Massimo Moratti “regrets” sacking Gigi Simoni and claims Inter “had won the 1998 Scudetto, but it was taken away for other reasons.”
The former President spoke at San Siro at the presentation of Simoni’s autobiography and naturally the thoughts went back to that controversial 1997-98 campaign.
“Simoni wasn’t with us for very long, but by my standards it was ages…” smiled Moratti.
The Coach was fired just 11 games into the next season, despite a 3-1 Champions League victory over Real Madrid.
“In that year we felt a winning mentality, there was a happy atmosphere and the climate of a really great team.
“We had Ronaldo, who was fantastic, but Simoni managed to introduce him into a team without creating any sense of jealousy in the others. Everyone was happy to play with him.
“Simoni got great results too. I won’t talk about the Scudetto that we won, naturally… and it was taken away for other reasons, but we could’ve had a fantastic Double of victories.”
The Nerazzurri finished in second place, five points behind Juventus, but the season was overshadowed by the dramatic head-to-head in Turin that saw Ronaldo denied a penalty for Mark Iuliano’s foul.
That same season, Simoni’s Inter won the UEFA Cup, beating Lazio in the Final.
“That team could’ve won so much and proved it was strong, but I wanted to shake things up in terms of results. It was a mistake, I regret it and I paid for it, changing three Coaches.
“The regret does remain by wondering what would’ve happened if he had remained, but I am convinced we would’ve achieved great things together, as well as less controversy within the club.
“It was a genuine mistake to send him away, but I continue to admire Simoni, as he never made me feel embarrassed about it. There is great reciprocal respect.”
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