italian Cup and an UEFA Cup.  He was Serie A Top Scorer twice (1970–71, 1971–72).
Roberto Boinsegna
Honable Mention
Luigi Cevenini, Virgilio Fossati , Benito Lorenzi, Gianfranco Bedin, Luigi Allemandi, Giampiero Marini, Attilio De Maria, Evaristo Beccalossi, Esteban Cambiasso,  Aristide Guarneri, Maicon, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Nicola Berti, Angelo Domenghini, Dejan Stankovic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Milito,  Ronaldo, Samuel Eto'o, Faass Wilkes, Jurgen Klinsmann, Christian Vieri, Francesco Toldo, Julio Cesar, Christian Chivu, Ivan Cordoba, Benito Lorenzi, Annibale Frossi, Gino Armano, Giorgio Ghezzi, Graziano Bini, Attilio Giovannini.

Squad Explantion
-- The greatest ever players from Inter Milan are probably Giacinto Facchetti, Giuseppe Meazza, Sandro Mazzola and Javier Zanetti and Giuseppe Bergomi.  They are my first players selected onto the team.  Giuseppe Baresi and Alessandro Altobelli were also close enough.
-- Inter Milan won back-to-back European Cup in the early 1960's with a team known as "Grande Inter".    Manager Helenio Herrera transferred the team into the best team in Europe.  He also created one of the best defensive club team in history. From that team, I selected Luis Suarez,  Sandro Mazzola, Mario Corso, Jair da Costa, Giuliano Sarti, Tarcisio Burgnich, Armando Picchi and Giacinto Facchetti. 
-- Inter Milan won the 2010 Champions' League under manaher Jose Mourinho. The 2010 Champions' League winning team is underrepresented.   Wesley Sneijder and Javier Zanetti are the only two players selected. Diego Milito, Maicon, Samuel Eto'o and Esteban Cambiasso only made honorable mentions. Sneijder should have won the Ballon d'or that year. He also had a great World Cup Finals. 
-- San Siro is actually named the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium.  If Inter Milan's stadium is named after Giuseppe Meazza, he must be on this team.  
-- Tarcisio Burgnich and Javier Zanetti kept Maicon and Luigi Allemandi out of the squad.  Burgnich was a part of La Grande Inter. Javier Zanetti spent 19 years with the club.  He is one of the automatic selections. 
-- Andreas Brehme was the Serie A Foreign Player of the Year in 1989, in an era where the best players played in Italy. Given that he was fullback made it even harder to win the award.  Alongside with Lother Matthaus and Jurgen Klinsmann, they had a rivalry the Dutch trio from AC Milan in the 1990's.  Lother Matthaus made the team while Klinsmann is only on honorable mention.
-- I really want to select Ivan Cordoba and Walter Samuel.  I don't even have space for Aristide Guarneri who was a part of La Grande Inter.  So how can I find space for them? Giuseppe Bergomi, Ricardo Ferri, Giuseppe Baresi and Armando Picchi were great players who also were long term Inter Milan players.    
-- Inter Milan has great keepers. Walter Zenga was a lock for the starting spot.  Julio CesarGiuliano Sarti, Francesco Toldo, Giorgio Ghezzi and Gianluca Pagliuca were the alternatives.  Most of the lists I found ranked Ghezzi and Toldo right behind Zenga.  Instead, I opted to select Pagliuca and Sarti. Julio Cesar is the goalkeeper of the year in Serie A, but his reputation is being hurt by the 2014 World Cup Finals.
-- Antonio Angelillo, Alessandro Altobelli, Giuseppe Meazza and Roberto Boninsegna were locks on the team for the forward position. So I had to cut Benito Lorenzi.   
-- I wanted at least one modern attackers on the team.  Jurgen Klinsmann, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Milito, Christian Vieri, Ronaldo and Samuel Eto'o were on the short list. All the players spent less than 5 years with Inter Milan.  Ronaldo did not win anything important and injuries cut shot of his stay.  Milito scored two important goals for the Champions' league Final, but I do not rate him as high.  Klinsmann did not do enough for Inter Milan comparing to the rest of the team. I nearly took Vieri because his career with Inter Milan was longer than the players mentioned and scored more goals. In the end, I selected Wesley Sneijder. Why? This is an Italian team.  So I need someone who could play "trequartistas". Besides, he helped to win the Champions' league in 2010. 
-- Christian Vieri was the last player cut.  I considered dropping Aldo Campatelli for Vieri.

The formation is based upon Helenio Herrera's La Grande Inter.  Facchetti, Picchi, Mazzola, Suarez, Jair and Corso were on the original lineup.  Mathaus was more of a box-to-box midfielder, but in his youth, he did play as a defensive midfielder.  Meazza, Bergomi and Zanetti are the obvious starters for the remaining positions.


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