Friday March 23 2012
Inter are prisoners of the past

After years of inspiring Inter to success, their old guard may now actually hinder their future, writes Antonio Labbate.

“I still have two years left on my contract and I can keep pedalling,” declared Dejan Stankovic. “Everyone knows what I’m like. When I think I can no longer do it, when I feel I can no longer give to Inter everything that they deserve, I'll hold my hands up and thank the President, as well as the club, for everything I've learned and won here. When that time comes, I'll tell you, but for the moment I’m still really up for it.”

Such a statement would usually be classed as an example of commitment, but in the backdrop that has been Inter’s disappointing campaign, it is something a little more sinister. When you consider that it came from a man who many are earmarking as a player who should be sold, his stance is a clear obstacle to those at the club who will be tasked with rebuilding the Beneamata.

Stankovic is one of many, too many players over the age of 30 in the squad who are on multi-million euro contracts. Once the reason behind their domestic and international success, a group of them are now the team’s biggest hindrance when it comes to the Nerazzurri’s future.

With owner Massimo Moratti no longer pumping in the kind of lavish funds that once saw him use his loose change to pay Alvaro Recoba and the Financial Fair Play rules that were a reason behind last summer’s Samuel Eto’o exit, the club’s senators are worryingly a major drain on the finances of an outfit that will probably miss out on lucrative Champions League football next season.

While Wesley Sneijder is their best paid player, the next 11 highest wage earners are all in their 30s. From Julio Cesar and Diego Milito’s €4.5m a season down to the €3m of Ivan Cordoba, Walter Samuel, Stankovic and Javier Zanetti, the Italian giants pay their old guard a combined €40.5m per season in salary – and that’s after tax.

It’s clear that the solution is to move a substantial amount of those players on, but that is easier said than done. It’s difficult selling certain individuals after bad seasons and players of a certain age can be reluctant to move on to a smaller club, for a reduced salary, when they are still contracted. For example, who is going to pay Lucio €3.5m a season or Stankovic3m? Look at what happened at Juventus last summer when Amauri, on €3.8m, snubbed move after move. He wasn’t alone in Turin either.

The other aspect to consider is that those individuals who are on the wrong side of 30, with admirers, are likely to be the same men who Inter would presumably want to keep to maintain a certain amount of experience in the squad and first team.

Such numbers all add up to the prospect that who Inter buy will depend on whom they can sell first. After so many of their Vecchia Guardia successfully managed to slow the sands of time in the past, Inter have now reached a point where those drops of sand are not falling quickly enough. With evolution rather than revolution on the cards, Inter may need to acquire not just some new players in the summer, but some patience too.

Over 30s with contracts expiring in 2012: Samuel 34 [€3m], Chivu 31 [€3.5m], Castellazzi 36 [€1m], Cordoba 35 [€3m]

Over 30s with contracts expiring in 2013: Maicon 30 [€4m], Zanetti 38 [€3m], Forlan 32 [€3.5m]

Over 30s with contracts expiring in 2014: Julio Cesar 32 [€4.5m], Lucio 33 [€3.5m], Stankovic 33 [€3m], Cambiasso 31 [€4m], Milito 32 [€4.5m]

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
Regarding the comparison between inter and chelsea ,, i really like chelsea only for their italian roots (zola , di matteo , etc) but to be honest this club has no history ,, they begin to compete since 6 or 7 years in england and europe like the modern clubs who has shiekh's millions M city and PSG ,, and the biggist player in your history is (franco zola) who didnt had that mark in italian football ,,so keep playing for the CL places like u did before with newcastle and spurs
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 5:33am
I imagine that there should b some clauses in the contracts about players' performances. Certain old guards Inter should keep in the next one or two seasons: Lucio, Samuel, Cambiasso, Maicon... as building blocks. Others like Cordoba, Stankovic... should really offer their leaves if they still have pride as men and Inter players. I'm so glad the injury-prone Chivu will leave this summer.I also think that Zanetti should play less, a lot less. He should act as an inspiring figure for the others.
on the 1st April, 2012 at 8:05am
3.5 Million for Forlan is Highway Robbery, Forlan should be paying Inter 3.5 for allowing him to sully Inter's uniform with his horrible play!

He shouldn't even be allowed to be compared with Uruguayans who have played for Inter at a higher standard... Recoba and Ruben Sosa.
on the 28th March, 2012 at 11:08pm
Haha, @Boss, what a troll! Every single European country knows that Chelsea is a big club? What planet are you from? Manchester United and Liverpool for example, are great clubs with lots of won cups and rich history. Chelsea is an ordinary London club with a rich boss. There is Inter, than 30 meters of crap, and then comes Chelsea.
on the 28th March, 2012 at 5:55pm
SD, all i have to say to that is, for all of inter's accolades, who knows who they are outside of Italy as a big team? outside of England who knows that Chelsea is a big team, every single European country does. Inter are a joke the league titles mean nothing when it is so easy to win a league in Italy compared with the competition in the PL. so sit down and shut up, watch a PL game this week and you might know what a competitive lleague looks like
on the 27th March, 2012 at 7:01pm
Boss is a joke. Chelsea in 107 years have won 25 official titles. Inter have won 39. Chelsea have never won europe and Inter has 3 times. Inter have won the scudetto 17(1) times. Chelsea 4 times. Inter are the only team in Italy to complete the treble. What can you honestly say to make Chelsea sound like a superior club? Nobody remembers clubs that finish fourth every season. Not to mention Inter have the last laugh knocking you out in the UCL to go on to win it. Keep quiet kid. Learn your facts
on the 27th March, 2012 at 4:03pm
Very funny Boss. :D :D :D You made me sick about your comments about Chelsea and Inter. What a COLT.
on the 25th March, 2012 at 10:10pm
jimi you need to calm yourself down. did i read you comment correctly, that chelsea have never signed a star player? All players want to go to Italy? that must be why inter were after lampard and drogba and were rejected and also why deco signed for chelsea over inter. In Italy and on this website Inter are a big club, but to the rest of the world, they are a team that won the CL only to not be seen again, kind of like those dormant volcanoes, maybe another 40 years inter will wake up :)
on the 25th March, 2012 at 6:15pm
Boss is just a troll. Your "argument" can be shot down instantly, when you consider that Chelsea have also never signed "star" players. Moreover, a player will most definitely consider Italy before England, when you think of the tax rates. Hard simple facts. What's this rubbish about Inter not being a big club, versus a team that has won their domestic league that can be counted on one hand? Chelsea a dominant force? What will you call Man City if they win the league? More than deluded, idiotic.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 8:47pm
Moratti please read my message, this is the team that you should deploy next season

Viviano, Isla, Benatia, Juan, Zanetti/Nagatomo, Poli, Guarin, Sahin or Eriksen, Coutinho or Bessa or Alvarez, G. Rossi and Giovinvo.

costs = Viviano: 4, Isla: 12, Benatia: 7, Poli:5, Guarin: 9, Sahin:10 or Eriksen:20, Rossi: 15, Giovinco: 15.
Total = 77 - 87
Sales: Deki:3 , Lucio: 5, Sneijder: 28, Forlan: 6, Maicon: 14, Chivu: 6, Pandev: 7, Muntari: 6, Mariga: 4.
Total= 79 million
on the 24th March, 2012 at 6:46pm
the general consesnsus seems to be that inter, even by winning the odd trophy, are still not regarded as a good team because thats just truly how poor they are. And i know that both of you clown will throw the "british bias" argument in. But if that is the case why even in Spain and Germany are Chelsea regarded as a bigger threat then Inter? Why do know star players ever move to inter? Now that Mourinho has gone i would love to see Inter try and obtain a star player
on the 24th March, 2012 at 5:59pm
@Frankie and Maze - i think i need to provide the two of you with some clarity as you both seem to struggle. I should rephrase that Chelsea have been a dominant force in England in recent times. Be honest, when you go to work everyday or the pub which one of your colleagues regards inter as a big club? Nobody that i know does, their recent CL win, even that is accredited to Mourinho. Now how many of your colleagues regard Chelsea as a big club? A lot of mine do and inter are not.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 5:56pm
Inter r jus in a purple patch. All teams go thru this type of fluctuation in form. Moratti is passionate & u see it over all the years. He see a slump & makes a change. Obviously at some point, the right player is not available so a 2nd choice is chanced. But that's ok because Inter is still Inter & we will evolve. We hav a final target so let's believe we can acheive n get behind inter.To chose saying we should sell, untrue! We should sell players that don't hav heart 4 inter. Forza Nerazzuri!
on the 24th March, 2012 at 11:39am
Cesar hasn't been the same since his car crash in January 2010 for some reason and should be replaced with Viviano. Of the four centre backs at the club they should keep one of Samuel and Lucio and replace the rest. Samuels positioning is good but he's slow; Lucios pace and tackling are good but his positioning is poor. The real travesty for me is not having a left back since Maxwell left. Nagatomo, whilst bringing good width can't defend, and as Chivu knows himself it's not his best position.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 11:28am
Regarding the older ones who can stay. Zanetti is still ending 90 minutes fitter than anyone and his consistency is still good. Forlan should go because rightly or wrongly I believe he refused to come off the bench the other night, that shouldn't be acceptable. Milito apparently turned down a good offer last season and he still bangs them in, so faith should be shown in him. I'd keep him around the place, it can be a long season and back-up is required.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 11:22am
Good article, thanks Antonio. Some responses are well considered too; it's a shame about the trolls, that really has to be sorted.

Before anything else, Geron, I disagree that loyalty HAD to be shown to players from the treble. Showing mis-placed loyalty to players is something Moratti has been guilty of in the past. When I say mis-placed I mean sub-standard (in the past) and ageing players. After the treble, he should have taken advantage of a couple of large offers on people like Maicon.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 11:17am
Sneijder should be sold. He looks unhappy and Inter should still sell him to Man City, Man Utd or Anzhi for big money. Alvarez should be the focal point in midfield from now on Poli and Faraoni need more game time. Pazzo should be sent somewhere else if Milito is still going to be the main target in attack.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 9:11am
That's what you get inter after taking juve to Serie-B.. Now Serie-A title chase back to the best teams.. Juventus and Milan..

Forza Juve..
on the 24th March, 2012 at 8:39am
The future inter
Viviano, Isla, Benatia, Juan, Zanetti/Nagatomo, Poli, Guarin or Cristeg, Christian Eriksen or Sahin, Coutinho or Bessa or Alvarez, Rossi, Giovinco or Samuele Longo.

sell: Sneijder, Milito, Forlan, Pazzini, Chivu, Stankovic, Lucio.
Budget from sales: around 70 million.
Isla costs 12 million, rossi:16 million, Eriksen: 21 million or Sahin:10 million, Giovinco

Bessa is the future of Inter, if you don't want to play him next season, loan him out for a half a year to parma
on the 24th March, 2012 at 7:11am
I'm not a Inter fan.

@ Boss..... Here are the facts- who's the biggist club.

Inter Milan
18 league titles.
3 champions league.
3 coppa intercontinetale.
3 coppa UEFA.
7 coppa italia.
5 Supercoppa italia.

Boss think b4 you write things found out the facts, you just come across as a bit of a fool.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 4:38am
@ Boss...... My god are you for real, what rubbish you write,i'd get more sence from a boiled patoto. Tell me and the rest of the poeple that use football italia website, how long have you been following football for?. Let me educate you, its only since 2005 that Chelsea have been in the top 4, b4 that they won the odd league and cup, they were not really a big club. I bet you have only been following Chelsea since 2006. The only MUPPET on this website is you Boss.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 4:26am
Inter aren't in a position to sign £20-30m type players so they'll have to make do with cheaper alternatives. I'd ship out Sneijder, Cesar, Forlan, Mariga, Pandev and Maicon as well as the likes of Chivu and Muntari on frees. That should be about £60m

My 1st team would be : VIVIANO 5m (or handanovic 12m), ISLA 14m, NAGATOMO, DOUGLAS 10m, SAMUEL, CAMBIASSO, POLI 5m, MONTOLIVO free, ALVAREZ, PAZZINI, ROSSI 14m.

Not a perfect 1st team but going in the right direction
on the 24th March, 2012 at 3:33am
Adam rather than simply criticising why don't you come up with your own team of the future? Can't predict a better future team from the current squad really as i'm not going to make up players who would be in ideal inter as I would just say Inter should buy Messi. Inter have hardly ever been mid-table even when they had such classics as Recoba, Cauet and Conceicao. The youth have shown potential remember how Ronaldo and Henry were considered rubbish, look what they have done with their careers.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 2:03am
How much success did they actually have? Let's be honest, apart from the Mourinho period, they didn't really face any big opponnents or titanic title battles. The 3 Mancini titles were practically handed to them by Calcipoli, and the fools at Juve who sold them Ibra. For years, Inter have been paying huge amounts to bring in players (and far too much money in wages) and now they are making massive losses and are in danger of breaking the financial fair play.
on the 24th March, 2012 at 1:33am
I'm sorry but anyone who would have Ranocchia in their future inter side obviously doesn't watch them very often. He's a complete liability, the worst player I've seen in a very long time. Sleep walks through every game and doesn't deserve to be at inter. Article is spot on, Antonio. I'm an interista and understand we need to rebuild, expect Sneijder to go and hope Stankovic and Lucio do go. While they have served inter well, have come to the end and need to make way.

Mark, Belfast
on the 24th March, 2012 at 12:30am

Your either 12 years old or not very observant.

Check Chelsea poistion i PL the last 15-20 years and while your at it, check out Inters throphys in the same period.
on the 23rd March, 2012 at 9:14pm
It isinteresting to seee how much the players earn. It is hard for us to know from the outside which players the club should sell, as we don't really know which players have the character to help the younger players, I get the feeling Stankovic might be a useful player to keep hold of in that regard, so long as he doesn't demand a first team role, which I don't think he appears to.

Looks likr Chivu will be out, and possibly Cordoba will retire. And get rid of one of Lucio or Samuel.
on the 23rd March, 2012 at 8:27pm
Mmmm prior to the 'abramovich' era and bar the 98/99 season, I thought Chelsea always finished 6th-11th? As far as I remember anyway. Without Farspoli Inter would not of won anything, much like Chelsea without the billionaire backing.
on the 23rd March, 2012 at 8:21pm
Mark how can you comepare inter and chelsea. Chelsea have always been a top 4 team in england whereas inter are not. Chelsea have always had competition whereas inter have not. juve and milan were taken out of the picture and that is the only time in my lifetime where i can actually remember inter winning anything. Inter are juts muppets moratti doesnt know what he is doing, he just copies other clubs. his manager selection has been pathetic, gasperini lol? ranieri the loser? who next, Zenga lol
on the 23rd March, 2012 at 7:10pm
Labbate, I like reading your columns. Substantative and thought-provoking.

on the 23rd March, 2012 at 7:04pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.