It’s difficult to stop Nicola Berti; he always has the same level of grit and desire both on and off the pitch. On the day of his 54th birthday, Inter remains as a constant in his heart, a passion born from incredible goals, those charges up the pitch and a unique bond with the fans.
“E facci un gol, e facci un gol, Nicola Berti facci un gol”.
Inter fans mean, for me, pure emotion. We had a really special relationship.
I gave everything for this shirt. I experienced some amazing moments while wearing it: from my debut it ’88, the pre-season Derby against AC Milan, I remember that I fouled Baresi because I wanted to make myself known, as I had just arrived. Then there were the UEFA Cup finals against Roma and Salzburg, and Inter 2-1 Napoli at San Siro when we had mathematically won the Record Scudetto; I scored that goal on the volley, even though they gave it as an own goal against Fusi…
From Inter vs. Napoli on 28 May 1989, to Gattuso’s Napoli – the Nerazzurri’s next opponents.
There are some brilliant photos of that game. I was so up for it; it was amazing. This next game against Napoli will be really important; we’re not able to mathematically win it like we did in ’89 but it’ll be a great boost because beating Napoli now is just one more show of strength.
This team now has amazing mental strength because they have taken this 11 point lead on the pitch, thanks to some great performances and a lot of growth. They’ve won difficult games too, and have shown that they can get all three points when they need to be taken. When you’re on a wave and you have this kind of mentality, you do everything in your power to stay on the wave.
The most important thing is that this is not a team for just a season; it’s a project that, in the coming years, can only grow because the squad has been pieced together perfectly. In terms of performances recently, I think that the group hug after Darmian’s goal against Cagliari says a lot as it was a tough game. There’s really something building here; I saw a bit of that 1988/89 Inter side in that hug – there’s a balance and this is essential.
How would it be to play with Lukaku?
I’d have scored a hatful of goals on the break. Thinking about when I kicked off the counters and how he sets; I’d surely have tracked him into the box. His physical strength, his desire to score goals at any cost, these are the things that make him stand out and that I always had, despite the fact that I was a midfielder. Seeing somebody who gets the ball, takes on two defenders… I would have definitely tried to make that run into the boy; I’d have seen it from far away and get there after him.
If I could’ve chosen to play in any game this season, it would have been…
The win against Juventus! It’s no accident that the goals came from Vidal and NB – Nicolò Barella! That game was massive and was a clear show of strength. I’ve always liked Barella, ever since he was at Cagliari, he has that grit and positivity that I always had. He’s a great finisher and he has the most important asset of them all: a desire to never give up.