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Saturday December 16 2017
Inter finally worthy of Handanovic

Samir Handanovic has never played in the Champions League, but his loyalty to Inter might finally pay off this season, writes Billy Wilkinson.

Samir Handanovic is currently in his 14th Serie A season and, after many years of defensive mishaps and midfield mistakes, he looks to be part of a team that’s worthy of his talent.

In 2012, Handanovic moved to the Nerazzurri from Udinese for a reported fee of €11m. However, the Inter he joined looked a lot different from the one he’s playing in right now. He was more used to seeing the shirts in front of him read ‘Ranocchia’ and ‘Silvestre’ than ‘Miranda’ and ‘Skriniar’. Javier Zanetti was also on his last legs and Yuto Nagatomo didn’t seem to know how to actually defend.

In his debut season, Inter and Handanovic conceded an eye-watering 57 goals, the joint second worst in the league. The only club to concede more was Pescara with 84. However, Handanovic did take home ‘Serie A goalkeeper of the season’ in 2013, perhaps earning some sympathy points from voters.

Whilst Handanovic’s form has fluctuated throughout the years, as is natural for most goalkeepers, you couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for some of the defences he’s played behind. At times, it seemed as though he was having to do all the defensive organisation himself, like a teacher trying to corral a chaotic classroom.

His spectacular acrobatic displays in goal always catch the eye, especially an inexplicable reaction save against Atalanta last term. Goalkeepers are hard to analyse as it is, but when a defence in front of you is allowing strikers to get into good scoring positions so regularly, it’s hard to look good. Somehow though, he’s still managed to look calm and collected, which in the last decade at Inter has been a true rarity.

It’s astounding that Handanovic has for over a decade been one of the most consistently excellent goalkeepers in Europe, yet has never played in the Champions League. His loyalty to Inter might finally be rewarded this season with a side worthy of him.

Spalletti’s men have conceded a mere 10 goals in 16 games. The shot-stopper has been a big part of this, but you also have to give credit to Spalletti for revamping the sixth-best defence into a top unit. He also worked on improving the players that had been letting down Inter and Handanovic in recent years, such as Davide Santon and Danilo D’Ambrosio.

So, what’s the limit on Handanovic’s legacy? He’s 33 years old, he’s never kept the net for an elite or even top defence, but he’s evidently been a terrific goalkeeper. It’s a hard case to pin down. So far Handanovic has been selected for Serie A Team of The Year twice and has two Goalkeeper of The Year awards.

For hypothetical reasons, let’s imagine he makes another appearance in TOTY and picks up GOTY (more than possible). Then let’s say Inter have the best defensive record in Serie A for the next two years. This is where Handanovic’s resume begins to build up to where we talk about him as one of the great Serie A goalkeepers of all-time.

Unless he finds the fountain of youth or Inter go on a run of Scudetti, Handanovic will never hit the legacies of Gigi Buffon or Angelo Peruzzi. However, the Nerazzurri man can certainly have a legacy that matches with Nelson Dida and Francesco Toldo, most likely better if his career goes as projected above.

Considering he’s spent most of his Inter career hoping that those in front of him don’t mess up, it’s refreshing to see Handanovic be part of a resolute defence. Italy has a funny way of extending the careers of players, so even at 33 it’s feasible that Handanovic spends another few seasons as a top goalkeeper, manned by a top defence. He’s finally getting what he deserves.

Have your say...
Milan 0 verona 3 hahahahahahahaha lol hahahahahahahah
on the 17th December, 2017 at 10:16pm
Forza Friuli. Handanovic was better at Udinese.
on the 17th December, 2017 at 11:29am
inter fans on this post dont seem like inter fans. you can guess what this site is all about people. pathetic and mediocre. milan fans are burning lol
on the 17th December, 2017 at 12:51am
Articles like this feel like a deliberate jinx :P
Udinese still as unpredictable as ever.

Handanovic never playing in CL makes sense since he stuck with a sinking ship. How he musters the self worth to bow down to Icardi doing whatever he likes to the club after he kept them afloat for so long is astonishing.

He doesn't play with any pride or ambition, he's pretty much doing what he must for a paycheck. If Icardi FC do drop out of the title race, I'd be worried about Lazio taking 4th.
on the 16th December, 2017 at 10:25pm
Do not speak of any players performances until after each match, please and thank you
on the 16th December, 2017 at 7:50pm
"Inter finally worthy of Handanovic"

Inter then proceed to lose to Udinese....
on the 16th December, 2017 at 7:24pm
I'll be the first to say it. The fall of inter, they've rode the wave but they're not winning the scudetto. After many lucky wins especially the first 10 rounds, their luck has to run out eventually. As time wears on and players get fatigued injured or teams figure them out they will slip down, not playing in Europe has put them where they are today but they don't have the power to keep it up.
on the 16th December, 2017 at 5:49pm
And so it begins. lol
They are who we thought they were.
on the 16th December, 2017 at 5:41pm
Well its that time again hahahahahhah it jist takes 1 game to realize. Your lame hhahahahahahhahshshsh udinese 3 filther 1 hahahahahhahah
on the 16th December, 2017 at 3:59pm
Singlehandedly saved Inter many times when he had no right to!
on the 16th December, 2017 at 11:08am
As an Inter fan, I can only thank Handa for his loyalty. He would have had my blessings to leave for another team because he deserves to play in the CL. He's an absolute amazing goalkeeper and hopefully he will have some success with Inter. Thank you Football Italiap for dedicating an article to him cuz he's a gem of a goalkeeper.

Long live Batmanovic!
on the 16th December, 2017 at 2:53am

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