Only two years after its founding, in 1910, Inter won its first Italian championship (thus gaining the “scudetto”). The team was forced to momentarily change its name to Ambrosiana-Inter during the Italian fascist era, as “Internazionale” was reminiscent of the Kommunistische Internationale, the organization of communist parties active from 1918 to 1943.
Even with a new name, the team behaved well. In 1930, Ambrosiana-Inter won the first Italian championship that was called “Serie A,” thanks to thirty-one goals by champion Giuseppe Meazza, to whom the stadium where Inter and Milan play is dedicated.
Inter became world famous shortly after it was bought by oil entrepreneur Angelo Moratti. Moratti hired coach Helenio Herrera (nicknamed “il mago” or “the magician”). Inter won three Italian championships (1963, 1965, and 1966), two Champions Leagues, and two Intercontinental Cups. Great players of those years were midfielder Sandro Mazzola, who scored two goals in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in 1964, Luis Suarez, and Giacinto Facchetti.
When president Moratti and trainer Herrera left Inter, the team’s success dwindled, especially in European competitions. The situation changed some years later, when Angelo Moratti’s son, Massimo, bought the company. The younger Moratti hired fantastic trainers for his team. One of them, Roberto Mancini, led Inter to three Italian championships.
It was José Mourinho, however, who brought Inter on top of Europe again. José Mourinho calls himself “the special one” as he considers himself a natural-born winner. It was under his leadership that Inter won the rare “treble” or “triplete”—the Italian championship, the Champions League, and the Italian Cup—in the same year. He was the first trainer to do so in Italy, and no one has come close to repeating the feat.
In November 2013, Massimo Moratti sold the team to an Indonesian company owned by Erick Thohir. It is likely that the new ownership will invest in the team to make it great once again.
Famous foreign champions who have recently played for Inter are:
- Javier Zanetti (from Argentina, 858 matches from 1995 to 2014)
- Iván Córdoba (from Colombia, 455 matches from 2000 to 2012)
- Esteban Cambiasso (from Argentina, 431 matches from 2004 to 2014)
- Dejan Stankovic (from Serbia, 326 matches from 2004 to 2013)
- Alvaro Recoba (from Uruguay, 262 matches from 1997 to 2007)
- Adriano Leite Ribeiro (from Brazil, 177 matches from 2001 to 2009)
- Eugene Christian Chivu (from Romania, 169 matches from 2007 to 2014)
- Yuto Nagatomo (from Japan, 141 matches from 2010 to 2014)
- Luis Figo (from Portugal, 140 matches from 2005 to 2009)
- Ronaldo (full name: Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, from Brazil, 99 matches from 1996 to 2002)
The Derby Della Madonnina
The football match between Inter and Milan is called the “Derby della Madonnina” as both teams are based in Milan: one of Milan’s symbols is a gold statue of the Virgin on top of the Duomo of Milan (the “Madonnina”).
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