May 22, 2010, FC Inter Milan vs FC Bayern Munchen: A brace from Diego Milito helped Inter secure their first Champions League in 45 years and also accomplish an unprecedented European Treble by an Italian Club. It would be quite fair to say that things have been appalling since. Trophyless for 9 seasons, in and out of Champions League, not able to challenge for the Scudetto. This has been one of the great falls of a football empire which is hardly ever talked about.
Great Decline of the Nerazzurri and Potential Resurgence
Foundation and Golden Era
Inter Milan was founded in 1908 as a result of schism with Milan Cricket and Football Club evolving from the wish of members to include international stars as well. It didn’t take the club long to step onto the path of glory and success. The 1960s was probably the greatest period for the club clinching 3 League titles and 2 consecutive European Cups. The following decades brought mixed fortunes with the constant change of managers, big names coming to play for the Nerazzurri but only a handful being able to stay there for long and along with that perform for the club and help the club to rediscover its lost glory.
Restoration of Lost Glory-
With the onset of the 20th century, the future looked lousy for Inter which was further exacerbated by the continuous triumphs of their biggest two rivals AC Milan and Juventus. Nonetheless, 2005-06 turned out to be yet another disappointment for Inter in the league as they finished 15 points behind their eternal rivals Juventus. What followed was the most shocking revelation in Italian Football. Juventus were stripped off their league title and relegated to the 2nd division following a match-fixing scandal and the title was subsequently awarded to Inter, their first since 1989. This was the beginning of five glorious years domestically for Inter, winning the league each year during this period. Top talents came to Inter and despite still struggling in Europe a third European Cup seemed immeasurably near. Inter did achieve the Champions League glory after 45 years in 2010 under the expert guidance of Jose Mourinho and full commitment of the players. That was all really.
Mourinho departed in the summer following a lucrative offer from Real Madrid. The Portuguese boss was replaced by Rafael Benitez but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to achieve the standards set by his predecessor. Consequently, he was sacked and replaced by Leonardo. Although Leonardo did help Inter win the Coppa Italia, he resigned at the end of the season and was subsequently succeeded by three new managers the following term. This marked the beginning of a series of manager casualties and their short term replacements for Inter. The club changed ownership with majority stakes going to a Chinese company but that too didn’t bring a change in the club’s fortunes. So what has contributed to such a drastic decline in the club’s performance?
Inter has employed great footballers over the years, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Sneijder, Eto’o, Adriano, Icardi to name a few. But most of these players left Inter within 4-5 years of them joining the club to perhaps find better opportunities for glory and success. It seems debatable as to whether every time it’s the player’s desire to leave the club or whether the board follows such a transfer policy. This transfer policy has perhaps even worsened during the last decade. It goes without saying that Inter’s signings during the last decade have been much below the club’s standards and only a handful has gone on to make a name for themselves at the San Siro. Constant transfers in and out disturb the club’s stability and also the fans’ trust in the club’s board. Although Inter Milan have started making a statement during the past couple of seasons with players like Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Achraf Hakimi all choosing the Nerazzurri over more lucrative and success guaranteeing projects, still there is a long way to go.
Reasons for the decline-
Inter’s decline probably arises from an amalgamation of issues like poor transfer policies, lack of stability at the top, continuous achievements of their rivals. It hurts to see a club once competing with the European elites like Bayern, Real Madrid, and FC Barcelona now struggling to even make into European Competitions. All these successful clubs have been at the top consistently for years now and Inter has a long way ahead to reach and remain at the top.
Nevertheless, the future looks bright for the Milan based club with the ambitious Steven Zhang at the Chairman’s position and the successful Antonio Conte occupying the manager’s role. As already mentioned the club is again starting to attract top talents from all around Europe and even outside Europe. The club has a triumphant hierarchy all working in the same direction to make sure that the club’s gloomy days are behind it and what follows is a period of continuous achievements and glory for Inter Milan.