MILAN – Maicon’s four days, the tireless Javier Zanetti, Julio Cesar’s everpresence in the league, Eto’o from Barcelona to Madrid, the Camp Nou time machine and the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Here are five things you may not remember from the Treble-winning season:
1 – MAICON’S FOUR DAYS
In his Nerazzurri career, Douglas Sisenando Maicon had never scored two goals in two consecutive matches. That was until the ‘Colossus’ scored two extraordinarily difficult and important goals on 16 and 20 April, against Juventus and then Barcelona. The first was a magnificent display of skill and power as he controlled the ball with four incredible touches before thumping a volley into the Bianconeri’s goal. The second was a crucial goal that paved the way to the Final in Madrid as he controlled Milito’s pass and slotted it past Valdes in the Champions League semi-final first leg. The Brazilian also stood out in the 2009/10 season for his assists as he set up his teammates on eleven occasions.
2 – THE TIRELESS JAVIER ZANETTI
He never stopped moving up and down the flank, both on the pitch and in training. The tireless Javier Zanetti played 55 out of Inter’s 57 games during the Treble-winning season. He only missed two matches: the Coppa Italia round of 16 (Inter 1-0 Livorno) and the match at San Siro against Bologna in the league. In the remaining 55 games, he always started and was only subbed off once: in the 2-2 draw against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League group stage when he came off for Marco Materazzi in the 86th minute.
3 – 3420 MINUTES FOR JULIO CESAR IN THE LEAGUE
Throughout his 300 Nerazzurri appearances, Julio produced indescribable moments and sealed crucial wins thanks to his instincts and ability to read the game and fly between the sticks, so much so that he became irreplaceable. In the 2009/10 season, Julio Cesar didn’t miss a single minute in Serie A as he defended Inter’s goal for 3420 minutes out of a possible 3420. As the Brazilian ‘keeper told us in hindsight, his three most important saves were at the Camp Nou to deny Messi, against Müller in the final and finally to thwart Aquilani against Roma.
4 – ETO’O, FROM BARCELONA TO MADRID
Running, searching for goals, hard work, skill and above all sacrifice. Samuel Eto’o is a perfect mix of all those, he’s a player who has trained himself over the years to achieve one thing: win. After winning the Treble with Barcelona, at Inter the Lion King showed that hunger can by fed by ambition and passion for football. From Barcelona to Madrid, the Cameroonian first played a match full of sacrifices as he played wide left to help the defence after Thiago Motta’s sending off, then he spurred the team on at the Bernabeu with his speech before the final: “Either we die on the pitch and take home the trophy, or we die because we didn’t bring it to Milan.”
5 – THE TIME MACHINE
The relativity of space and time between the last two steps towards the Final in Madrid deserves a chapter of its own. First, there was the never-ending six minutes plus added time of Barcelona vs. Inter. Then there was the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, that forced Barcelona to travel to Milan by bus, not plane, because of the cloud of smoke and ash that closed Europe’s airspace. It also brought forward Inter’s departure to Madrid, which meant they had a three-day-long build-up to the final.