History of Inter Milan
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (May 2014)|
This is the history of Football Club Internazionale Milano, commonly referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, and colloquially known as Inter Milan outside of Italy, a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy.
Foundation and early years (1908–1922)
The club was founded on 9 March 1908 as Foot-Ball Club Internazionale, following a "schism" from the Milan Cricket and Football Club (44 members). A group of Italians and Swiss (Giorgio Muggiani, a painter who also designed the club's logo; Bossard; Lana; Bertoloni; De Olma; Enrico Hintermann; Arturo Hintermann; Carlo Hintermann; Pietro Dell'Oro; Hugo and Hans Rietmann; Voelkel; Maner; Wipf; and Carlo Ardussi) were unhappy about the domination of Italians in the Milan team, and broke away from them, leading to the creation of Internazionale. The name of the club derives from the wish of its founding members to accept foreign players as well as Italians.
After early years (1922–1960)
In 1922 Inter were in Group B of the CCI First Division and came in last place after picking up only 11 points in the season. Inter remained in the top league after winning two salvation play-offs.
In 1928, during the Fascist era, the club was forced to merge with the Unione Sportiva Milanese and was renamed Società Sportiva Ambrosiana. They wore white shirts around this time with a red cross emblazoned on it. This shirt design was inspired by the flag and coat of arms of the city of Milan, which in turn derives from the flag of the patron saint of Milan, St. Ambrose and dates back to the 4th century AD. The new upcoming President Oreste Simonotti decided to change name to Associazione Sportiva Ambrosiana in 1929. However, supporters continued to call the team Inter, and in 1931 (after U.S. Milanese reconstitution) new president Pozzani caved to shareholder pressure and changed the name to Associazione Sportiva Ambrosiana-Inter.
Their first Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) was won in 1938–39, led by the great legend Giuseppe Meazza, for whom the San Siro stadium is officially named, and a fifth league championship followed in 1940, despite an injury to Meazza. After the end of World War II the club re-emerged under their original name: Internazionale. Following the war, Inter won its sixth championship in 1953 and the seventh in 1954.
Grande Inter (1960–1968)
In 1960, Helenio Herrera joined Internazionale from Barcelona, bringing with him his midfield general Luis Suárez, who won the European Footballer of the Year in the same year for his role in Barcelona's La Liga/Fairs Cup double. He would transform Internazionale into one of the greatest teams in Europe. He modified a 5–3–2 tactic known as the Verrou (door bolt) to include larger flexibility for counterattacks. The Catenaccio system was invented by an Austrian coach named Karl Rappan. Rappan's original system was implemented with 4 fixed defenders, playing a strict man-to-man marking system, plus a playmaker in the middle of the field who plays the ball together with two midfield wings. Herrera would modify it by adding a fifth defenders, the sweeper or libero behind the two centre backs. The sweeper or libero who acted as the free man would deal with any attackers who went through the two centre backs. Internazionale finished 3rd in Serie A his first season, 2nd the next year and first in his 3rd season. And then followed a back-to-back European Cup victory in 1964 and 1965. Herrera earned the title ll Mago, which meant the magician. The code of Herrera's team was the fullbacks Tarcisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti, Armando Picchi the sweeper, Luis Suárez the playmaker, Jair the winger, Mario Corso the left midfielder, and Sandro Mazzola who played the inside-right.
In 1964, Internazionale reached the Final by beating Borussia Dortmund in the semifinal and FK Partizan in the quarterfinal. In the Final, they met Real Madrid, a team that had reached seven out of the nine finals to date. Real Madrid consisted of the ageing stars of the 1950s and a few emerging players that won the European Cup in 1966. It was Sandro Mazzola who stole the show by scoring two goals in a 3–1 victory.
Internazionale won the Intercontinental Cup against Independiente.
Internazionale won the Intercontinental Cup against Independiente for the second year in a row.
In 1967 club changed name in Football Club Internazionale Milano.
After Helenio Herrera era (1968–1990)
Following the golden era of the 1960s, Inter managed to win their eleventh league title in 1971 and their twelfth in 1980. Inter were defeated for the second time in five years in the final of the European Cup, going down 0–2 to Johan Cruijff's Ajax Amsterdam in 1972. During the 1970s and the 1980s, Inter also added two to its Coppa Italia tally, in 1977–78 and 1981–82.
Led by the German duo of Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthäus, and Argentine Ramón Díaz, Inter captured the 1989 Serie A championship. Fellow German Jürgen Klinsmann and the Italian Supercup were added the following season but to little avail as Inter were unable to defend their title.
The 1990s was a period of disappointment. While their great rivals, Milan and Juventus, were achieving success both domestically and in Europe, Inter were left behind, with repeated mediocre results in the domestic league standings, their worst coming in 1993–94 when they finished just 1-point out of the relegation zone. Nevertheless, they achieved some European success with 3 UEFA Cup victories in 1991, 1994 and 1998.
With Massimo Moratti's takeover from Ernesto Pellegrini in 1995 Inter were promised more success with many high profile signings like Ronaldo and Christian Vieri, with Inter twice breaking the world record transfer fee in this period (£19.5 million for Ronaldo from Barcelona in summer 1997 and £31 million for Christian Vieri from Lazio in summer 1999). However, the 1990s remained a decade of disappointment, and is the only decade in Inter's history in which they did not win a single Italian Serie A championship. For Inter fans it was difficult to find who in particular was to blame for the troubled times and this led to some icy relations between them and the president, the managers and even some individual players.
Inter chairman Massimo Moratti later became a target of the fans, especially when he sacked the much-loved coach Luigi Simoni after only a few games into the 1998/99 season, after having just received Italian manager of the year award 1998 the day before Massimo Moratti decided to end his contract. In the 1998–99 season Inter failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time in almost 10 years, finishing in a poor eighth place.
In the 1999–00 season, Massimo Moratti made some major changes, marking once again some high-profile signings. A major coup for Inter was the appointment of former Juventus manager Marcello Lippi. Moreover, Inter were seen by the majority of the fans and press to have finally put together a winning formula. Other signings included Italian and French legends Angelo Peruzzi and Laurent Blanc together with other former Juventus players Christian Vieri and Vladimir Jugović. Inter were also seen to have an advantage in this season as they had no European "distraction". Once again they failed to win the elusive Scudetto. However they did manage to come close to their first domestic success since 1989 when they reached the Coppa Italia final only to be defeated by Lazio, allowing them to win the Scudetto and domestic cup double.
The following season another disaster struck. Inter impressed in the Supercoppa Italia match against Lazio and took the lead through new signing Robbie Keane and Hakan Şükür—however, they lost 4–3. Overall, though, they were looking good for the season that was about to start. What followed was another embarrassment, as they were eliminated in the preliminary round of the Champions League by Swedish club Helsingborgs IF. Alvaro Recoba was given the opportunity to equal the tie with a last-minute penalty, but Helsingborg goalkeeper Sven Andersson made the save. Inter found themselves back at square one as Marcello Lippi, the manager at the time, was sacked after only a single game of the new season following Inter's first ever Serie A defeat to Reggina. Throughout this period, Inter suffered the mocking of their neighbours Milan; Milan were having success both domestically and in Europe. Also throughout this period suffered endless defeats to Milan including a 6–0 defeat in 2000–01 season. Marco Tardelli, chosen to replace Lippi, failed to improve results, and is remembered by Inter fans as the manager that lost 6–0 the city derby to Milan in the 2000–01 season. Other members of the Inter "family" during this period that suffered were the likes of Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro, both of whom had their restaurants in Milan vandalised after defeats against Milan.
In 2002, not only did Inter manage to make it to the UEFA Cup semi-finals, they were also only 45 minutes away from capturing the Scudetto, when they needed to maintain a one-goal advantage over Lazio at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. This was the last match of the season, and Inter were top of the Serie A table at kick-off. However, a defeat saw Juventus, who were second, or even Roma, in third place, take the title from them. As a result, some Lazio fans were actually openly supporting Inter during this match, as an Inter victory would prevent Lazio's bitter rivals Roma from winning the championship. Inter were 2–1 up after only 24 minutes. Lazio equalised during first half injury time and then scored two more goals in the second half to clinch victory that eventually saw Juventus win the championship after their 2–0 victory away to Udinese.
2002–03 saw Inter take a respectable second place and also managed to make it to the 2002–03 Champions League semi-finals against their bitter rivals Milan. Being tied 1–1 with Milan, Inter lost on the away goals rule. It was another disappointment but they were finally on the right track.
However, once again Massimo Moratti's impatience got the better of him, Hernán Crespo was sold after just one season, and Hector Cuper was fired after only a few games. Alberto Zaccheroni stepped in, a lifelong Inter fan but also the man who was in charge of Lazio's 4–2 victory over Inter in 2002, the fans were sceptical. Zaccheroni brought nothing new to the side, apart from two fantastic wins over Juventus 3–1 in Turin and 3–2 at the San Siro the season was again nothing special. They were embarrassingly eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the first round finishing 3rd in their group. Furthermore, they only managed to scrape back into the Champions League by finishing in 4th place by only a point over Parma. Inter's only saving grace in 2003–04 was the arrival of Dejan Stanković and Adriano in January 2004, making up for the departures of Clarence Seedorf and Hernán Crespo respectively.
Resurrection and back to back titles (2004–present)
On 7 July 2004, Inter announced on their official website that they had appointed former Lazio boss Roberto Mancini as new head coach. In his first season Inter and Mancini collected 72 points from 18 wins, 18 draws and only 2 losses. On 15 June 2005, Inter won the Coppa Italia, defeating Roma in the two-legged final 3–0 on aggregate (1–0 win in Milan and 2–0 win in Rome) and followed that up on 20 August 2005, by winning the Supercoppa Italiana after an extra-time 1–0 victory against Serie A champions Juventus. This Super Cup win was Inter's first since 1989, coincidentally the same year since Inter last won the Scudetto before 2006. On 11 May 2006, Inter retained their Coppa Italia trophy by once again, defeating Roma with a 4–1 aggregate victory (a 1–1 scoreline in Rome and a 3–1 win at the Giuseppe Meazza, San Siro).
Inter were awarded the 2005–06 Serie A championship as they were the highest placed side in the season's final league table after points were stripped from Juventus and Milan who were punished in a match fixing scandal that year. With the confirmed relegation of Juventus to Serie B and the eight-point deduction for city rivals Milan, Inter became favourites to retain their Serie A title for the 2006–07 Serie A season.
During the season, Inter went on a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive victories in Serie A, starting on 25 September 2006 with a 4–1 home victory over Livorno, and ending on 28 February 2007, after a 1–1 draw at home to Udinese. The 5–2 away win at Catania on 25 February 2007 broke the original record of 15 matches held by both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid from the "Big 5" (the top flight leagues in Italy, England, Spain, France and Germany). The run lasted for almost five months and stands among the best in European league football, with just Benfica (29 wins), Celtic (25 wins) and PSV Eindhoven (22 wins) bettering the run. Inter's form dipped a little as they scored 0–0 and 2–2 draws against relegation-battlers Reggina and slumping Palermo (respectively), the latter game featuring a second-half comeback after Palermo went up 2–0 at half-time. They could not keep their invincibility form near the end of the season as well, as they lost their first game of the domestic season to Roma in the San Siro 3–1 thanks to two late Roma goals. Inter had enjoyed an unbeaten Serie A run for just under a year.
On 22 April 2007 Inter won their second consecutive scudetto—and first on the field since 1989—when they defeated Siena 2–1 at Stadio Artemio Franchi. Italian World Cup-winning defender Marco Materazzi scored both goals in the 18th and 60th minute, with the latter being a penalty.
Inter started the 2007–08 season with the goal of winning both Serie A and UEFA Champions League. The team started well in the league, topping the table from the first round of matches, and also managed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage; however, a late collapse leading to a 2–0 defeat with 10 men away to Liverpool on 19 February in the Champions League threw into question manager Roberto Mancini's future at Inter, and domestic form took a sharp turn of fortune with the team failing to win in the three following Serie A games (drawing with Sampdoria and major league opponents Roma, before losing away to Napoli, their first domestic defeat of the season). After being eliminated by Liverpool in the Champions League, Mancini then announced his intention to leave his job, only to change his mind the following day.
Following their late collapse leading to a 2–0 loss with 10 men away to Liverpool on 19 February in the Champions League and questions over Mancini's future Inter's domestic form took a sharp turn of fortune with the team failing to win in the three following Serie A games (drawing with Sampdoria and Roma, before losing away to Napoli). Inter had a second run of this kind between 19 and 29 March in which they again went winless through three games (against Genoa, Juventus and Lazio). Like weeks previously, on 4 May 2008 Inter once again had a chance to wrap up their scudetto race; this time against city rivals Milan, but suffered a 2–1 defeat. The following week Inter again had the chance to wrap up their scudetto against Siena in a home match, complete with a festive atmosphere and an expectant crowd. However, Inter again failed to win the Scudetto, losing their lead twice and ultimately earning a 2–2 draw, with Marco Materazzi failing to convert a penalty in the dying embers of the match. The same week Roma scored a 2–1 victory away to Atalanta, thus catapulting the Romans to within just one point of Inter going into the final round of the Championship, despite trailing their Milanese rivals by 11 points earlier on in the season.
On the final day of the 2007–08 Serie A season, Inter played Parma away, while Roma travelled to Catania. This week offered an interesting juxtaposition, as both Roma and Inter looked to take the title, whereas Parma and Catania were both fighting for survival. Many scenarios could have played out, however Inter were still favourites due to their superior head to head record with Roma, all Inter needed to do was match Roma's result. The day started with Roma taking an early lead against Catania and for 60 minutes of the final day Roma were top of the league; however, the lead would not hold. Inter, seemingly rejuvenated due to the introduction of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, began to take control of the game. Amidst the pouring rain at the Ennio Tardini stadium in Parma, Ibrahimvoic fired a low shot making it 1–0 in the 62nd minute. Another Ibrahimovic blast sealed the victory, and with it the hope of winning the championship faded away for Roma. Elsewhere, Catania managed to score a late equaliser that granted them the stay in Serie A for the upcoming 2009 season and left Roma three points behind Inter. Inter sealed their 3rd championship in a row and had a late night celebration at the San Siro stadium upon their return to Milan, where they were presented with the Serie A trophy.
Following this win, the club however decided to sack Mancini on 29 May, citing his declaration to leave following the Champions League defeat to Liverpool as the reason.
Modern history (2008–present)
On 2 June 2008, Inter announced on their official website that they had appointed former Porto and Chelsea boss José Mourinho as new head coach, with Giuseppe Baresi as his assistant. This made Mourinho the only foreign coach in Italy in the 2008–09 season kick-off. Mourinho made only three additions to the squad during the summer transfer window of 2008 in the form of Mancini, Sulley Muntari, and Ricardo Quaresma. In Mourinho's first season as Inter head coach, the Nerazzurri won an Italian Super Cup and a fourth consecutive title, being, however, also eliminated from the Champions League in the first knockout round for a third consecutive time, losing to Manchester United. In winning the league title for the fourth consecutive time, Inter joined Torino and Juventus as the only teams to do this and the first to accomplish this feat in the last 60 years.
Inter enjoyed more luck in the 2009–10 Champions League, managing to progress to the quarter-finals by eliminating Mourinho's former team, Chelsea, in a 3–1 aggregate win; this was the first time in three years that the Nerazzurri had passed the first knockout round. Inter then progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament by beating CSKA Moscow 2–0 on aggregate, winning both legs. Inter managed to achieve a 3–1 win over incumbent champions Barcelona in the first leg of the semi-final. In the second leg, a resolute Inter lost 1–0 but progressed 3–2 on aggregate to their fifth European Cup/Champions League Final, with Bayern Munich as opponents. They won the match 2–0 with two goals from Diego Milito, and were crowned champions of Europe. Inter also won the 2009–10 Serie A title by two points over Roma, and the 2010 Coppa Italia by defeating the same side 1–0 in the final.
By winning the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in a single season, Internazionale completed The Treble, becoming the first ever Italian team to achieve the feat. However, their attempt to defend these honours are without José Mourinho, as he agreed a deal to take charge of Spanish club Real Madrid on 28 May 2010. Inter appointed Rafael Benítez as new coach after signing a two-year contract on June 2010.
On 21 August 2010, Inter defeated Roma 3–1 and won the 2010 Supercoppa Italiana, the fourth trophy of the year. In December 2010, they claimed the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time after a 3–0 win against TP Mazembe in the final. Internazionale completed the Quintuple, becoming the fourth team in the world after Liverpool in 2001, Al-Ahly in 2006 and Barcelona in 2009. However, after this win, on 23 December 2010, due to his poor performance in Serie A and separated by 13 points from the leader Milan (although Inter played two games less, because of the FIFA Club World Cup appointment), the team announced Rafael Benítez's departure on their website. He was replaced by Leonardo the following day.
Leonardo started extremely well, collecting 30 points from 12 games, with an average of 2.5 points per game, better than his predecessors Benítez and José Mourinho. On 6 March 2011 Leonardo set a new Italian Serie A record by collecting 33 points in 13 games, the previous record was 32 points in 13 games made by Fabio Capello in 2004–05 season. On 15 March 2011, Internazionale had a memorable 3–2 Champions League away victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the Round of 16 after losing the first leg at home, but lost in the quarter finals against Schalke 04. After Internazionale lost against Milan, and two weeks later Parma, Internazionale's Serie A season title ambitions had effectively ended. The only trophy the club won with Leonardo as a manager was the Coppa Italia. On 18 June 2011, Leonardo resigned and was followed by not so successful new managers Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri, and Andrea Stramaccioni. The club in the 2011–12 season finished as sixth, a quarter-finalist in Coppa Italia, lost in the Supercoppa Italiana, and Champions League knockout phase. In the 2012–13 season finished as ninth, semi-finalist in Coppa Italia, and lost in the Europa League knockout phase.
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