Christian Vieri regrets how things ended for him at Inter, comparing his treatment to that of a Mafioso, but he holds no grudge against Massimo Moratti.
The striker enjoyed a prolific spell with the Nerazzurri between 1999 and 2005, scoring 103 goals in 144 Serie A appearances.
However, the relationship soured when it emerged that the club, under the instructions of their then-President, had tailed and wiretapped Vieri.
“Our bond was special, strong... very strong even,” the retired striker explained today to the Gazzetta dello Sport on his time at San Siro.
“We spoke several times during the day - even at three in the morning, we discussed with each other on everything. He made me feel like part of a family
“In short, I was fine professionally and personally and I gave all my energy to the team. You can understand my terrible disappointment when it emerged that I was followed and even wiretapped. Heck, these are things that you do in the Mafia.
“Then, after the arrival of Adriano, the phone calls became less frequent. But I know how these things go, especially in football.
“It was enough to talk [about these matters] directly, and I would have had no problems if I left on good terms.
“There was the possibility of a renewal, but after six years it was probably also right to focus on other players.
“Branca and Ghelfi dealt with my departure, I didn't hear from the President… Calciopoli? Juventus and Milan were always stronger, our big occasion came in 2002.
“If I met him today, I'd shake your hand and hug him too. I'll always be thankful to him - he bought me for my weight in gold from Lazio and allowed me to experience six wonderful years. I was overwhelmed by the love of the fans.”
Vieri also maintains that the best years of his career were spent at Inter, despite the serious injuries that he suffered.
“It's a big shame that my spell at Inter ended in a certain way. I loved Inter, I gave them everything and sacrificed myself for the Nerazzurri jersey each day I was there. At training I was the first to arrive and the last to leave,” he added.
“Even today on Twitter, I receive photos of Ronaldo and I together - good times! One of my biggest regrets is not being able to play with Fenomeno for longer. We were the best, and the fans were always close to us.
“I remember the Inter-Verona game. We arrived at the stadium an hour-and-a-half before, but inside there were already 85,000 people screaming our names.
“It sent chills down our spines and was impossible to explain. I'm really proud to have given my all to the fans.
“It was beautiful! We could feel the heat and the stadium shake. These are feelings which trump any trophy. Only the fans who were there at that time could figure it out.
“Despite what people have said, I could never hate Inter, it's impossible. I had my best years there, I played for the shirt, I scored almost a goal per game, I suffered, rejoiced and felt emotions that I have never experienced anywhere else. They were unique.”
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