Fake Eric Cantona

Calciopoli, Years Later, Inter Stinks Again

Created on Apr. 18, 2014 11:34 AM EST

The rule of physics, according to Isaac Newton, is that what goes up will come down, and return to where it should be; equilibrium. Now, years after the painstaking manipulations and dirty piracy of Massimo Moratti, Inter Milan are back where they belong. Inter Milan was the choice football club of war criminal Radovan Karadzic, along with equally scummy team Lazio. I remember laughing when Inter Milan only had to draw against Lazio in 2002 in order to win the scudetto, but instead lost 2-4. 

(Surprised Moratti did not claim that Juventus were behind that loss back in 2002.)

The Calciopolo story has been told again and again: Luciano Moggi from Juventus was talking to referees, and somehow fixing matches, Juventus and certain other teams were all penalized; the one team that was left unpenalized, Inter Milan, was magically placed at the top of the Serie A table; Juventus was summarily relegated; Juventus, forced to sell players off in the relegation, lost Ibrahimovic and Patrick Vieira; and Inter Milan went on to dubiously dominate the league for the rest of the decade.

The court documents, released only recently in March of 2014, have added depth to the ludicrous nature of the allegations and Juventus's punishment.  The documents, according to Football Italia, discuss the “the light-hearted and apparently convivial tone used to reach agreements on who would officiate the individual games seems extremely serious in the light of the evident damage to impartiality that is essential for a referee, as a referee must in principle maintain equidistance between the opponents.”

This evidence also displayed a Serie A where Moggi was not the only director talking to referees. And yes, many other clubs were affected. Milan, Fiorentina, and the sadly soon to be relegated out of Serie B Reggina. Moggi at one point tried to present evidence that Massimo Moratti's club, Inter, were also involved in the same type of behavior. 

And it should be further noted that Stefano Palazzi, the chief prosecutor for the FIGC that governs Italian football publicly claimed that according to the evidence he had, Facchetti and Inter were likely guilty of Article 6 match fixing violations, while Massimo Moratti was guilty of Article 1 violations. (not: Giacinto Facchetti was a long time Inter fullback who later became the president of the club.) Palazzi's allegations against Inter and Moratti were that Inter deserved a harsher punishment than Juventus.

However, by the time Palazzi received the evidence, Inter were protected by the statute  of limitations, barring any lawsuit against them for their crimes.  And so here the criminal has escaped punishment: Moratti sold his club to Erick Thohir, and no longer has to deal with the jenga tower disaster he himself set up. 

But now, years after Inter's dubious reign over the Serie A, things have normalized. What was pushed up has now fallen back down. As Inter Milan look forward to a year outside of the Champions League, and their Europa League qualifying position uncertain, questions loom about the future of Inter.

 For one, Inter Milan's current transfer market outlook is dim. Following their collapsed deal with Juventus to move Fredy Guarin for Mirko Vucinic, solely to the fault of Inter themselves, it is likely that other teams will be over-cautious in dealing with Erick Thohir. Inter's top summer signing looks to be past-peak Namanja Vidic, who should well enjoy the hospital food in Milan. Vidic has struggled to find health or form in recent years. 

"Inter Milan president Erick Thorir says the club want to sign a high-profile striker at the end of the season and are looking at Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko, 28, Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, 21, and Chelsea's Fernando Torres, 30." But the likelihood of Thohir signing away any of those three is low. Dzeko has attacked interest from many top clubs, and would demand a Champions League caliber team. Inter cannot offer that. 

Alvaro Morata may not leave Madrid this summer. If Morata does leave, his destination will likely be the English Premier League. Why not the Serie A? Name another Spanish striker who has flourished in Spain. Go ahead, take your time. 

And then there is Torres, who is most likely to head back to his childhood team in search of his renaissance - Atletico Madrid. 

In total, Thohir has made public a list of unlikely targets. 

The other reported target for Thohir is Aly Cissokho, who is currently playing well for Liverpool. Cissokho's rights are in the control of CF Valencia. Valencia, still suffering from the real estate crash of 2008, have been in endless firesale mode. Cissokho was brought into Valencia from Lyon to replace Jordi Alba, but was loaned to Liverpool. He will be looking for a team to succeed in, and Inter Milan may be his destination. The draw is that Cissokho has never lived up to the hype he carried when he signed at Lyon. 

In sum, the forecast for Inter is delightfully glum. If next season these dirty pirates face relegation, all the better. 
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