Tuesday July 31 2012
Ranocchia needs Inter faith

Andrea Ranocchia had a season to forget in 2011-12, but, as Antonio Labbate argues, the Inter defender has the tools to re-emerge as a star of the future.

Andrea Ranocchia always wanted to be a great defender. “There was more than one poster of Alessandro Nesta on my bedroom wall,” the Inter man stated as he reminisced about his childhood past. “I’ve always had a great amount of admiration for him.”

The Roman, after some stunning spells at Lazio and Milan, has now left Serie A. At the age of 36, he’s gone to play in the less pressurised environment of North American football after signing for Montreal Impact. Ranocchia, meanwhile, is about to start perhaps the most crucial campaign, in his brief career to date, in a championship where winning over your critics is as problematic as lifting silverware.

The 24-year-old has been a player of potential since his early days at Arezzo and he went on to underline that promise during a two-year loan spell at Bari. It thus comes as no surprise that he ranks his time at the Stadio San Nicola as his best in terms of consistent performances. Nobody was shocked when he returned to parent club Genoa and then, almost immediately, to Inter in January 2011.

The cost alone of his transfer to San Siro, just under €20m in total, spoke volumes about just how highly the player was regarded on the peninsula. Months earlier he had also won his debut Italian cap under Cesare Prandelli, igniting hope that he indeed was the next big thing in Italian defending. Eighteen months later and Ranocchia is already being written off.

Following a promising first six months at the Meazza, Ranocchia endured a nightmare 2011-12. After inheriting the No 23 shirt from Marco Materazzi at the latter’s request – a player Andrea watched at close quarters while a part of the Perugia youth system – he was one of a number of casualties during the Beneamata’s disastrous campaign.

Inter initially struggled to assimilate the new tactics of Gian Piero Gasperini and when Claudio Ranieri took over in September, things went from bad to worse. The appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni in March helped, but by then the damage had been done. Ranocchia ended the season with just 12 Serie A appearances and omission from Euro 2012.

“You don’t mature without going through bad times,” he says philosophically. “In football, just like in life, you can't grow without suffering. Yes, I went through a tough spell, under a Coach who I believe I didn't see eye-to-eye with – even on a personal level.

“It’s more difficult when you don't play regularly, you lose the tempo, your touch, your instincts. It takes a bit of time to get that back and the first few games under Stramaccioni were difficult as I wasn't entirely comfortable – I'd played so few games, just five in six months. It's obvious you need a bit of time to bed back in.”

Ranocchia’s stunted growth hasn’t been helped by fitness issues either, but it is somewhat premature to dispose of the idea that this centre-back will never make the highest grade for club or country. He may not be the complete player, he admittedly lacks pace, but there are signs that his reading of the game is improving and he certainly doesn’t lack focus. “I think concentration is my best characteristic.”

History also shows us that one bad season at Inter isn’t enough to ruin a career. Fabio Cannavaro endured two before he joined Juventus in a bizarre swap with Uruguayan goalkeeper Fabian Carini. The Nerazzurri would be making one massive mistake in letting go of a player who can only get better with patience and opportunities. Now that Lucio has gone, maybe that will finally happen.

“Last term I struggled to do anything really, but I've worked hard to reach this stage of pre-season in top shape so that I can go on to have a great campaign,” Ranocchia stated recently. “I’m striving every day not just to be a better player, but to become the best.

“I've learnt from the mistakes I made last term and I'm trying to make up for it. I've paid my dues and worked my way up through the different categories. Now I hope to stay here for as long as possible and prove that I’m worthy of this shirt.”

It’ll take more than summer statements of intention to silence all of his doubters, but this kid has to be believed in. He needs a first team shirt, he needs to stay fit, he needs to be allowed to make mistakes and Inter need to keep the faith. Give him a bit of time and Ranocchia could one day be the new poster boy of Italian football.

Have your say...
@ paul Rana has been called a witness to testify claims since he was injured during that game. Well I dont need to justify Inter or myself, in a few days everybody shall know when Rana will be playing for Inter and Conte would be serving a ban. 
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 4:26pm
I've always said this about inter pauly, good job the national team doesn't rely on them for players.they are so anti Italian and pro south Americans it's scandalous if he wants to improve then he had to leave but it's he really that good I doubt it.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 12:22pm
@sunny who is being question over the betting scandal none other than your boy so much for not joining Juventus because he wouldn't want to be caught up in a scandle lol lol you inter trolls make my no scandals aft inter then,
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 9:11am
Maybe Matrix's # was a good idea, being one Italian that lasted at Inter, otherwise sell him to Milan or Juve and watch him grow into his potential like Cannavaro and Pirlo did, respectively. Look at Pazzini, good first season at Inter, then they buy Forlan and lose faith in Pazzo and he begins to decline. Sometimes I wonder if Inters one objective is to ruin Italians?! Balo did right in getting out of there!
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 1:39am
@ Paul Ask that question to those fans who on the same forum are asking Inter to hand him to Juve. And ask the question to Conte who made a 12 mn bid on him last month
on the 1st August, 2012 at 1:28pm
Super Mario...far to early to rule him Bonucci wasnt and still isnt a world beater...carm on the ball? he gives away possesion more than chielini does and thats alot, but both are good Bonucci was in Rannochia shoes last year when Juve were trying to flog him to Zenit! But gave him a chance and he improved, Inter just need to give Rann a chance to play. Otherwise Milan or Juve should get him on the cheap, Maybe even Roma could play him more he will improve just as much as Bonucci.
on the 1st August, 2012 at 10:07am
@ sunny bajwa why would Juventus want Him really, Juventus was solid at the back last for rana I've seen milk turn quicker than him he's not exactly quick over ten yards, makes john Terry look like usain bolt.
on the 1st August, 2012 at 9:27am
Those saying he's better than Bonucci is out of their minds. I'm happy Juve chose Bonucci over him. Bonucci is the one with the leadership skills and calm on the ball. Ranocchia is badly lacking in pace something he will be punish for against top strikers not to mention his weak psyche and he's constantly prone to making huge gaffe in big matches in the worst of times. inter can keep him because he's now damage goods and will never live up to the promise the media placed on him.
on the 1st August, 2012 at 4:27am
As an Inter fan, I've been back and forth on Ranocchia. He has potential, he's shown glimpses of it, but he's also shown a serious vulnerability to the pressure of expectation. His form dropped very suddenly and it looks like it stemmed from that first bad game against Milan (the 3-0 loss).

Playing alongside Lucio probably wasn't good for him either, he looked a lot more solid partnering Samuel (although that's been rare). There's reason to be optimistic, but he has a lot of work to do.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 9:20pm
Juve or Milan fans who want Rana can transfer them in their teams in their fifa or pes because he is staying at Inter in the real world. Milan dont have money to even buy the morning newspaper and Rana does not want to go to Juve to be a part of a future scandal.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 9:12pm
Inter should hand him to Juvé. I'm only saying this because I'm a Juvé fan, mind. =P
on the 31st July, 2012 at 7:28pm
Milan should pick him up and give him another chance. Inter doesn't like Italians anyway.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 2:54pm
I think Ranocchia's mistake is that he joined Inter, whereas Bonucci who is much worse joined Juve his career has flourished. Young players need to be in a stable environment to grow but Inter do not offer that instead the management creates unnecessary pressure on its players. I would love to see Ranocchia join Milan to partner Acerbi who I have a lot of faith in, Ranocchia does not lack pace he reads the game so well and his long posture allows him to cover more ground than others.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 12:34pm
He is the future of Inter and Italy at the back, KEEP HIM!
on the 31st July, 2012 at 11:48am
..........I keep waiting and hoping that he improves, but it's just not happening so far. He DOES have the potential, still, but is he ever going to fullfil it? He's so lethargic and has no urgency. There's flashes of good defending but he always lets those get overshadowed by carelessness. You can rest assured, if he does get moved on he WILL improve and come back to haunt Inter! LOL. Should we keep him and hope for the best? I'm wondering if we've shown enough patience and really don't care.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 11:25am
“I think concentration is my best characteristic.” If that's the case Andrea, Inter should definitely be looking to move you on. And to say he's the most talented Italian centre-back with all the tools to make it big is WAAAY wide of the mark - unless of course you're talking about potential, in which case I take it back; if you're talking about current ability I'll let it stand.

on the 31st July, 2012 at 11:19am
His super lack of pace, if not improved on, will be his undoing.

Given the goals that were conceded due to his super weakness (serious lack of pace) and other mistakes to rely on him unfortunately is too much of risk.

Would to see him be a better player with some pace to burn. Concentration, focus and game reading wouldn't helps him much if he weak in the physical aspect of playing football.. i.e. running!

And tbh, at times, he does look a little dumb too.
Hopefully it is just the look.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 11:00am
Huge fan of Ranocchia. It seemed last season that Ranieri was willing to forgive all of Lucio's mistakes, and there were quite a few, but not Andrea's. Really hope Stramaccioni gives him a starting birth this season. With him and Coutinho finally being given first team football and the confidence of the manager, we should at least challenge for the title.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 10:41am
I'm a massive, massive fan of Ranocchia. I couldn't believe that Lucio played so much under Ranieri last term. In my opinion, Ranocchia is the most talented Italian centre-back in the peninsula. He's better than Bonucci and has the potential to be better than Chiellini who does make the odd mistake.I just hope that Stramaccioni doesn;t go with a Silvestre-Samuel pairing this term.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 10:27am
inter cannot make another mistake like they did with cannavarro, ranocchia has all the tools to make it big and is in the perfect set up considering inter are going through a rebirth right now of their own.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 10:20am
I agree with this artical He, Bonucci and Bochetti are the future of the back in Italy, however he has made one mistake.
on the 31st July, 2012 at 8:32am

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