Monday, March 09, 2009

Och aye the Mou!

From Calcio Italia

It is the easiest thing in the world to carp and gripe about the team which leads your League. It almost seems only right that Inter should take a bit of stick due to their position at the top of the table.

The trouble is, if you do it too often, you can lose sight of the qualities which put the team there in the first place. I confess I have been guilty of this myself. The Nerazzurri rarely produce the kind of football that is pleasing on the eye. And they have been the beneficiaries of a few kind refereeing decisions. But they do have a quality I reckon all of their challengers lack – backbone.

Look at the players down the spine of this Inter side and you will start to see what I mean. Julio Cesar is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti are the kind of versatile and relentless footballers any team would love to have. And Zlatan Ibrahimovic forms an impressive attacking line all on his own.

The rest of the squad bristles with guts and commitment too. Nicolas Burdisso, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba and Marco Materazzi are the kind of men you would like to have on your side in a fight. While Dejan Stankovic and Douglas Maicon provide the sort of surging power that even the national grid would love to harness.

Add to that the little matter of two of the most interesting young Italian talents of Serie A and you get a heady mix. Davide Santon and Mario Balotelli may not be the finished article but they are pretty exciting prospects. The simple fact that they can hold their own in this Inter line up speaks volumes.

It is this strength in depth and real resilience which has put the Nerazzurri so far clear of their rivals. Juve are the only ones who come even close in the character stakes. Roma and Milan look flimsy and weak-willed in comparison. It’s fine to criticise Inter and it goes with their territory – but it should never obscure the fact that they are, actually, a pretty good team.

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