You can't begin something new without ending something to make room for it. Today officially became the day that the club ended it's relationship with one of it's younger contributors and biggest distraction. Mario had a tenuous at best relationship with the fans of Inter. And while no one doubted his potential, plenty doubted his loyalty to his teammates, the team and those that supported both.
The Trofeo TIM is usually the last "friendly" that Inter engages in before the real games start, sort of. The SuperCoppa isn't really a real game, but it's the overture to the season.
Mario Balotelli finally left Inter in what was about the most protracted transfer saga I can remember. Is he a good player? Yep. Is he more potential than substance right now? Yep. Is he a distraction to the team? Yeah, things have worked out that way, whether he wanted it to or not. As it is, he can’t blow his nose without the media getting all over him and putting the club on the front page of all the newspapers and proving a distraction. I don’t think that very many of the team itself really didn’t like him until the very end. At the end of last season it was “don’t leave us Maicon and Mario” from the players. This summer it’s “don’t leave us… Maicon”.
Some might say that he’s better off. He might be, but the truth of the matter is that if he stayed he would have been a part of something special. Now, he’s just a part of the BPL and Man City. He got the raise that he couldn’t wait for. I would like to see what happens to this situation in a couple of years.
Inter 1 – Juventus 0
Inter: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Materazzi, Chivu, Cambiasso, Nwankwo, Obinna, Sneijder (25’), Pandev, Eto'o.
We started the day against Juventus in a 4231 with Cambiasso and Nwankwo in the “2” and Obinna, Sneijder and Pandev in the “3”.
What we learned about Inter:
If we were to assume that this mini-game is a harbinger of things to come – and there really isn’t any reason to suppose it is – then we can assume three things will change from last year in addition to the coach and the players – faster pace to the game, more one or two touch short passing and more possession. Obinna terrorized the Juventus back left forcing Pepe to run the length of the field several times. Cambiasso looked in command as a holder and director of the action and Sneijder gave good account despite this being his first action for the team this august. Lucio and Sneijder played a full 45 for the first time this august. Pandev looked good, but we shouldn’t be too surprised. He essentially joined the team off the street last season and this is a chance for him to have a full offseason of training behind him. Nwankwo looked good in that there were no obvious mistakes for the primavera player. It’s a heartening showcase but I expect this player to be back on the Primavera before too long if for no other reason his name is a pain to spell.
I don’t think that it can be argued that we controlled possession and position for the duration of the 45. We used the width with our wingers but there was attack from up the middle as Sneijder’s goal at 25 minutes can attest to. Again the score isn’t really the issue here… we looked sharp, the passes looked more on target than they had the week previous and we got quality time to players that we expect to use a lot. I just want to mention this again – Obinna looked very useful.
Inter 0 – Milan 0 (3-2)
Penalties: Milito (I) goal, Flamini (M) miss, Mancini (I) miss, Inzaghi (M) miss, Coutinho (I) goal, Oddo (M) goal, Obi (I) goal, Huntelaar (M) goal, Stankovic (I) miss, Ronaldinho (M) miss.
Inter: Castellazzi, Maicon (17' Natalino), Cordoba, Materazzi (17' Benedetti), Biraghi, Stankovic, Nwankwo (35' Obi), Biabiany, Coutinho, Mancini, Milito.
This game went at a much slower pace than the first one. We still had a lot of possession. We still used a lot of short passes. It seemed to me like we poured the offense through Coutinho quite a bit. I was encouraged at how many chances in front of the goal we had. I was also encouraged overall at how many of our youngsters we were able to use and still be very competitive against the mix of Milan starters, second choice and youngsters. Overall, I think it was a pretty forgettable game. It seemed to me that Mancini has gotten worse from last season…which I wouldn’t have thought was humanly possible. When is his contract up, again? Am I going to have to go through an entire season of making fun of him, of hating him more than I do already? Isn’t there family that this joke has in Brazil that he’s homesick for and just has to go back and see? Or have they seen him play too…
Samuel, Mariga, Muntari and Motta didn't play today. Anyone heard what's the deal with Motta? I haven't heard anything about him this summer.