- I had hoped for this to be the first day of good news here at this blog, but it wasn’t to be. Today, Esteban Cambiasso joined Patrick Viera on the sidelines. The Argentine sparkplug will also be out of the lineup for roughly a month with a thigh strain of his own. Needless to say, it rules him out for the return leg at Valencia and the March 11th showdown with our old buddy and Milan.
Olivier Dacourt will obviously be the player who will need to step up in this situation. The former Leeds and Roma man did an admirable job filling in for Cambiasso earlier in the year, including a stretch where Viera was disqualified for red cards in both the league and Europe. Inter had become a force in the midfield, though, the last few months and these injuries will make an already-difficult trip to Spain even tougher.
- Two new developments on the Adriano front. Firstly, Moratti, probably noticing how ridiculous he looked, has done a 180 degree turn from his comments yesterday and stated that everyone’s favorite one-footed Brazilian will, indeed, be reprimanded.
In addition, as Martha reported on the Italy blog, rumors of his departure are swirling. Yesterday, I said that I thought he was on his way out and while I’m still leaning that way, I think a lot of this transfer talk is just knee-jerk speculation. While its probably true that if Inter had to make the decision today, they would say they’ve had enough, we know that a lot can change in a few months. Now, if we get eliminated from Europe in two weeks time on the back of this, the chances of Adriano being sold obviously go up.
- The hot transfer rumor this morning was talk of an Adriano-Antonio Cassano swap deal with Real Madrid. I’m going to stay clear of a lot of this because its mostly speculation (see: Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, Lionel). The Cassano-to-Inter rumor creeps up every so often, though, and actually seems possible, if not likely. This would be a terrible move for Inter and I can’t believe they might be seriously considering it. Antonio Cassano has played for three teams and had it end badly at all three stops. First, he was at Bari, his hometown team. After he signed his Roma deal in January of 2001, he basically just quit on them the rest of the way. Granted, they were bottom of Serie A with little chance of survival but to do that to the city where you grew up just always rubbed me the wrong way. Next there was the well-documented falling out at Roma. Finally, and most incredibly, is his current public battle at Real Madrid with the only coach, in Fabio Capello, under whom he actually seemed to be content. This combined with the fact that even if you believe Mancini is the right guy to reach him, he's far from a lock to return next year, is why I wouldn’t touch Cassano with a ten foot pole.
- In an attempt to exhale here, I’ll point out that in CNNSI’s power rankings Inter held firm at #1 this week. The Nerazzurri also remained at #2 in Fox Sports’ ratings.