Inter Milan might not be the most well-known Italian team in the UEFA Champions League. Yet, they remain one of the elites and still play regularly in the continental top flight. Guiseppe Meazza stadium is a perfect venue for European games with more than 75,000 fans making great atmosphere.
La Beniamata’s squad for Champions League have always been full of stars. Yet, these few names are not just stars in Inter Milan but have been apart of the club’s successful history. Sandro Mazzola, Giacinto Facchetti, Luis Suarez, Wesley Sneijder, Maicon, Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso, Goran Pandev, Julio Cesar, Javier Zanetti and Samuel Eto’o are only a few who managed to add UCL trophy in the team’s collection during their playing years. They were led by two trailblazer figures, Helenio Herrera and Jose Mourinho, who were not fear of employing different tactics for Inter’s glory, despite being criticised by the world for its negative unattractive football.
Inter Milan were making a history in the Champions League in three editions only, in 1964. 1965 and 2010 plus their unsuccesful attempts on two occasions, in 1967 and 1972.
In the mid 1960s, Helenio Herrera who was considered as the father of negative football, a defensive tactic relying on strong backline and swift counter attack, led Inter to win double titles in two years consecutively, in 1964 and 1965. They beat Real Madrid plus Benfica in a narrow win, 2-1 and 1-0 respectively. Their third title came in 2010 with the former FC Porto and Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, in charge of the team employing rather similar tactic as ‘the antithesis’ of Barcelona’s attractive tiki taka. La Beniamata crushed Bayern 2-0 in the final.
Meanwhile, in 1967, they were stunned by Celtic which managed to win over them 1-0 while Ajax and their total football trashed them 2-0 in 1972.
Iconic Moments in the Champions League
La Beniamata’s Iconic Moments are not always about the games at the final. Some of them were at the previous stage and remain in the fans’ memory for years.
The 1964 and 1965 finals have been memorable surely for their first continental success. The Argentine boss, Helenio Herrera brought Inter to thump the five-time winner back then, Real Madrid, and the one which ended Madrid’s domination, Benfica in the following year when the final was staged in San Siro, their own home turf.
However, the next glorious moment was in the semi final of 2010. Mourinho’s Inter was taking on Barcelona, the reigning champion with Messi, Guardiola and tiki taka attractive ball possession-based tactic as their trademark. Mourinho dared to deploy the opposite tactical approach and succeeded. Messi and their former star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, were frustrated and isolated on the pitch and unable to make a move while Inter scored three goals through Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito.
The unpleasant moment for Inter was probably in 2003 semi final. It was a Milan derby and both shared spoils in both legs. After a goalless draw, Inter could only muster 1-1 draw in the ‘away’ game. Oba Martins’s goal was their only response to Andrey Shevchenko’s opener.