MILAN – He can barely speak, having lost his voice after using it all in the stands of San Siro on Sunday night. His tireless cheering was just like his runs on the pitch: absolutely selfless. Ivan Zamorano has got Inter running through his veins and that will never change. The pictures of his celebrations, his embraces with Nerazzurri fans, his cries of support to the team down below: Ivan is one of us. He lived and breathed the Derby right down to the last chorus. And when he entered the Chile room in Inter HQ dedicated to him, he was thrilled: “My fourth Derby in a row as a fan, the fourth victory: I promise I’ll always try to come to Milan”.
An Inter fan to the very core: “My connection with Inter started the day I landed in Milan and it has never stopped. There something powerful tying me to the Nerazzurri, something that is ingrained in the history of this Club. Character, determination, suffering to win: that’s the Inter way, but also my way.”
Visits to Milan always bring joy: both for him and for the fans, who have always acknowledged his dedication to the Nerazzurri shirt. “Every time I come back here, it’s as if I never left. The player comes and goes, but the person always stays, and people recognise that. The connection I have with the Nerazzurri people is special.” He looks at the wall on which is depicted the shirt numbers 1+8: “That number remains deep-rooted, for everyone.”
His energy is contagious, and this Derby was one that nobody will forget in a hurry: “We all had a negative feeling at the end of the first half, we could have been even more than two goals behind. Then it turned into the perfect match, with a very happy ending. This team doesn’t just play well, they also have character, they have heart. That’s why it was so beautiful. People go to work happier after you win the #DerbyMilano.
“Fans like this team because they show grit and passion. The emotion shown in the second half was exceptional. Now comes the difficult part: hanging onto top spot, continuing on this path.” Ivan knows that you have to keep your feet on the ground, even though he himself often used to fly through the air. He used to hang in the air, pulling out superb headers just like Stefan de Vrij’s. A word on Lautaro: “Just like me, he’s not that tall, but he’s so strong in the air. I must say that Conte certainly has to be happy with the work all his forwards are doing. I was generous and I used to give everything for the team, but Lukaku, Lautaro and Sanchez do that too, each of them are doing great things for the team with their respective characteristics.”
Now comes the hard part, as stated: facing Napoli in the Coppa Italia, a match that reminds Zamorano of the challenges of the late ‘90s. Three wins and a draw for the Chilean against Napoli, with “the best goal of my career, scored with a backheel on 28 February 1998. I vividly remember Moriero’s perfect cross from the right followed by my back heel. An incredible goal, not at all from my usual collection as I was much better with my head than my feet, often going for diving headers on low crosses. That shot was totally unexpected.
“It will be a tough challenge against Napoli, because there’s a final to reach which will be played against either Juventus or AC Milan. It would be massive to get there.”