Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Wesley Sneijder, who arrived at Galatarasay on Monday, is expected to be missed greatly at Inter Milan. AFP
Wesley Sneijder, who arrived at Galatarasay on Monday, is expected to be missed greatly at Inter Milan. AFP
Wesley Sneijder, who arrived at Galatarasay on Monday, is expected to be missed greatly at Inter Milan. AFP

Reality bites everyone in Italy on and off the football field

Recession has affected clubs and followers alike, writes Ian Hawkey.

Tough economic times breed nostalgia, the longing for days when the pot of disposable income seemed deeper, when a week's work for the same week's wage somehow appeared shorter. Ordinary Italians, struggling to see light at the end of recession's tunnel, live these sensations daily.

They are also discovering that, even in their preferred form of escapism, football, nostalgia is hard-nosed. A compromised sort of nostalgia lately has been heard on the red and blue sides of Milan.

Both Inter and AC Milan have had cause to think deeply on the leading players who stood for the club's peak achievements of recent campaigns. Inter finally sold Wesley Sneijder, after a saga which had dragged on. Once the Dutchman had joined Galatasaray for around ?7.5 million (Dh36.7m), it became easier to appreciate Sneijder's positives, not the problem he had become, once Inter had reached a contractual impasse with a player to whom they had offered a longer deal, but on lower than his current, ?6m-per-season salary.

Sneijder was once a real ?6m man in fans' eyes: he helped deliver Inter's best season since the 1960s. Remove his goals and passes from the recollections of the Uefa Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia of 2010 and you take out much of the creative dynamism of that treble.

For all the arguments that Sneijder has not been badly missed in the five months since he last wore an Inter jersey, they are currently a side nine points off the lead of Serie A and four points shy of the last qualifying place for next year's Champions League. The Inter in which a fit Sneijder thrived was stronger.

That is not to deride the club's decision to stand firm on their commitment to financial adjustment. Moreover, the current Inter play in a different style to the quick-breaking Jose Mourinho-managed team who funnelled play through the Dutch No 10.

Similarly, the last AC Milan team to win the Champions League were distinct from the present version. They had a brilliant fulcrum for their plans in Kaka, the figurehead of Milan's 2007 European Cup winners.

Milan are expected to resume, before this transfer window ends, their on-off talks with Real Madrid about bringing the Brazilian back. Naturally, they have kept emphasising to Madrid that the Kaka of the past 18 months is not the zippy Kaka who used to energise Milan, adding that his value, his price, has therefore dropped. There is genuine nostalgia for Kaka at Milan, but it is a hard-nosed, count-every-penny nostalgia.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Yuvraj Singh, left, and Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrating after they won their IPL match against Delhi Daredevils at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 action at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s power-hitters laid down a marker at the first opportunity in IPL 2014 as they cruised past a hapless Delhi Daredevils with eight wickets, 20 deliveries, and about three more gears to spare in front of a packed house at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Opening performance during Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi. Mona Al-Marzooqi/ The National

In pictures: Day 3 of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

All the action from Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi.

 Atletico Madrid's Cristian Rodriguez, second left, celebrates his goal with team mates, and coach Diego Simeone, third right. Atletico are on the cusp of a Primer Liga title. AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Atletico Madrid look to edge towards Primera Liga title before Chelsea visit

Diego Simeone's men need to win just four of their five remaining games to seal the Primera Liga championship and they take on Elche before the first leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on Tuesday.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National