Archive for April, 2012


Continued from : https://irequis.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/top-10-worst-transfer-of-moratti-era/

Even the weakest has the strong point. Albeit Inter has done so many terrible transfers, Moratti and his mercato team still shows their sanity and intelligence by conducting good transfers.  Although the ratio between the good and bad transfers is about 1:8 to 1:10, at least there are some great signing to keep Inter in the Europe elite circle.

Again, the list is not about who is the best player ever in Inter. It is neither about how skillful is the player nor about his contribution only. It is about the player who contributes the most with least price. For example, if somehow Iner buy Messi for € 200 million and score with the same rate like he does in Barca, he still is rated as decent or good transfer, not brilliant, as we expect nothing less from such transfer..

Credit to http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk for providing transfer value. Note : all the price mentioned are in million Euro.

Grey area : Ibrahimovic (in : € 24.8 million, out : 90), Ronaldo (in : 28, out : 45) , Christian Vieri (in : 45, out : 0), Recoba (in : 17, out : 0)

Before we enter to top 10 best transfer, let me introduce the grey are. These are high profile names who seemed like good piece of transfers but, after giving deeper thought, one could wonder if they were really good.

Ibra brought Inter all the domestics trophies, but on darker side, he brought his notorious European curse to the club which never won UCL since 1966.

Ronaldo was the best gifted and talented player in Inter squad since established, but he only presented 1 UEFA Cup. Twice he did almost get his hand of Scudetto, only to lost in final matches as Pietro Cecarini robbed the title in 1998 and the whole team played terribly in 2002, giving up Scudetto and 2nd place. They were not Ronaldo’s fault and Ronaldo was always the best player in every season, but sadly statistic didn’t have sentiment thus let Ronaldo down for only giving 1 UEFA Cup. His record in Inter is 49 goals in 68 matches. Excellent goal per game stat, but 68 matches in 4 seasons was way too few for a player who smashed world transfer record, thanks to his prolonged injuries.

Vieri’s case was almost the same with Ronaldo, only worse. Broke the world transfer record but gave 0 titles for Nerazzurri. His stat was 103 goals in 145 games, excellent. But it was expected from world most expensive player. Zero title and rebellious attitude at the end of Inter career, it was close call and Vieri doesn’t make it for the 10 best transfer list.

Out of 4 players, Recoba was the worst. He was unknown player when Inter bought him. It seemed the transfer would turn out to be masterpiece as he showed terrific talent especially since his dream debut. But too bad he didn’t have the mentality to compete in high level competition and his susceptibility to injury didn’t allow him to contribute much for Inter. Also, he was an apple to Moratti’s eye, thus pushed Moratti to fire any coach who didn’t fit Recoba in the system  and forced every next coaches to play Recoba in every matches whenever possible. Furthermore, Recoba was the highest paid player in the world back then although his contribution was relative few. Indirectly, Recoba brought more instability to already turbulent Inter.

Honourable mention to decent and good transfers like Zamorano, Djorkaeff, Cauet, Pagliuca, Toldo, Samuel etc.

10. Ivan Cordoba (in :14, out : -)

An stalwart in Inter defence since 2000. His short frame doesn’t obstruct him to be one of world best defender back then. Since his arrival in Inter, he already secured 1 spot in center back.and became vice-captain until now.

As age began to devour his ability and fine physical quality, he became sub player and rarely got any playing time. Inter must be thankful for Cordoba because he never complaint about his lack of appearances in Inter games and it is the ultimate proof of his loyalty to Inter. At the end of the season, he will retire at the club he loves and every true Interisti must love him too.

Close call between Cordoba and Samuel as both of them are terrific defender. Considering Samuel costed Inter about € 25 million while Cordoba € 14 million and the latter plays longer, Cordoba won the place.

9. Dejan Stankovic (in : 4, out : ?)

A surprisingly cheap transfer for a player of Stankovic calibre. Back then in Lazio, Stankovic was one of Lazio best player, but how the financial crisis in Lazio forced them to sell him in mid season with low price. Versatile and adventurous midfielder with great defence and passing, Deki could play anywhere in midfield with excellence. When he joined Inter in mid season, he became important right after and he is still a regular first team player for current Inter.

Now, he doesn’t have those legs and lungs to run for 90 minutes and there are declines in some department, but he remains as one of the best signing for Nerazzurri.

8. Thiago Motta (in : 15, out : 11.5)

You just realize how precious is something or someone when you lose it. That’s what happen to Inter when selling Motta to PSG. His game was all about simple pass and broke up opponent’s attack before they began. A typical modern central midfielder like Carrick, Busquet, or Yaya Toure. Nothing stood out in his play to convince Inter board to keep him. Ranieri asked to not sell him as he realized the player’s importance, but the request fell to deaf ears. As soon as Motta departed, Inter began to crumble as the statistic speaks. When Motta played, Inter raked up 95 % winning ratio including 7 consecutives victories. But when after he was sold, Inter lost 8 and drew 1, the results which ended in Ranieri dismissal.

It was then when Inter realized they relied on Motta too much in simple but important aspects. When Inter wanted to start the offence, the defenders tended to pass the ball to Motta so he roled as the offence starter. And, when the opponents were about to attack, Motta was their first barrier, held them out to buy the time for the defence to organize themselves. They were simple tasks, no flashy clearance, no spectacular interception, no killer pass, rarely shot. He was a jack of all trades, but without the jack, the royal flush won’t be completed.

7. Diego Milito (in : 20, out : ?)

The most expensive players in top 10 list. Inter bought the Milito and Motta in same time. Milito caught Inter eye with his outstanding achievement as second capocannoniere under Ibra with midtable club Genoa. But the reputation still didn’t convince most Interisti. Pressure in big club is completely different, let alone playing in UCL. Milito didn’t have any experience in high-level competition, not in club level, not in national team so it was just natural for every Interisti to doubt him. How relieved are the Interisti when he proved they were wrong. He proved that his Serie-A top scorer weren’t a fluke and he still is the main scorer machine for Inter. The final days of 3 competitions were his biggest stage. He scored all the winners to seal the treble. In Serie-A, 2 goals in 0-1 against Siena, 1-0 against Rome, and double again in 2-0 against B. Munich.

Although his reputation was tainted when injury plagued him thus got himself the Bidone D’oro (Serie-A biggest flop) award, he proved everyone that he still is the deadly striker by leading Inter scorechart and putting himself in 4th position in Serie-A top scorers with 20 goals.

6. Lucio (in : 7, out : ?)

He was Munich key defender until Van Gaal came and omitted him from his team plan. Mourinho-Oriali didn’t miss the chance and didn’t waste any second to land him in Inter with cut-price. Lucio teamed up with Samuel, forming Latino duet and they managed to quell down every attack thrown at them. Lucio became important element in Mourinho system and he showed his best individual defending quality when he completely nullified Drogba threat when Inter met Chelsea. Against Barcelona in semifinal, once again Lucio and co defended valiantly against the storm of Blaugrana. As Mourinho instructed to defend very deeply and centrally, letting Barca moved to flank and crossed the ball. Barca’s lack of aerial threat was one thing, but it were the quality of Lucio and Samuel which allowed Mourinho to let the crossing came as he trusted Lucio-Samuel would thwart the attack. And in final, Lucio got a sweet revenge against his former club and the coach who wasted him.

Currently, Lucio is not the same force as he was 2 years ago. Age has slowed down his movement and reaction. Also, he began to lost his discipline after Mourinho went and he started to do his trademark run again, much to the worry of the defence. Neverthless, Lucio is still key defender for Inter and he is still unreplaceable.

5. Maicon (in : 6.8, out : ?)

He was in Brazil national team since 2003 and became main right back after Cafu retired. But it was his move to Inter which emerged his name as the elite fullback. And after he won his personal duel with Dani Alvez, he confirmed himself as the world best right back and an automatic choice for Brazil right back spot.

As a marauding fullback, Maicon became an important attacking outlet from the right flank. Fast and powerful, he burst past the right flank leaving his marker in his trail then providing cross for Milito to finish. A typical Brazilian fullback just like Jorginho, Cafu, and Carlos. Defensively, he did his duty well and proved to be more reliable than Alves. And when the attack met the dead end, he would rise up as the saviour to break the deadlock. The goal against Juventus in 2010 was an absolute beauty which put every attacker in jealous. And his goal in World Cup 2010 against North Korea gave his team a momentum after scoreless 55 minute.

Again, the classic cases for most of Inter aging player. His magics faded after the treble season ended and his lowpoint were when he was bullied to death by Bale twice. Also, the 4-0 loss against Rome really put Maicon capability into question. It seems Maicon would never return to his old form, but Inter really did well by creating once world best full back from € 6.8 million player.

4. J. Cesar (in : 0, out : ?)

Snapped up by free transfer and soon loaned to Chievo. He was undisputed first team goalkeeper in Flamengo and he also was called up for Brazil in 2004. But he still had much to prove. With Toldo still delivered good performances between the post, it seemed Cesar would be his sub until his playing day was over or it would turn out to be failed transfer as Inter used to do. But Cesar took Toldo place faster than expected and he never looked back ever since. Everyone has already lost count on how many times Cesar has saved Inter from the losses. When it seemed Inter will concede a certain goal, came Cesar with his stunning save which put every Interisti to relief -and the opponent to frustration-.

His form continue until the world couldn’t deny he was the contender for old names like Casillas and Buffon as the world best goalkeeper. Too bad as Mourinho reign fell, he underwent slight decline and the defenders didn’t cover him as they used to. He bounced back again although not in same league as in 2009 medio. Still, the first place between Inter sticks belongs to him and virtually no one in Inter could take the place for several years. What a quality for 0 price transfers.

3. Esteban Cambiasso (in : 0, out : ?)

Another masterpiece transfer from Inter. Inter didn’t sweat over the transfer as thanks for broken concept of Los Galacticos by Fiorentino Perez. Perez was notorious for his unappreciative manner to defensive midfielder, manifested concretely by disposing his most important player Makelele. The next year after Makelele sold, Madrid didn’t extend Cambiasso’s contract and Inter got his signature without paying even single penny. The new signing contributed immediately in his first season by forming creative-destructive core in central midfield alongside Veron. Along with Kaka, Cambiasso and Veron were known as the best performing midfielder in 04/05 season. Veron and Kaka moved to other club, but Cambiasso pledged his loyalty to Inter and maintaning his level of performance in high gear for years.

As a defensive midfielder, Cambiasso is a different breed unlike his rivals in the position like Makelele and Gattuso. While both of them played hard and did whatever it took to dispossess their opponent, Cambiasso used gentle approach. His knack of being in correct timing and position allows him to intercept the ball without the risk of suffering foul and yellow card, let alone the red card. He began to lose form for a while when he frequently thrusted forward and acted as attacing midfielder, much to lose the possession cheaply and leaving the defence vulnerable. Still unknown either it was personal initiative of coach (read : Ranieri) instruction. Under Stramaccioni, he returns to his natural domain in pure defensive midfielder and he doesn’t disappoint. Perhaps it would take another few games to regain his confidence and instinct back and he will become world best defensive midfielder once again.

2. Samuel Eto’o (in : -70 mil, out : 15 mil)

The most beneficial trade ever in footbally history. Barca bought Ibrahimovic with cash plus Eto’o which has estimated cost 20 million thus made it 70 million worth transfer. Economically, Eto’o-Ibra trade is best trade ever because quality gap between them was not that far yet Barca cashed in 70 million for Inter. And the best transfer became even more better considering Inter managed to move the jynx to their rival as Ibra always succeed in leading his team to domestic league glory, but the bless is shadowed by his Champion League curse.

Eto’o became a key player in treble glory while Ibra failed hard in Catalan. Eto’o used to be the main goalscorer, but thanks to Mourinho he was willingly demoted to be Milito’s support. It was an utter surprise because Eto’o was known for his selfish character. Next season in 2010/2011, Eto’o singlehandedly propelled Inter to decent position in forgettable season. And then, at the beginning of 2011/2012 season, Anzhi offered 15 million for Eto’o. Of course the offer was too good to be turned down. Imagine, 15 million for 30 years old striker who began to lost his trademark speed. By the time Eto’o left to Russia, he brought the benefits which no one could ever imagine. The total was approximately 85 million cash with 5 trophies. Sweet

But wait, how come the best transfer ever is positioned at 2nd ? Well, the 1st must be so special, isn’t it ?

1. Javier Zanetti (In : 6,5, out : never)

Regardless how many million Euro and trophies Eto’o had brought to Inter, he would never beat Zanetti for the best transfer in Moratti history. Zanetti was the first transfer of Moratti and he was still unknown 21 years old Argentinian right back. Who ever guessed he would be one of the greatest player  ever –if not the greatest- in Internazionale Milano history ? Moratti himself admitted, Zanetti is the best transfer he has ever done. And, considering how much contribution he has given to Inter, 1st is the most appropriate position.

Maybe Zanetti didn’t bring in 75 million like Eto’o did, but he repaid his 6.5 million price tags with 797 caps, captain for 13 consecutive years, and 15 trophies Those were the statistics which any Inter players has never achieved and he still has the chances to add the tallies. Also, it was as if Inter bought 2 or 3 players simultaneously when they bought him. He runs up and down the pitch, sometimes from right flank to left, and he does it without stop. He is capable of playing in fullback, winger, defensive midfielder, and central midfielder. Don’t forget he can play at either flank, makes it 6 positions in total. Also, he rarely succumbs to injury and suspension thus allows him to play almost every match with his trademark outstanding consistency. Besides on-the-pitch contribution, Zanetti also gives off-the-pitch contribution such as exemplary attitude which is very rare in current football world. Simply, he is the dream perfect transfer for every club in the world.

Since the oil tycoon Massimo Moratti took over Internazinale Milano in 1995, Inter has experienced the most turbulent era in football history. More than 100 players and exactly 18 coaches has came during his 18 years of tenure. As the true fans of Inter, Moratti has sacrifices his life to lift Inter to the top of the world. But, right motivation multiply wrong action is equal to wrong. Moratti’s ambition doesn’t walk in coherent with trust to subordinate, patience, and astuteness. No wonder Inter has done too many transfer blunders during all these years.

The top 10 list below will sum up the worst transfer from 1995 until 2012. Thanks to enormous number of transfer flops, many mediocre names couldn’t make it to the list. The likes of Domoraud, Ventola, Sukur, Farinos, Dalmat, Kallon, Brechet, Van Der Meyde, Forlan, Kharja etc didn’t feature in the list because there are more players who cost more but performed horribly.

The list will assess the contribution given compared to the price Inter paid (not everyone will agree to this standard, but it is what I think the best). There are a lot of mediocre players who should never wear Nerazzurri outfit from the very first place. But, because many of them were bought for (relatively) cheap price, they aren’t mentioned here. The example is Brechet. His defending was simply awful, but since many defender costed more than him, he was safe and didn’t included in top 10 list. Another boundary condition is, the author only assesses player-in transfer. Player-out and coach are excleded. And last, all the price mentioned are in million euro.

And here is the top 10 of transfer flop :

10. Christian Chivu (in : € 15 million, out : ?)

The Romanian showed the fine defensive quality during his first 2.5 seasons since his arrival in Inter. The rock at defence and capable of being a left back, it was as if Chivu would turn out to be good business. But, the head collision against Chievo fracture his head. And since his comeback, Chivu has never showed the quality he did back then. After the comeback, what he showed was lost man-marking, wrong positioning, slipped, mispass, unnecessarry foul, red card parties, and many more. He was the weak link in Inter defence during Mourinho’s Inter and he became the disaster during Benitez and Leonardo’s era. Thanks to his fine displays during early tenure at Inter, his rank doesn’t go worst, but they cannot make up all the mistakes he has done. Placed in number 10 of worst transfer for the mixed performance.

Admitted, on his normal day Chivu is better than many mediocre defenders like Gamarra, Sorondo, Adani etc. But, neither they were bought with € 15 million nor they were plotted as key defender.

9. Nicola Ventola (in : 22, out :0 )

under construction

8. Fabian Carini (in : 10, out : 0)

Do you know where the € 10 million come from ? It was the estimated price of Cannavaro. Yes, Inter did an ridiculous trade by exchanging the world elite defender with unproven goalkeeper. Carini caught Inter attention by his outstanding display during Copa America 2003. Doesn’t matter how talentful is the player, to trade one of the best defender with a player who only showed outstanding performances in several matches is called an idiocy. And that was what Inter did.  He never threated Toldo position as Inter main goalkeeper even he must be loaned out to give him the playing time. The worst was, when he returned to Inter he became 4th goalkeeper behing Toldo, new-arrival Julio Cesar, and aging Orlandoni. Until his departure, he only had played 4 times for Nerazzuri. What a joke. Inter bought him in expense of Cannavaro to play only for 4 games. Even worst, Cannavaro enjoyed stint of successes in Turin.

7. David Suazo (in : 13, out : 0)

A former Cagliari star, Suazo led the club escape the relegation zone singlehandedly.  Even he was awarded as Serie-A foreign footballer of the year in 2006 and the award was shared with currently best player in the world Kaka. Then, Inter and AC Milan fought to sign Suazo and in the end, Inter managed to get him. Inter won the transfer battle, but soon it turned out to be lost. Suazo could never replicate his Cagliari form and even he struggled to make it to the team. Even the teenage Balotelli beat him as the sub-striker, let alone with the likes of Crespo, Cruz, and Ibra. Then, he was loaned out to Benfica and Genoa, but he also failed to impress both clubs. After he returned to Inter, he was badly injured and failed to play even a minute in entire 10/11 season. Forgotten and not in the team plan anymore, Inter didn’t extend his contract which expired on 30 June 2011.

6. Clerence Seedorf (in :22, out : 0)

under construction

5. Sulley Muntari (in : 15, out : ?)

At first, when Mourinho came to Inter, he intended to sign attackng midfielder Lampard. But mystery happened and Mourinho got defensive midfielder Muntari instead. During his playing time in Inter, Muntari scored some sensational goal, most notably a winner against Juventus and backheel goal against Napoli. But the goals couldn’t mask up all calamities he made. That madness moment against Catania, when he came up as the substitution and only last 1 minute before sent off,  was the highlight of his career in Inter and it was but a tip of iceberg. Lack of football intelligent, awful tackle, and emotional, no wonder he collected yellow card more than anyone else in Inter. Such short-though often costed the team dearly. Also, so many times he gave up possession too cheaply. I am not sure if it was Mourinho’s instruction or not, but he frequently acted as if he was a deep lying playmaker, spraying long pass to his teammates at frontline and flank. Only, the accuracy was something to be very very very desired.

4. Nelson Rivas (in : 7.5, out : 0)

If Muntari was disaster in midfield, Rivas was worst disaster in backline. It was a mistery how Inter landed him from very first place and it was even more misterous how he could earn 16 appearances under defence expert Mourinho. Sixteen appearances in 2 seasons could be considered a few, but for a defender with Rivas quality it was simply too many. Looked unconvincing ever since he stepped his foot at green turf of Giuseppe Meazza, Rivas was an exemplary defender whenever he played. Exemplary ? Yes. Whatever Rivas did on the pitch, other defender should do the opposite. Nervous, no physical presence, the positioning was all over the sea, awful timing of tackle, blunder prone, and clueless. Whenever the ball approached Rivas, the chill shot down every Interisti spine as they know the accident was waiting. After 2 seasons, Rivas soon was offloaded to Livorno, to every Interisti rejoice.

3. Amantino Mancini (in : 13, out : 0 )

Very unexpected flop. Before he moved to Inter, Mancini terrorised every defence in Serie-A with his dribbling. Fast and highly technical, Mancini run through the defence for fun and his goal against Lyon was the proof of his amazing skill. Mancini came to Inter to accommodate Mourinho’s need of winger. When he trained Chelsea, Mourinho used the combination of Duff and Robben to torment opponent’s defence. So, when he moved to Inter he bought Mancini without second thought. Highly proven in Serie-A and suited the coach play style, it seemed Mancini would be the key player of Inter. But soon after he moved to Inter, it was as if he left his skill in Rome. No more lightning speed, no more stepover, no more quick dribbling, now every defender ate Mancini for breakfast. After 2 seasons of failure, Mancini was loaned to Milan to no avail. As Inter didn’t saw any hope remaining from Brazilian, Inter didn’t extend his contract.

2. Fransesco Coco (in : 22,5, out : 0)

It seemed Italy search of Maldini replacement had been done. Touted as next Maldini since his tender age, Coco impressed everyone with his composed and elegant performance when he wore Rossoneri and Blaugrana outfit (on loan).  Then, came the offer from Inter which worth € 28 million, comprised of money and Seedorf as part of the trade. Milan accepted and 2 different things happened. Seedorf enjoyed the success in Milan, being a key part of the team who won Serie-A and 2 UCL titles. In contrary, Coco’s performance fell free and eventually spent most of his time in surgery room. It took 2 more years for Coco to recover and returned to the pitch. But, his form never recovered and it grew worse instead. Then, Inter loaned him to Livorno and Torino to give him the time to play and prove himself. But neither in both clubs Coco had ever impressed . Not long after his loan spell at Torino ran out, he returned to Inter and decided to retire from football in 2007.  In total, he only played 68 games for Inter including the appearance as sub. Disastrous transfer yet it was not the worst. Just imagine how bad is Inter transfer policy if such outcome is not the worst yet.

1. R. Quaresma (in : 24.6, out :7.3 )

An obvious number 1. Probably the biggest transfer flop ever in Serie-A. Signed in same season with Mancini signing, Mourinho wished to replicate his Chelsea playstyle with double explosive winger. But both of them failed to live up to expectation. With 24.6 million pricetag (including Pele, player of Inter Primavera), what he provided was not even € 1 million worth quality. Miskick, mispass, miscommunication, and missed chance were his characteristic during his brief career at Inter. Also don’t forget how many times he was dispossessed when a simple pass would work. The only bright glimpse was his trivela goal from the edge of penalty bos, but it was the lucky strike. Well, perhaps he used up all his lifetime luck for the goal and the winger’s career has never bounced back ever since.

Mourinho kept using him despite poor performance, probably to justify his expensive price. But performance never lied and disappointed Inter decided to loaned him out to Chelsea. Different club, same case. Quaresma only featured  4 times and he failed to delivered impressive performace in such limited chance. Then, he returned to Inter again only to disappoint again. Mourinho gave him second chance even handing him no 7 shirt which was previously worn by Figo. Too bad such big motivational boost fail to improve his performance, instead he tarnished it. It was still old rusty Quaresma and as Mourinho’s patience ran out, Mourinho started to accept the transfer had turned into flop. After Mourinho signed Pandev for free, Quaresma never appeared again in Inter match.

Credit : all the price are referred to http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk

Most Germans look forward Euro 2012 with great optimism. Of course. The revolution in young player development has already fruited the best product. Never has in history Germany had so much and so deep talents pool in the national team. World Cup 2010 marks the year of German’s young talents emergence. Neuer, Boateng, Kheidira, Ozil, and Mueller were unfamiliar for the ears of most people, but they stunned the world with their exceptional performance and German advanced until the World Cup winner Spain stopped them. Two years later, the talents have been growing in quality and quantity. The youngsters have grown in skills and maturity. They were great players, but now they are worldclass players. The greatness doesn’t stop here. Germany even manages to add the depth of the team. The combination with new emerging talents such as Howedes, Hummels, Aogo, Badstuber, Kroos, and Gomez are more than adequate materials to conquer any championship. And under guidance of senior players like Lahm and Schweinsteiger, Germany is the strongest contender of Euro 2012 and even World Cup 2014.

Quality and quantity. Germany has it both. It was the characteristic which Spain possessed when they reigned the world in Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010. Spain had enormous number of player (especially midfield which leaves the like of Arteta remains uncapped) even their Team B could also participate in championship. Now, with Spain looks declining, it seems Euro 2012 will mark the shift of power to Germany.

Good players alone won’t make a good team. Argentine would be the one who understands it the most. Albiceleste always has the materials to make it to championship, but ever since Carlos Bilardo stepped down, the nation has never tasted any major trophy except Copa America 1993. Germany has Joachim Loew who understands the national team inside and outside. He was Klinsmann assistant in World Cup 2006 and since Klinsmann’s retirement, the hot seat was handed over to Loew. Year 2006 was the refreshing year of Germany football. After disastrous Euro 2004 which saw them failed to qualify from group stage, Germans faced World Cup 2006 with pessimism. It seemed the team wouldn’t bounce back from Euro 2004 failure and furthermore the coach was an unexperienced one. But surprise happened. Germany played attractive football, showed some glimpse of young talents, and advanced to semifinal only deservely losing to reigning Italy in thrilling extra time. Klinsmann was hailed as the hero albeit the team did not make it to the final. When he resigned from the national team, he recommended Loew without any doubt and hesitate in mind. Under Loew, the young talents rises even more. Klinsi paved the way for young players to the world, but Loew did it for even more players. Klinsi played offensive football, but Loew nurtured better creative player and brought the offensive to another notch. What Klinsi did, Loew did it even more.

That’s the brief introduction of the coach who has guided Germany national team to the bright future. With great coach on the bench and great players on the pithc, it seems Germany is the strongest contender for Euro 2012. But, even the most powerful has the weakness and so does Germany. And to everyone’s surprise, the weakness lies on the most unpredictable sector : Loew himself ! No kidding, the weakness of Germany national team lies on the much-heralded coach. How come ?

Germany today is the contrast of what Germany has shown us before Klinsi-Loew era. The Panzer was known for its stability, pragmatism, and champion mentality. The last aspect is the most important quality which Germany had since 1954. With their renown mentality, they defied logic to win the World Cup 1954, 1976, and 1990. Year 1954 saw Germany defeated the legendary Magic Magyars which consisted of best players of the generation like Puskas, Kocsis, Hidekguti etc. Year 1976, Germany defeated the much-adored Total Football Netherland. Both events had similarities. The Germany’s opposition always the much-favoured side and they always dealt with totally unpredictable adversary. In 1954, Hungary dealt with muddy pitch after heavy rain. Then came Adolf Dassler, greatest Germany hero in World Cup 1954, put in the screw-in stud on each Germany player’s boot. Hungary couldn’t cope with the pitch, the players couldn’t play their usual techinical football. On the other side, with the help of the stud, Germans controlled the pitch better and then won the final. Fast forward 22 years later, Netherland also faced the strange problem that they would never think of. Night before the final, Netherland was stroke by the rumor of wild party in the team’s camp. The rumors was notoriously spreat by Germany newspaper The Bild and the disruption worked. Netherland, especially Cruijff, could not play their ideal game and ultimately lost. The examples show us Germany was destined to be the great team and proved the world they could fight anything and win anything with such strong mentality. People complaint how beautiful football lost to the ugly one, but they forget Germany were beautiful in their own way. Year 1990 was the final seal of Germany’s pragmatism and champion mentality strength. It was the bad World Cup with dull matches all over tournament. The final was Germany versus Argentine. Although Argentine had Maradona, Albiceleste played very ugly football and won ugly matches to advanced to final. And they certainly lost because ugly football was Germany’s game. Don’t ever imagine won ugly football with Germany. As Lineker said ,” Soccer is a game for 22 people that run around, play the ball, and one referee who makes a slew of mistakes, and in the end Germany always wins.”

Champion mentality. That’s what missing from Joachim Loew. So far, his achievement is champion of DFB Pokal in 1997 and Winner Cup runner-up in 1998 with Stuttgart. And then, Austrian championship with FC Tirol Innsbruck in 2002.  With national team, they are 3rd in Confederation Cup 2005, 3rd in World Cup 2006 (both of them as Klinsi assistant), 2nd in Euro 2008, and 3rd in World Cup 2010. See, he only won small scale championship such as DFB Pokal and Austrian League. He never won any prestigous tournament. Anyone would say ,”Give him time and he will bring success for Germany”. I am afraid not. World Cup 2010 semifinal underlined his lack of champion mentality. Germany met Spain, the strongest team back then and considered as one of the best national team ever. From the very first match of the World Cup, Loew always played offensive football, but that was not the case in semifinal. Everyone had anticipated for the attractive match, some said it was early final. But, the match went dull and it all thanked to Germany’s defesive approach. Tactical flexibility is always OK, surprise strategy is good, but fear isn’t. When they met Spain, it was as if Loew cower under Spain superior passing ability. And the great coach is the one who isn’t fear his opponent. If the coach himself already felt inferior, how could he rally his players to perform well ? The match was won by Spain in so un-German manner. Boring match, but the winner wasn’t Germany. And conceded by the setpiece which has been their strong point ever since ? And, although Spain was the strongest team in the world back then, it was not an excuse. Remember, in 1954 and 1976 Germany showed the nerve of steel. Against all odds, they defeated currently strongest team Hungary and Netherland. In 2000, the national team didn’t have such mentality and failed to replicate the feat.

By now, Germans should realize of the deep pit under the bed of roses they lay on. The coach without champion mentality would fail in winning any trophy. Raynald Denoueix of Real Sociedad 2003, Christopher Daum of Leverkusen 2001, and Hector Cuper of Inter Milan 2002 are the examples. Without champion mentality, they will miss the trophy although they faced the easiest scenario they would imagine. And worse for Germany, despite of the array of immense talents, many of them are still untested in big stage. Hummels’ performance in UCL is below the standard he sets in Bundesliga. Goetze, albeit of his magnificent talent, is now injured, missing many games of the season, and only a youngster who could succumb under pressure. Of course you cannot rely on him to perform consistenly like the senior player does. And the worst is Ozil. He has obvious weakness, that’s his stamina. And, since his move to Madrid, Ozil always fails to deliver good performance in El Classico. Let’s combine those seem-unrelated factors. The greater the game, the greater the pressure, and the quicker the stamina will run out. He is the main source of Germany’s creativity. Without him, Germany’s offence will decrease by some levels. Every Germany’s player is adepted in launching quick pass on counter attack, but only Ozil who possesses the lockpick to open the tight defence of his opponents. The worst scenario is, the opponent takes the lead and they intent to keep the score until long whistle. Germany cannot launch counter attack because the opponent is sitting back. Ozil is already tired and ineffective for the rest of the match but subs him means Germany doesn’t have the source of killer pass. Doom.

IF I am wrong and Loew succeeds in leading Germany to Euro 2012 triumph, of course it is the easy decision. Unless Loew himself who resigns, DFB will allow him to stay as the coach. But IF he fails and only achieves 2nd or 3rd place like he used to be which is likely happens, that’s when the dilemma begins : keep him or dismiss him. Keeping him on the coach seat means safety and satisfaction. The common sense is ,”Why would you replace the coach who guarantess the minimum semifinal progress ? He also brings bright prospect to Germany football future. It is only matters of bad luck, isn’t it ?” But replacing him means the gamble and thirst of winning although the decision will meet the resistance of most people. Well, good luck for finding the solution, Germans. Just hope somehow the champion mentality will be instilled among the Loew and the players just like the older generation had. Only, be realistic because such mentality is not something learnable in few months.

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