Statistics show Borja Valero’s impact for Inter, making more passes than anyone else in the squad, with only Milan Skriniar recovering more balls.
The Spaniard joined the Nerazzurri from Fiorentina in the summer for just €5.5m plus bonuses, and until Thursday night had been ever-present.
The 32-year-old was rested for the Coppa Italia tie with Pordenone, and the lower league side took the Beneamata to penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Gazzetta dello Sport speculates that Inter struggled without Borja, and the statistics would appear to back that up.
The midfielder has made 1037 passes so far, an average of 64.8 per games, completing 91.1 per cent of them.
That puts him eighth in Serie A for pass completion, but he also makes an average of 3.3 long passes per match.
Miralem Pjanic of Juventus aside, most of those above Borja in terms of pass completion are central defenders or defensive midfielders.
Milan Skriniar, his Inter teammate, completes 91.6 per cent of his passes and Blaise Matuidi of Juve 92.9 per cent, but they play fewer key passes and long passes.
In addition, Borja’s 96 recovered balls is beaten only by Skriniar with 112.
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