MILAN - The record-breaking Scudetto won by Trapattoni’s Inter on 28 May 1989 is a date in every Inter fan’s heart. Andrea Mandorlini and Gianfranco Matteoli were both on the pitch that day, and we were lucky to have both of them as guests on the latest episode of Inter Calling to look back on that triumphant team.
“It was something incredible, we started a bit slowly, we were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Fiorentina which was a big talking point at the time. It was Trap’s third year in charge and there were high expectations, but we definitely didn’t get off to the best start,” Mandorlini recalled. “The group was solid, strong. We really came together with the Coach one day and from there on I don’t know, there were little things that then became big over the course of the season. We formed such a strong bond with our Coach. From there we began with a great deal of humility, with plenty of self-sacrifice, we were a solid side, but there was a lot of sacrifice at the start. We were a tough team to beat, very solid. It’s difficult to summarise everything in just a few words, let’s say that the Coppa Italia defeat meant a lot and that it opened the floodgates to that fantastic season.”
Matteoli spoke on the same line:
“That year was extraordinary, it didn’t start too well as Andrea said, we had big problems but things then improved in leaps and bounds and we managed to play out an exceptional campaign. I remember it being a pleasure to play for that team, and I especially remember that every player was important. The reason we became such a strong group was that everyone was important.”
Matteoli’s strategical role was also key to the team’s success that year:
“Let’s say that I essentially threw myself into that role by chance and I rebuilt my career from there. A lot of players with my traits struggled in that time because they didn’t manage to adapt to the new way of playing. Attacking midfielders either moved forwards or they sat in front of the defence because they needed to have other characteristics too. I’m happy to have contributed to the team’s success, but it was the team itself that was fundamental. We had some truly great players, we were all important because each one of us did his bit that year to achieve what we did. Playing at Inter was a beautiful time in my life. Feeling the shirt on my back and playing for the Club was an honour, I still think of myself as lucky to have done so today.”
A sweeper with a sharp eye for goal, Trapattoni’s faith in him was decisive for Mandorlini:
“Gianfranco’s story is more or less the same as mine. Trap was decisive for both of us. He’d made me play a few games as a sweeper the year before, so he was counting on me, and the following year I felt a great sense of responsibility and that was how I discovered that “new” position. Yes, I scored some big goals that I look back on every now and then, it was a magical season in that sense too. I’ve been an Inter fan ever since I was a kid, so spending seven years in the shirt was just fantastic.”