Saturday 22 May 2010

Immigrants hailed for European Cup triumph

At least half of the city of Milan is tonight celebrating Internazionale's victory in the UEFA Champions League, Europe's premier football club competition, more properly known as the European Cup, defeating German club Bayern Munich 2-0.

Inter's jubiliant fans will be aware that the famous Italian football club's first European Cup victory for 35 years was entirely the work of immigrants.

Portugese coach Jose Mourinho selected a starting eleven with no Italian players - with five Argentinians, two Brazilians, and players from Cameroon, Holland, Macedonia and Romania. After using substitutes from Ghana and Serbia, Inter did field one Italian substitute Marco Materazzi, who took the field for the final minute of injury time in a ceremonial substitution of double goalscorer Diego Milito.

Inter last won the trophy back to back in 1964 and 1965 under their legendary manager Helenio Herrera, who was credited with perfecting the "Catenaccio" ('doorbolt') tactic of ultra-defensive football. Herrera was Argentinian by bith, though he was born to Spanish parents and took up French citizenship before defining a distinctively Italian approach to the beautiful game


Leo said...

Good knowledge, Sunder!

Immigrants though? Remember, they are the Internazionale, the footballing expression of cosmopolitan Milanese bourgeoisie.

And on the subject of that sole Italian, it's said that after the 2006 World cup final & to this day, every Red-half Milanese & non-Milanese can enter the central piazza on a white horse with a full shield & a sharp sword, & declare to all who are watching herm, 'Portatemi Marco!'. Still bitter.

ps - pleased for Milito, long under-rated.

Sunder Katwala said...

Thanks, On the Internazionale point, the intention was just to make the rhetorical point that "immigrants" only seems to get used generically as a pejorative term, eg in crime reporting, etc.

As an Evertonian, I associate Marco M primarily with those Goodison Park glory days.