?Inter Milan vice president and Argentine legend Javier Zanetti claims the outcome of Sunday evening’s Derby Della Madonnina at San Siro will be decisive for both Inter and Milan’s Champions League qualification chances come the end of this current campaign.
The Nerazzurri have the opportunity to extend their advantage over their fierce city rivals to 10 points with a victory. The ex-blue and black captain is under no illusion to the importance of the clash as reported to Gazzetta Dello Sport, via Football Italia.
He said: “A victory would increase the self-esteem of a group that are already showing compactness and totally involved in their new technical course.
“For us, the team are already at a great level technically and we’re convinced that they are solid and complete.
“We want to cause everyone problems this season, and we’re capable of doing that. After that, our main objective is certainly to return to the Champions League.”
On the pitch will be many impressive footballers but no superstars, however one player in particular has caught Javier Zanetti’s eye; fellow countryman Mauro Icardi. Many are convinced he will be a potential star player for Inter Milan as his game continues to flourish.
Zanetti can recognise his potential and work ethic, adding: “Icardi an icon? He’s not stopped improving while he’s been here. For example, he won a place in the national team, working hard and without being influenced by anything.
“He’s a serious professional, who’s really in love with Inter, and we want to win something important together.
The respect Zanettii can show his young counterpart is comparing him to another Argentine striking great, adding: “He attacks the opponents’ goal like Crespo. Hernan was lethal in the penalty area. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Without politics, potential superstars or genuine title hopes, this Sunday’s derby will have more than local bragging rights at stake.
?Serie A side Inter Milan are believed to be weighing up a potential January loan move for former Chelsea midfielder Ramires, who is currently turning out for Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
The CSL ends in November, meaning that Ramires could enjoy a two-month rest before joining Luciano Spalletti’s side in the January window.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Inter are keen to bring the 30-year-old to the club when the transfer window opens, believing that he could add some real dynamism to the centre of their midfield.
Ramires has endured an underwhelming first season with his side, who currently sit 13th out of 16 clubs in the league.
Ramires was however part of the Chelsea squad who famously won the first Champions League trophy in their history in 2012, after an unlikely victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The Brazilian midfielder was suspended for the final, but famously scored a stunning chipped goal in the semi-final against Barcelona.
Ramires performed his duties admirably when called upon for the Blues, and racked up an impressive trophy haul for the club including a Premier League title and an FA Cup, as well as winning both the Champions League and the Europa League.
If Ramires new side continue to struggle in the Super League, Inter may well be hoping that they can turn their potential loan move into a full transfer should the player become disillusioned with playing his game at a far inferior level to Serie A.
Premier League side Arsenal are set to rival Serie A giants Inter Milan in the race to sign exciting Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron.
The Paraguay international has impressed for the MLS side who have surprised everyone with their performances in their debut season, with Calciomercato reporting that the Gunners are set to battle it out for the 23-year-old’s signature.
Almiron has featured 29 times for Atlanta since his move from Lanus in December and has scored nine times and is also a regular in the Paraguay national team, with his side still having an outside chance of going to Russia next summer.
The Paraguayan was linked with a move to Inter last season, but chose to join the MLS newcomers in a deal worth $13m. The 23-year-old has excelled in his debut campaign stateside featuring mainly as a number 10 but can also play out wide.
After a sparkling year, Inter are set to renew their interest in Almiron, but set to be rivalled by Arsenal as Arsene Wenger looks to secure an attacking midfielder with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez’s contracts coming to an end in the summer.
With no new deals for the duo on the horizon Wenger is planning ahead to replace his two star men and the Atlanta star could be available for a fee between €15-20m. Under the guidance of former Barcelona boss Tata Martino, interest in Almiron has picked up again with Inter keen to bring him to the San Siro.
It’s over – the brilliant, bearded genius has announced his retirement, leaving his greatest admirers in a pool of their own tears as they come to terms with a lifetime of Pirlo-less football.
He will no longer grace pitches with his uniquely cool and elegant playing style, no longer pass his opposition into submission. In December, Andrea Pirlo will hang up his boots at New York City FC and leave us all mourning what we’ve lost.
There’s always the possibility of looking back on some of his greatest moments, though. The list is endless, but here are seven of them.
7. The Panenka Penalty
For most mere mortals, the thought of attempting a panenka penalty in the quarter-finals of the European Championship would induce a state of panic. Not Pirlo, though.
Italy and England had played out a goalless draw and it came down to a penalty shootout to establish the semi-finalists.
Ignoring Joe Hart’s futile efforts to distract him, the unerringly composed playmaker dinked the ball down the middle as the goalkeeper fell ungracefully to the right.
“Joe Hart looked very confident with himself, so I thought we had to bring him down a peg or two,” he later said.
Former West Ham midfielder Alessandro Diamanti went on to score the decisive penalty, but it was Pirlo’s brilliance that stood out. His performance throughout the game wasn’t bad, either.
6. The Best Goal of All Time
Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s unquestionably one of the best long-range screamers.
Back when Milan routinely competed at the top of Serie A and the latter stages of the Champions League, Pirlo was a feature of their midfield. His ten years at the club came to an end in 2011, but he departed with another Scudetto in his final campaign.
And in that campaign he scored arguably the goal of his career against Parma, an astonishingly accurate long-distance missile which nestled satisfyingly in the top corner. Even when all his passing options were cut off, he found a way.
5. The World Cup Final Penalty
Another penalty, another example of Pirlo’s unflappable composure.
The stakes were higher than against England; this was a World Cup final and the then beardless midfielder was first up.
But he stroked the ball down the middle, past Fabian Barthez, and set Italy on the way to lifting the 2006 World Cup.
“Being first on the spot, kicking off that torture in the biggest, most incredible game that a player can play or imagine,” Pirlo wrote in his autobiography: I Think Therefore I Play. “That’s not necessarily good news. It means they think you’re the best, but it also means that if you miss, you’re first on the list of d********.”
4. The Pass for Roberto Baggio
Andrea Pirlo and Roberto Baggio were a mouthwatering duo, and the two linked up perfectly to rescue a vital point for Brescia in 2001.
Playing against the would-be champions Juventus late in the season, Pirlo played an immaculate, lofted through ball into the path of Baggio, whose superb first touch allowed him to round Edwin van der Sar and level the scores.
That point, it transpired, helped Brescia finish outside the relegation zone by one point. Pirlo, on loan at the club from Inter, moved to Milan the following season.
3. Nomination for FIFA World Player of the Year
Pirlo, in recognition for his brilliant performances in 2006 and 2007, was nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year.
He excelled as Milan lifted the Champions League trophy, two years after the disappointment of Istanbul against Liverpool.
Pirlo finished seventh in the final voting, losing out to attacking teammate Kaka, but it was a deserved testament to his abilities.
2. Champions League Success
Champions League victory over Liverpool in 2007 more than made up for defeat against the same club two years earlier in Istanbul.
That was one of the low-points of Pirlo’s esteemed career, but he was on form as Milan earned their revenge in Athens.
His deflected free-kick made the breakthrough and, although Liverpool were the better side, the Italian club emerged with a 2-1 win.
1. Serie A Domination
Though it ended in tears with Juventus falling to defeat against Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final, Pirlo’s time in Turin was largely excellent.
In the latter stages of his career, there was no huge decline, and he contributed to the Old Lady’s inexorable domination of Italian football.
Four Serie A titles in a row was not a bad way to leave his indelible mark in his homeland, before he left for MLS.