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
AC MilanJuventusInter Milan,

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. 

Founded in 1908 following a schism within the Milan Cricket and Football Club (now A.C. Milan), Inter won its first championship in 1910. Since its formation, the club has won 30 domestic trophies, including 18 league titles, 7 Coppa Italia and 5 Supercoppa Italiana. From 2006 to 2010, the club won five successive league titles, equalling the all-time record at that time.

La Grande Inter

GK: Walter Zenga (Italy)
Walter Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 World Cup  Finals in Italy. He had five clean sheets, a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing in the World Cup Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan where he is one of their greatest players, 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: 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 later served as a backup in Juventus. He had 8 caps with the Italian national team between 1959 and 1967.

GK: Francesco Toldo (Italy)
Toldo started with AC Milan, but never got his chance.  He later starred for Fiorentina and Inter Milan.  With Inter Milan, he was a a part of the team that won five Serie A titles. He was one of the best keepers in the world in his prime.  He had stiff competition in the national team from Angelo Peruzzi and Gianluigi Buffon, but still managed to start during the Euro 2000.  He was the hero of the semifinal game vs Holland and named to the team of the tournament. 

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/CB: 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 won two European Cups. He also participated and won the European Championship in 1968 with Italy.  In total, he had 66 caps.  he went to the 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals.

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 is Inter Milan All-Time appearance leader and a one club man.  He also 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 between 1986 and 1992.  He played at the 1988 European Championship and the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. Italy reached semifinal on each occasion.  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.  He spent two years in Moderna before retiring .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.  He had 18 caps between 1979 and 1986.

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 World Cup Finals, where he scored the winning goal in the Final. He had 86 caps between 1984 and 1994, and attended the World Cup Finals of 1986 and 1994. He is best known for scoring the winning goal for Germany in the 1990 FIFA World Cup final.

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. He placed second for the Ballon d'Or in 1965.

 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 European Championship in 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 between 1970 and 1983, but also with Fiorentina between 1983 and 1987. He won two scudettos and two Italian Cups with Inter Milan.

CM: Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina)
Esteban Cambiasso has won 23 official titles, being the Argentine footballer with most honours in history. The majority of his titles were won during his ten seasons at Internazionale, including five Scudetti and the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League. He also played for River Plate, Independiente, Real Madrid, Leicester City and Olympiacos. Cambiasso won 52 caps for Argentina, and represented the country at the 2006 World Cup.

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 European Championship  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
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.

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
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. In total, he played 61 times for Italy, scoring 25 goals between 1980 and 1988.

Alessandro Altobelli
ST: Ronaldo (Brazil)
Ronaldo was widely considered among the greatest ever to have play the game.  He led Brazil to two WC Finals matches, winning the one in 2002.  He scored 8 goals in 2002.  He was the winner of Ballon d'Or twice and the FIFA World Player of the Year three times.  He is the second top-scorer in WC history.  He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for both AC Milan and Inter Milan. His moves to Spain and Italy made him only the second player, after Diego Maradona, to break the world transfer record twice, all before his 21st birthday.

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
Julio Cesar (Brazil), Gianluca Pagliuca (Italy), Giorgio Ghezzi (Italy), Ivano Bordon (Italy), Samir Handanović (Slovenia), Luigi Allemandi (Italy), Maicon (Brazil), Christian Chivu (Romania), Ivan Cordoba (Colombia), Lucio (Brazil), Walter Samuel (Aregentina), Marco Materazzi (Italy), Aristide Guarneri (Italy), Virgilio Fossati (Italy), Giampiero Marini (Italy), Evaristo Beccalossi (Italy), Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina), Nicola Berti (Italy), Mario Bertini (Italy), Diego Simeone (Argentina), Thiago Motta (Italy), Gianfranco Bedin (Italy), Dejan Stankovic (Serbia), Angelo Domenghini (Italy), Gino Armano (Italy), Virgilio Fossati (Italy), Armando Castellazz (Italy), Luigi Cevenini (Italy), Aldo Campatelli (Italy), Angelo Domenghini (Italy), Annibale Frossi (Italy), Gino Armano (Italy), Graziano Bini (Italy), Attilio Giovannini (Italy), Youri Djorkaeff (France), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany), Attilio Demaría (Italy), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Diego Milito (Argentina), Ronaldo (Brazil), Samuel Eto'o Cameroon), Faass Wilkes (Netherlands), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany), Christian Vieri (Italy), Benito Lorenzi (Italy).

Squad Explantion
-- The original team was created in 2016.  I edited this team in June, 2024.
-- 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. 
-- The late 1980s witnessed a challenging atmosphere for Inter Milan to have domestic success, largely due to the dominance of Arrigo Sacchi's AC Milan and Diego Maradona's Napoli. However, Inter Milan managed to secure the Scudetto in 1989, under the guidance of Giovanni Trapattoni. The team's success was primarily built upon their defensive strength, as they clinched the title with a remarkable eleven-point lead.  The team only conceded nineteen goals while suffering just two defeats throughout the entire season. They also won the UEFA Cup. Giuseppe Baresi, Alessandro Altobelli and Giuseppe Bergomi were the important Italian players on the team. Of course, one should not overlook the impact of German trios of Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus, and Jurgen Klinsmann.  They ignited a fierce rivalry with the Dutch trio from AC Milan during the late 1980s.  The rivalry between Germany and the Netherlands spilled into the Derby della Madonnina. Their national teams also met in the round of 16 during the 1990 World Cup Finals held in San Siro.  Matthaus and Brehme made the team while Klinsmann is only on honorable mention.

1991 UEFA Cup
-- Inter Milan won the 2010 Champions' League under manager Jose Mourinho. The 2010 Champions' League winning team is underrepresented.   Esteban Cambiasso,Wesley Sneijder and Javier Zanetti are the only two players selected. Diego Milito, Maicon and Samuel Eto'o only made honorable mentions. Sneijder should have won the Ballon d'or that year. He also had a great World Cup Finals. 
-- Inter Milan has great keepersWalter Zenga was a lock for the starting spot.  Fondly referred to as "Spider-Man" due to his remarkable agility and penalty-saving prowess, he graced Inter's ranks throughout the 1980s and 1990s, playing a vital role in their triumphant Serie A campaign of 1988-1989. He was the overwhelming choice as the greatest goalkeeper for Inter Milan.
-- Giuliano Sarti was one of the protagonists of Inter's victory in the European Cup in 1964 and other domestic competitions.  
-- The third goalkeeper was between Francesco Toldo, Julio Cesar, Gianluca Pagliuca, Giorgio Ghezzi, Ivano Bordon and Samir Handanović.
-- Júlio César played a pivotal role in Inter's historic Treble victory during the 2009-2010 season.  He also named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year twice. Samir Handanović captained the team to triumph in the 2020-2021 Serie A season, ending an arduous 11-year wait for glory. Gianluca Pagliuca was instrumental in securing the UEFA Cup for Inter Milan in 1991, but his time in Inter Milan was short.  Ivano Bordon helped Inter win Serie A titles in both 1971 and 1980, and two Coppa Italia titles. He helped to reach the European Cup final in 1972.  In the end, I took Francesco Toldo.  He played in goal for  Nerazzurri goal for almost a decade.  Toldo helped to bring home twelve trophies.
-- Piero Campelli, Valentino Degani, Lido Vieri and Lorenzo Buffon. Lorenzo Buffon was known for his career in AC Milan.  He actually helped Inter Milan to reach the semi-finals of the 1960-1961 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.  But he won't make this team as an AC Milan greatest goalkeeper.
-- During Armando Picchi's captaincy, Inter Milan known as "Grande Inter" as they achieved remarkable success in the 1960s. Under Picchi's leadership, the team secured three scudetti, two European Champions Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups. Giuseppe Bergomi spent over 20 seasons in Inter Milan.  He could play in different positions, but I selected him as a central defender. Giuseppe Baresi played for Inter Milan from 1976 to 1992, making nearly 400 Serie A appearances.  He was also a part of the Inter Milan side that won the 1990/91 UEFA Cup.  Ricardo Ferri was a key member of Inter's defense in the 1988-89 season, where they set a record for the fewest goals conceded in Serie A.  All four central defenders were long time player for the team.
Giuseppe Baresi
-- I really want to select Lucio, Ivan Cordoba and Walter Samuel.  I don't even have space for Aristide Guarneri who was a part of La Grande Inter.  Lucio won the treble, but only spent 3 seasons here. Marco Materazzi was underrated.
-- Tarcisio Burgnich was a part of La Grande Inter. Javier Zanetti spent 19 years with the club.  He held the appearance record in Inter Milan.  They kept Maicon out of the squad.  
-- Before the emerge of Paulo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest leftback. 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.  So the leftback position was easily set.
-- The formidable defensive quartet of Maicon, Walter Samuel, Maicon, Lucio and Christian Chivu supported by goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Javier Zanetti as a defensive midfielder played a pivotal role in Inter Milan's triumphant treble-winning campaign during the 2009/10 season.  Gazzetta dello Sport chose them as the most formidable defensive unit in Serie A over the past two decades. But only Zanetti made my Inter Milan All-Time team. 
-- For defensive midfielders, I had to take Gabriele Oriali.  He was undisputed for this position.  In 2017, I had Aldo Campatelli (Italy) on the team, but I decided to select another deeper player. Nicola Berti deserved a spot, especially this team lacked defensive presence in the midfield.  Mario Bertini scored 31 goals for Inter Milan, despite being primarily a defensive player. Diego Simeone only spent two seasons at the club. Thiago Motta played on the treble team. In th end, I added Esteban Cambiasso who was being kept off by Lothar Matthaus in 2017 to the team.  He spent 10 seasons with the club, winning many titles. I needed a deeper midfielder than Aldo Campatelli.
 Gabriele Oriali
-- Lothar Matthaus was named the European and World Soccer Player of the Year in 1990 while he was an Inter Milan player, but he won it for leading West Germany to the World Cup title. He was also named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1991.  He actually started as a defensive player who evolved into all-round midfielder.  He kept Gianfranco Bedin off the team.  Bedin was well-respected because he played for La Grande Inter.  and Dejan Stankovic (Serbia) were both box-to-box midfielders who were kept out by Matthaus.
-- 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.  In his early years, he played as an offensive winger with an eye for goal; he subsequently moved to midfield and later also played as a defender. 
-- Virgilio Fossati, Atilio Demaría and Armando Castellazzi were early star of the club.
-- Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter". He played in front of Luis Suarez. Both were two of Inter Milan's greatest footballers.  I also 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 as one of the best players. 
-- On the left wing, Inter Milan had depth. Mario Corso, Istvan Nyers and Lennart Skoglund were close to being disputed selections.  I did not need three left wingers, but it was hard to drop any of them. Corso must be included since he was a big part of la Grande Inter.  Lennart Skoglund and Istvan Nyers actually formed a famous deadly trio with Benito Lorenzi.  Nyers could play as a center forward, where he was Inter Milan's 7th all-time leading scorer.  However, I do not need him for his scoring prowess. I was looking for a wide player on the left.
-- The right winger position belonged to Jair.  Angelo Domenghini and Gino Armano only made honorable mentions. Luis Figo came at the end of his career, but still managed to be named Inter Milan Player of the Year once.
-- 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.  He also spent 14 years at the club.  He is Inter Milan's greatest ever player.
Giuseppe Meazza
-- Talent wise, Ronaldo was the greatest ever player ever donned the Black and Blue jersey. He also played a pivotal role in securing victory for the team in the 1998 UEFA Cup. In his debut season with the club, he set an outstanding record by scoring 25 goals, the highest number ever achieved by a player in their first Serie A season. In 1998 alone, he was honored as the UEFA Most Valuable Player, Serie A Footballer of the Year, UEFA Best Forward, and UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, showcasing his exceptional talent and impact on the field. Almost every Inter Milan All-Time lists ranked him as one of the greatest ever players.  How could I not select him? 
-- Alessandro Altobelli and Roberto Boninsegna were locks on the team for the forward position. They were the second and third All-Time leading scorers for Inter Milan.  So I had to cut Benito Lorenzi.   
-- Antonio Angelillo was on the team in 2017, but I dropped him in 2024.  He 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 earned 2 caps for Italy.
-- I wanted at least one modern attackers on the team.  Jurgen Klinsmann, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Milito, Christian Vieri, and Samuel Eto'o were on the short list. All the players spent less than 5 years with Inter Milan.   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. 

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.


  1. This is better: