Inter Milan made history in 2010 when they lifted a historic treble under José Mourinho scooping the Serie A, Italian Cup & UEFA Champions League titles.
It’s a team that will go down in Nerazzurri and Italian folklore for generations to come. But do you remember the players who defeated Bayern Munich over a decade ago?
🤺 A team built in José’s image
Throughout the spine of this brilliant team of unlikely heroes, there were fierce competitors who would put their bodies on the line to win football matches for their manager. For all of their aggression, however, this Inter Milan side possessed a bit of silky skill too.
Dutchman Wesley Sneijder orchestrated everything from the centre of the park with his range of passing, shooting ability and mastery of set pieces. He was a classic number 10, but he was a playmaker with a mean streak, and Mourinho loved that. Things never really worked out for Sneijder at Real Madrid in a frustrating two-year spell, but he hit the jackpot at Inter in 2010, flourishing as their star man and lynchpin. If ever there was a player who contained a balance between silk and steel, Sneijder was that man.
🇦🇷 Diego Milito
Argentinian striker Diego Milito was a late bloomer after enjoying an unconventional career, plying his trade for smaller clubs first in South America and then Europe. He had two spells at Genoa, sandwiched by a stint in LaLiga with Real Zaragoza, but he found his spiritual home at Inter when he signed for the club a few weeks before his 30th birthday.
Milito scored the only goal in the Coppa Italia final against Roma, he sealed Inter’s 18th Scudetto title on the final day of the season against Siena, again scoring the only goal of the game, and then he got a double as Inter beat Bayern at the Bernabeu to clinch Inter’s first European Cup triumph in 45 years. Talk about a big-game player in 2010.
🌎 South American steel
Milito wasn’t the only South American star in the side. Club legend and skipper Javier Zanetti, mostly known as a right-back throughout his career, was successfully converted into a holding midfielder by Mourinho and alongside compatriot Esteban Cambiasso, a man discarded and unwanted by Real Madrid in 2004, they formed one of the most balanced yet uncompromising central midfield duos in club football history. Mourinho was known for his experimentation with players in different positions and Zanetti’s rebirth as a midfielder paid off big time. Cambiasso was the left-footed midfield maestro, while one-club man Zanetti produced 110% performances each and every time he pulled on the black and blue.
In the heart of the defence, Brazilian Lúcio and Argentinian Walter Samuel were two of the most aggressive defenders on the planet at the time, and they both peaked with Inter in 2010 and became regarded as two of the finest in the game. Behind them, Brazilian keeper Júlio César took no prisoners with his courageous, authoritative style between the sticks.
🎩 A touch of flair
José’s Inter wasn’t just a bunch of talented thugs. Macedonian forward Goran Pandev, a man with a wand of a left foot, was anything but a household name around Europe but he thrived in Mourinho’s system as a hard-working, versatile wide player with great technical ability. On the opposite flank, Samuel Eto’o prowled, and we all know how good the Cameroonian great was at sniffing out chances and tucking them away. Ghanaian star Sulley Muntari was also one of Mourinho’s favourites, and he played a telling cameo role in the final against Bayern. Muntari, like so many players in that squad, possessed elite talent but never really fit in at any other clubs, before he found Inter and Inter found him.
What a team.