CHAMPIONS OF ITALY, EUROPE, SOUTH AMERICA. SUMMER GLORY FOR BASTONI, BARELLA, LAUTARO

After the Scudetto, three Nerazzurri stars have now enjoyed continental success with Italy and Argentina too

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Champions of Italy, Europe, South America. Summer glory for Bastoni, Barella, Lautaro

Inter are champions of Italy. Italy are champions of Europe. Argentina are champions of South America. And three Nerazzurri players – Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni and Lautaro Martinez – have now tasted glory twice this summer.

The colour blue features in all three triumphs: in early May the black and blue of Inter sealed a 19th Scudetto title, then two months later the blue of Italy and light blue of Argentina clinched the European Champions and Copa America, respectively.

The Azzurri defeated England on penalties at Wembley to win the Euros for the first time since Giacinto Facchetti held the trophy aloft in Rome 53 years ago, while Argentina edged out Brazil to claim their first Copa America crown in 18 years.

Before last Sunday, seven players had won the European Championship while playing for Inter: Luis Suarez (with Spain 1964), Facchetti, Tarcisio Burgnich, Angelo Domenghini and Sandro Mazzola (with Italy in 1968), Laurent Blanc (with France in 2000) and Giorgos Karagounis (with Greece in 2004). Now there are nine.

Barella and Bastoni were named in the 26-man Italy squad selected by Roberto Mancini, who had two spells as Inter coach (2004-2008 and 2014-2016). 

Nicolo was a mainstay of the Azzurri midfield, starting every match except against Wales, scoring a peach of a goal in the quarter-final win against Romelu Lukaku's Belgium, and playing 50 minutes of the final.

Alessandro meanwhile made one appearance during the tournament: 90 minutes against Wales.

After their Wembley triumph, the Azzurri duo took to Instagram to celebrate.

“Never stop dreaming! EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS” wrote Barella, beneath a photo of him kissing the trophy.
 

“After a difficult period for everyone, it gives us immense joy to be heading back to Italy with this trophy,” Bastoni said. “I want to thank my team-mates, an extraordinary group of players, who made this achievement all the more special. Thanks to you fans for driving us on with your contagious passion and support. It's a dream come true... CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!”

Italy's success comes on the same day, 11 July, that five Inter players (Giuseppe Bergomi, Ivano Bordon, Gabriele Oriali, Alessandro Altobelli and Giampiero Marini) helped the Azzurri win the 1982 World Cup in Spain 39 years ago.

It was also the perfect way for Barella to celebrate the anniversary of his move to Inter, on 12 July 2019.

A few hours earlier, on the other side of the pond, Lautaro Martinez started alongside Lionel Messi in the Argentina side that overcame arch-rivals Brazil at the Maracana. El Toro had a superb tournament for l'Albiceleste, scoring three goals: against Bolivia in the group stage, Ecuador in the quarter-finals and Colombia in the semis, when he also converted from the spot in the shootout. 

After the final, when he played 79 minutes, Lautaro posted a picture of himself and his team-mates with the trophy on the hallowed Maracana turf, saying: “For all Argentinians, for everyone who supported us, for my family. Thank you for this incredible joy. We're champions of America.”

Before Martinez, seven Nerazzurri players had won the Copa America. 

Gary Medel was the most recent, in 2015 and 2016 with Chile. 

Before him there were several Brazilians: Ronaldo in 1997 right after joining Inter, and again in 1999 when he scored in the final against Uruguay; Adriano, who dominated the 2004 edition – when Julio Cesar was involved too – and finished as the tournament's top scorer, netting in the final against Argentina before a shootout victory; Maicon in 2007 (Brazil 3-0 Argentina); and Miranda in 2019, at the end of his time at Inter, beating Peru in the final. 

Ruben Sosa also tasted Copa America success with Uruguay in 1995, as did Ivan Cordoba, who notched the winning goal for Colombia in the 2001 final against Brazil.

Only two clubs can boast having players starting in both the Euros and Copa America final: Inter and PSG (Barella, Lautaro; Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria).

It's certainly been a summer to remember for Inter. Congrats to our Italy, Argentina and our champs!
 


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