APPIANO GENTILE - Inter president Massimo Moratti gave an interview to Inter Channel after watching the Nerazzurri in action during Monday's afternoon training session:
Moratti: it's the first time you have visited the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti in 2007.
"Yes. I didn't go to Bahrain and I wanted to come here today and wish everybody a Happy 2007 because I still hadn't seen the team. I also came to see how things are going. It was nice to be able to come to Appiano."
In Bahrain the team showed it has a serious and professional attitude. Do you agree?
"Yes, this is one of the good things of this year. Let's say that we had the same attitude in past years, but you can see it more this season. The team is more solid and has great personality in its professionalism. And I have to be honest and say that the victories certainly help. Winning helps you do everything more willingly, feel stronger and more solid, and see the results of your work."
Let's talk about the transfer market and start from today's news conference given by Roberto Mancini's, who when asked about the problems of Cassano and Shevchenko, replied he would bring in both players...
"Leaving aside these situations, which for the moment belong to others, I can say that what I read is part of the rich imagination of journalists (smiles). I understand there can be moments of stagnation in football, but now, for example, everybody is talking about Messi who is considered everyone's dream, but they're all talking about Moratti being crazy for Messi. In truth, I spoke very highly of him two years ago when he made his debut for the Argentine Under-21 national team. Since then, there has never been the slightest of contacts. Messi will therefore continue his career at Barcelona, and Inter is not in contact with him."
But according to the rumours, it looks like Messi said he is honoured and proud that Inter have spoken well of him...
"I have also read this, and I'm pleased he's happy about this. It's true that I admire him and consider him to be a great player, but it's just as true that we don't need him in this moment. And in any case, we have a team that has no kind of necessity. Since Messi is not for free, I think it's better not to think about it right now."
What about Buffon. There have also been rumours linking him to Inter...
"Yes. This is part of the same journalistic hype. We need to point out that Inter are lucky to have two very strong goalkeepers. I have to say that we are counting a lot on Julio Cesar. Not only does he have great potential, he has also shown he's a very strong goalkeeper with a great personality that fits in well with the rest of the team. So with all due respect for Buffon, we don't have this kind of necessity, and at this moment we are not among those who want to buy him. Like I have just said, we have Julio Cesar, and I want to reassure him that we are pleased to have him with us, and we are counting on him."
Your comments on the matter regarding Luis Figo?
"He hasn't hidden anything. He had explained this matter to me a while ago. He has been very good, we spoke together when I was in New York, and he did exactly what we told each other, which was to make sure there was no possibility of him leaving this year. His contract ends in June, he didn't know whether to go to America or Saudi Arabia, and he chose Saudi Arabia. And I told him I have a contract ready if he changes his mind. He has behaved by following certain advice and also by using the common sense that a player of that level has."
Inter face Empoli in the Tim Cup tomorrow, then Torino away in the last match of the first half of the Serie A season...
"The match played in Bahrain was also important to get the players back on track psychologically. I believe the Tim Cup game is fundamental because we return to playing our first match of the year in the cup instead of the league, and this can help us evaluate our level of tension during a match. We have to continue like before, with the same vigour, mentality and personality, then what comes will come, but I think it is necessary to do very well this year."
Roberto Mancini has used the team's strength sparingly in every competition. At Inter you have to be a coach, a psychologist, and a person and a human being...
"It's like this in every team with big objectives. It is impossible to choose a competition to win. You have to try and win them all. However, I think we have a duty to do very well this year."
The club is dedicating a lot of resources to a number of interesting initiatives, like Inter Brand and Inter Campus, for example. What are you expecting from these initiatives in 2007?
"Greater liveliness. We are close to our centenary year and we are preparing for this, which is very important from a brand point of view. This means looking not just at Italy or Europe, but also those who follow this club in the whole world, and we have just had a demonstration of this in Bahrain. So developing Inter's image is an important goal. As far as Inter Campus is concerned, we are progressing with the necessary caution for such a delicate project. And we continue to have the enthusiasm from the people who work on it, and from the children themselves. For me, it is a wonderful example of social work, which is wonderful for the club, its image and, above all, the good of these children. It's a project that enjoys continued success in a charity environment, we're certainly not looking to make the front pages of the papers with this initiative."