Walter Mazzarri faces some challenge at Inter, but Giancarlo Rinaldi thinks he has the skills to revive the Nerazzurri.
I have been thinking a lot about Walter Mazzarri lately. It must be something to do with the long weeks without a fix of football action. My mind keeps wandering to who might be facing the most daunting task in Calcio in the season to come – and it is the Tuscan Coach's name which keeps popping up again and again.
Not that he is a stranger to a tricky challenge. As a young footballer, he was once being considered a contender to replace his idol Giancarlo Antognoni in the Fiorentina midfield. That one might not have worked out so well, but he has taken on just as tall an order in trying to steer Inter back to greatness.
His coaching career has followed a very different route to his playing days. His failure to oust a Viola legend from the first team ultimately saw him ply his trade around the football provinces. On the bench, however, there has been a definite upward trend which has taken him from Acireale in C2 to a post with one of Italy's big three.
But he's probably landed at the most dysfunctional of that Serie A trinity. Juventus are back in their role as domestic top dogs while Milan have clung on to their domain – the Champions League – by the skin of their teeth. The Nerazzurri, however, have become a tritacarne (a meat grinder) for managers since their historic treble under Jose Mourinho.
Yet Mazzarri was surely at the right stage in his career to take on such a titanic task. He might not have achieved all he could in Naples – a Scudetto would surely have sealed his legend – but he came pretty close. It was time to take on a make-or-break challenge for his coaching reputation.
Make no mistake, the Inter job is the rockiest of coastlines around which to try to navigate your managerial credentials. Only a handful of Coaches have lasted more than a couple of seasons since the glory days of Helenio Herrera in the 1960s. Eugenio Bersellini, Giovanni Trapattoni and Roberto Mancini delivered more than a dozen trophies between them to enjoy such prolonged spells in charge. Your passport to a feeling of permanence has to be stamped with silverware.
Mazzarri knows this, of course, and has quickly tuned in to the club's desire to return to the upper reaches of Serie A. His enterprising brand of football would be welcome too, but not if it fails to produce results. Fans in blue and black don't want another season of being mocked by their historic rivals.
For some strange reason, I get the feeling he might just manage to deliver what they want. He strikes me as the right man in the right place at the right time. That is unlikely to mean an overnight return to the Scudetto, but at the very least it should bring a shift back up the League table. He has a squad which is capable of significant improvement and has always possessed a clear vision of how his teams should play. That ought to be sufficient to boost the Nerazzurri's fortunes significantly. Although, be warned, I have been well wide of the mark with such predictions in the past.