Inter Milan

  • Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti's men seal Ch...

    Inter secured Champions League qualification in the most dramatic fashion as Luciano Spalletti's men came from behind to beat 10-man Lazio 3-2 on Serie A's final day. Lazio only needed to avoid defeat in what was effectively a play-off at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, but they ...

    Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti's men seal Champions League qualification with stunning comeback

    Inter secured Champions League qualification in the most dramatic fashion as Luciano Spalletti's men came from behind to beat 10-man Lazio 3-2 on Serie A's final day. Lazio only needed to avoid defeat in what was effectively a play-off at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, but they collapsed incredibly in the closing stages as captain Senad Lulic was dismissed. Ivan Perisic's remarkable own-goal, an Adam Marusic shot deflecting in off the midfielder's face, gave Lazio the lead, but Danilo D'Ambrosio levelled with an acrobatic effort from close range. Felipe Anderson's breakaway goal restored the lead and put Lazio in control at half-time, but the Nerazzurri somehow completed a stunning comeback with two goals in three minutes. Referee Gianluca Rocchi had already changed his mind about one penalty for the visitors following a VAR review when he pointed to the spot after Stefan de Vrij - strongly rumoured to be joining Inter at the end of the season - hacked Mauco Icardi down in the box. The Inter captain converted and, after Lulic was shown a second yellow card, Matias Vecino headed in Marcelo Brozovic's corner, Simone Inzaghi's men unable to muster a fightback of their own after the coach earlier made defensive changes to leave them fifth and devastated at the full-time whistle. Icardi mishit an early chance and Antonio Candreva thudded a volley narrowly wide as Inter made a flying start. Luiz Felipe should have opened the scoring, blazing over when picked out by a low left-wing Ciro Immobile cross, but Lazio led in the ninth minute in freakish circumstances. Although Samir Handanovic denied rising star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lazio kept the ball alive and when Marusic let fly the ball cannoned in off the face of the helpless Perisic. Icardi missed a golden chance to level in the 22nd minute, dragging wide after Joao Cancelo's interception and throughball, Milinkovic-Savic denied by the woodwork from a superb free-kick at the other end moments later. Inter's equaliser was no less dramatic than the opener, Thomas Strakosha keeping out D'Ambrosio's initial effort but unable to stop the full-back turning home the rebound, the goalkeeper's protests that he was fouled falling on deaf ears. Lazio retook the lead in the 41st minute with a sensational break, Anderson rolling in a superb finish after he and captain Lulic countered at rapid pace to unlock Inter's defence. Icardi was becoming influential but Anderson rippled the side-netting as Lazio again threatened on the counter, Spalletti's side growing increasingly desperate with their own attacks. Rocchi awarded Inter a penalty in the 72nd minute after Milinkovic-Savic appeared to handle the ball in the box, but after consulting VAR the referee elected not to award the spot-kick, replays showing the ball hit Serbia international on the shoulder. But Rocchi had no choice but to point to the spot when Icardi was hacked down by De Vrij - the Lazio defender having confirmed he is leaving the club at the end of his contract. The Inter skipper stepped up to slot in past Handanovic and set up a dramatic finale in the capital, Lulic seeing red after losing composure and needlessly bringing down Brozovic. And when Brozovic floated a corner to the near post, Vecino met it with a glancing header to secure Inter's Champions League qualification at the expense of their heartbroken hosts, who saw substitute Patric sent from the touchline in the dying stages. Key Opta stats: - Inter have qualified for the next Champions League; it's the first time for the Nerazzurri since 2011-12. - Inter have won last three away league games, as many as their previous 12. - Lazio have picked up only two points in the last three league games, after they had won five of their previous six (1 draw). - Danilo D'Ambrosio has scored nine of his 11 Serie A goals from corner situations.

  • The De Vrij debate at the heart of Lazio...

    A conundrum of sorts will fall into Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi's on Sunday when he has to decide whether or not to start centre-back Stefan de Vrij. As one of the most highly-rated and consistent defenders in Italy, his name would usually be among the first on the team sheet –...

    The De Vrij debate at the heart of Lazio & Inter's battle for a Champions League place

    A conundrum of sorts will fall into Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi's on Sunday when he has to decide whether or not to start centre-back Stefan de Vrij. As one of the most highly-rated and consistent defenders in Italy, his name would usually be among the first on the team sheet – except for the fact that he is to join rival club Inter, who Lazio will be playing to contest for the fourth and final Champions League spot, in the summer. Lazio currently occupy the fourth spot, but if they were to lose, Inter would move above them finish in that coveted final Champions League place. A lot is at stake on the final day of the Serie A season and though there is uncertainty surrounding De Vrij's motivations – surely he would want his future club to taste success – manager Inzaghi has insisted that there is no conflict of interest. "We’ll play our usual game, regardless of the result. We don’t know what attitude Inter will have, but must focus only on ourselves," the Lazio boss told reporters, according to Football Italia. “I had wanted to avoid this final day showdown, but we got there with a three-point lead and worked to be ready for this situation. We talked a lot in the locker room, the lads know what is at stake at the end of a very long season. We need the right approach, concentrated, humble and avoid errors. “There has been so much talk about this, but I just watched him and had no doubts. I am certain he wants to leave his mark on this club, the fans and his team-mates. He’ll also want to show Inter what a great defender they are signing for the next five years. “We know that there’s a draw open to us, but both teams will play to win. Inter have great players, an excellent coach and it’s an exciting challenge. “I don’t like to say whether Lazio deserve the Champions League more than Inter or not. I only know that everything would change in terms of finances and prestige. We wanted this with all our strength, we played more than anyone this season and lost a few players along the way. “I want to know that after the final whistle, this team gave all it had. We are at the final climb of a very long Giro d’Italia. Let the best team win.” At the core of the debate is the assumption that De Vrij is not a good team player, ready to jump ship as soon as the opportunity arises. But does this worry have any sort of merit? It hasn't been news that the Dutch international has been unhappy in Rome this season amid rumours in the January transfer window that he would leave for either Manchester United or Liverpool. De Vrij himself took to his own Facebook account to thank Lazio fans for their continued support, detailing that he was ready for a new adventure: “It has been a very difficult period full of speculations on my future to come to this point that nobody desired. Unfortunately we were not able to find a satisfying agreement for both parties due to various reasons. “I understand the disappointment of the Lazio fans very well and it hurts me leaving in this way. Even though I am very happy and I feel at home here, sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone to achieve our desired goals. “I will be forever grateful to Lazio and to the fans for always being there for me, for the trust and opportunities given. I have always tried to demonstrate that by giving the best of me and I will keep doing that until the end. “Thank you, Stefan.” This had stemmed after the defender rejected the offer of a new contract with the Biancocelesti and the club found it hard to reach any sort of agreement of a new deal. “We’ll explain our reasons later,” Lazio's sporting director, Igli Tare, told Mediaset at the time. “There’s a limit and that’s been breached, and it’s not become a question of correctness. He’s always been an exceptional professional and he’s given a lot to Lazio, and Lazio has given a lot to him, but at the end of the season, our paths will divide.” Being a contract rebel aside, the 26-year-old has been devoid of off-pitch drama since arriving from Feyenoord four years ago and would be expected to remain a professional until he leaves Lazio for Inter. But Calciomeracto, however, reported that he is expected to skip out on the Serie A clash against Inter tomorrow, and would be due to meet his manager later in the day to hear the news from him first hand. It would be a catch-22 situation regardless, and Inzaghi would have to choose between risking the loss of one of his best defenders, or compromising the fixture by starting De Vrij. The first fixture between the two sides, played in December of last year, ended in a 0-0 draw. All Lazio need is a draw against Inter to maintain their qualification to the Champions League, and Inzaghi would have to look to Luis Felipe to fill in for the centre-back position.

  • Inter players deserve Champions League f...

    Luciano Spalletti thinks Inter have earned to right to Champions League football as they prepare for Sunday's crucial Serie A showdown with Lazio. A win at the Stadio Olimpico will see Inter leapfrog Simone Inzaghi's side into fourth place in the table, while any other result wi...

    Inter players deserve Champions League football, insists Spalletti

    Luciano Spalletti thinks Inter have earned to right to Champions League football as they prepare for Sunday's crucial Serie A showdown with Lazio. A win at the Stadio Olimpico will see Inter leapfrog Simone Inzaghi's side into fourth place in the table, while any other result will hand the capital club the coveted spot. A run of eight games without a win in the middle of the season derailed Inter's title challenge, but a return to Europe's top competition for the first time since 2011-12 will largely make the season a success. Spalletti does not think they necessarily deserve a top-four finish more than Lazio but he would consider it just reward for his players' efforts this season. "No one can say who deserves it more," he told a news conference. "We have hit the woodwork 13 times more than Lazio, and my team has been able to react at an important moment and put the league campaign back on track. "There are many aspects to take into consideration. I say that my players deserve it. I've seen so many matches where we deserved more." Turning to the showdown, the manager outlined what his side needs to do in order to secure the three points needed to secure Champions League qualification.  "Inter must be aggressive but without losing balance because Lazio are brilliant at playing directly with how they win the ball back and with their pace. We'll have to be very alert to these situations. "Everything matters in matches such as this one: character, mental strength, balance, awareness of your own and the opponent's abilities." Regardless of Sunday's result, Spalletti is confident Inter will not see their best players look to leave San Siro before next season. The 59-year-old is also feeling relaxed about his own future at the club. "The whole group knows they can do great things together," he said. "Inter can achieve things and make the fans truly happy. Nobody wants to leave. "I really enjoy being here at Inter, I'm totally focused on what we're doing. My contract is absolutely not an issue."

  • 'Jose brings a warpath and writes histor...

    Jose Mourinho "brings a warpath as a manager" and has revolutionised the profession, according to his former Chelsea and Inter striker Hernan Crespo. Current Manchester United boss Mourinho has enjoyed a career laden with trophies and, while his style continues to divide opinion...

    'Jose brings a warpath and writes history as a manager' - Crespo's respect for Man Utd boss

    Jose Mourinho "brings a warpath as a manager" and has revolutionised the profession, according to his former Chelsea and Inter striker Hernan Crespo. Current Manchester United boss Mourinho has enjoyed a career laden with trophies and, while his style continues to divide opinion, he has changed the way managers operate. Crespo was initially sent on loan at AC Milan by Mourinho when the Portuguese arrived at Chelsea, but the pair went on to enjoy a productive working relationship at both Stamford Bridge and Inter. The Argentine retains a great respect for the way Mourinho worked, even though he was let go on more than one occasion by the former Chelsea manager. "It was more than just about me. It was amazing, his history in Inter," Crespo told Goal ahead of the  Chelsea legends game against Inter Forever on Friday . "I tried to help him when he moved there. It was great for us to work together again after Chelsea. "Jose is different. Jose makes a difference and writes history because the future of his clubs will never be the same after him, because when he comes he brings a warpath as a manager. I think he became a great manager after he left Porto. I think Chelsea gave him more of a reputation which grew and grew. "I think to be part of that moment was like being part of history. After Mourinho, football managers all changed. They changed what they said in press conferences and the way they behaved. Everything changed. In that moment we understood that managers don’t just choose the starting 11. "They must understand everything all around. It is about your relationships with your players, staff, doctors and media. He understood all of it and he was very clear with everybody. With the fans, with the media, the players and the owners. I understood that it is more than just about the first XI, he was more than that. "I am very proud of my career. I had the chance to play in many great teams such as Chelsea, Milan, Parma, Lazio and Inter. There was also the national team. Sometimes you have a chance to win or you are second but I always was a competitor. This is important. "That I had dreams to play in great clubs and reach it. This is something that’s special. Now, when I look behind me, I say: ‘Wow, what a career,’ and I am very proud of that." Crespo will be back on the Stamford Bridge on Friday when he plays in the Chelsea legends game against Inter Forever, with his last appearance at the ground coming in a 3-0 win over Manchester United in 2006. He won the Premier League title during his time at Chelsea and he admits he might cry if he recalls the emotion he felt in that moment of his last appearance at the stadium. "It was great. I have wanted to come back to play. I have thought about it a lot," Crespo said. "I would love to run on this pitch and be at Stamford Bridge, I don’t want to cry but it will be very hard. I have a lot of feeling for both teams. "I think it will be an amazing match because it will be the first time playing there since I left the Chelsea team in 2006. To come back to Stamford Bridge will be special. I come back to watch some games, but to be on the pitch will be different. The atmosphere feels different when you are on the pitch. "The last time was when we lifted the Premier League trophy against Manchester United, that was the last game that I played at home. To come back will be something special for me. It was the first league title that I won. After this victory, I won three in a row with Inter. It started something great. "That day was amazing. This year was amazing. We beat Manchester United 3-0 at home. They came second and it was amazing. I think Friday will be something special for me personally because that feeling I had on that day was very special. To come back and feel that day again makes me feel nervous, I don’t know. It is difficult to explain your feelings when they were so intense. "For me, it is difficult to explain my feelings and I am very emotional because I played with and against these guys. They played in the stadium that made me cry when we won the Premier League. I have a lot of memories. I don’t know, I am very excited to be part of it." Crespo now enjoys a prominent profile in Italy as a pundit. After coaching spells at Parma and Modena, he became vice-president of the former, who are in contention to return to Serie A after a rapid rise following their relegation to Serie D in 2015. Despite his current role at Parma, Crespo admits that he is keen for another job in management and could return to England. "I represent the Chinese group who bought Parma, I am the vice-president for them," he continued. "I work like this but my dream is to come back to the pitch and become a manager. At the same time, I have the chance to help a club that I played for at the beginning of my experience in Europe. "It is not a bad position and I like it, but I want to be a manager in the future. I want to come back to the pitch because the pitch is different to being in the offices, behind a desk. I am waiting for a good project but I like so much to watch every tournament. I watch football in England. I follow the Premier League and the Championship. "If a good project comes to me, I don’t worry much about the country. It is about the project. Normally, you want to stay in a country that you know and prefer, but work is work. A job is a job. I will listen to every offer, regardless of which country or league, and see whether it could work." Tickets can be bought for Chelsea legends versus Inter Forever through Chelsea's official website. The match is in memory of Ray Wilkins, who passed away last month.

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