Abu Dhabi is a one hour and 20 minute drive away while my TV remote control is a “hand stretch” away; I chose the latter to try and catch up any possible excitement of the FIFA Club World Cup, UAE 2010.
It might be a strange decision for a football fanatic, if I were any, and the second in a row within a period of less than a month after I have opted earlier not to go and watch the Argentina vs. Brazil match in the stadium.
Back in 2009, and around the same period of this year, I was among the first fans in Abu Dhabi to watch the tournament. I even took a two week vacation from my work to try and catch up with every moment of the tournament and live the passion of football. I wanted to see Veron, Messi, Xavi, Puyol, Estudiantes and Barcelona.
I have been thinking since day one of the tournament what the real reason is, and I figured no other than one name; Rafa Benítez. The ex Liverpool and Valencia coach has had good spells with his former employers, yet he is on a mission of self destruction with Moratti’s team. He has turned Internazionale into a team I don’t even enjoy watching. He took the Italian Champions back to the age of Luigi Simoni and Mircea Lucescu.
Inter Milan was the reigning champion of Italy and Europe with Mourinho last year and became the first Italian team to ever net down the “Treble.” UEFA’s team of the year was mostly from Inter. The best player in each position was picked up from the Nerazzurri. Even Milan fans where appreciative for the first time to see Javier Zanetti paid off for his loyalty and hard work.
Benitez’s first words when he was summoned by Moratti were the mark of his disastrous start. He talked of how hard it will be to change what Mourinho has established and the time it will take to change the players’ mentality and style of play. His words marked the end. All what we hear nowadays, with the approach of the January transfer market of course, are rumors about disgruntled stars wanting to leave Inter, and players willing to kill themselves for a reunion with “The Special One.”
I watched Zanetti play for Inter, and I have seen Figo happy with them, and I don’t want to change that happy image if I headed towards Abu Dhabi. Even if Inter wins the title it will be a win to cover the bigger problems with a thin block of glass. It will not even be close to the history I witnessed with Barcelona last year.
Benitez still has the time to turn things around. He can ask for a blank cheque from Moratti to buy the best talents in the world and win four titles if not five with Inter this year. The question is: would any talented footballer with a good judgment want to join an aging Inter with a disturbed coach?