MILAN – His full name is Wilhelm, but everyone knows him as Wim. Wim Jonk was born in Volendam on 12 October 1966 and now coaches his hometown club, who are currently in the Dutch second division. He was at the Nerazzurri for two seasons in the 90s, from 1993 to 1995. He arrived in Milan along with international teammate Dennis Bergkamp. Two signings which caused quite a sensation at the time.
With an away trip to Dortmund coming up for the Nerazzurri, it’s the perfect opportunity for the former Dutch midfielder to tell us about the two-legged affair against the Germans at the quarter-final stage of the 1994 UEFA Cup. In the first match between the sides, Jonk scored a brace in Inter’s 3-1 win in Germany (click here for Massimo Paganin’s version of events). This was one of the important steps in a competition which would finish with Jonk scoring the only goal at San Siro in the second leg of the final against SV Casino Salzburg.
“How could I forget about that 3-1 win in Dortmund? We were going through a difficult spell but were under less pressure to get results in Europe and played more freely. We put on a very solid showing in Germany: we were compact in defence and looked to hit them on the break. It’s always been difficult to play away to Dortmund. The atmosphere is incredible and it’s what I dreamed of as a child prior to becoming a footballer. Tension was in the air, but I managed to score two goals in the first half with two good pieces of play.”
It was a difficult match, with Shalimov scoring a late third for Inter on the break. Then, in the return fixture, the Germans gave the Nerazzurri an almighty fright before Manicone’s goal ensured that Inter went through. And then, with the team having progressed to the final, there was that beautiful deft touch from Wim to lift the ball over the goalkeeper against Salzburg. “During the UEFA Cup that season, we scored a lot of goals (22 in fact), this came naturally to us on our run. Dennis Bergkamp topped the goalscoring charts in that year’s competition with eight, while I bagged five. The final at the Meazza remains something memorable: the woodwork was hit, there were chances, it was incredibly tense. And then there was my goal, one that unleashed pure joy, at exactly the right moment.”
Jonk scored 13 goals in 67 appearances for Inter over two years. He made his debut at San Siro against Reggiana: “I scored a great goal from distance and provided an assist for Totò Schillaci: it was a memorable day. All my family were at the stadium, I remember it really well.” His final Nerazzurri goal came in Inter’s 3-1 win in the #DerbyMilano.
“Italian football was completely different to Dutch football. When Dennis and I arrived, we had to get used to a different way of approaching matches: there was a lot of pressure, the fans were great but demanding. I had this tendency to look to control the play, I liked being the commander in midfield. Out of my teammates during that era, I obviously remember Beppe Bergomi in particular: he was a great guy, an exemplary professional and a fantastic defender.”