Usually if you want to build a successful team you need to do it brick by brick, finding the right pieces to add. Inter opted to skip this part and went straight for the finished product, bringing in a well assembled, solid Wall that goes by the name of Walter Samuel. Lame metaphorical puns aside, the arrival of Pioli as the fresh new coach of the Nerazzurri will also be accompanied by the pleasant return of one of the key pieces of the best season in the 108-year-old history of the club.
Too often the word warriors has been misused when describing football players. This time though, it's the perfect definition for a man that has always given everything he had on the pitch and never backed off when things started to get serious. Samuel has always been a true professional and as the tweet above says, he will always be remembered by us Inter fans.
He presented himself to the media in the same humble fashion that has always characterized him throughout his playing career. He said:
I’ll try to use my experience to help the players and staff, but they’ll need to help me too because I have a lot to learn in this role. I had two wonderful years in Switzerland, but maybe it was a bit too quiet. It was a great experience.
Even though he won't have a primary role in the coaching staff, mainly because of his inexperience, I feel like his presence on the bench will have a bigger impact on the team and the whole environment than it could be expected. I don't know who chose to bring him back, if it was Pioli, Zanetti, or Moratti's ghost, but whoever did it clearly understood the problems Inter had this season under De Boer's guidance. There are many young, wild players in this team and the addition of a charismatic figure like Walter will help the new manager in his research of a higher level of cohesion in the locker-room, a thing that the Dutch coach couldn't achieve in his brief stint here.
Samuel was a defensive beast and his experience, paired with an exceptional knowledge of the game will make him a priceless asset for the coaching staff. I'm not saying that he will transform Andrea Ranocchia into a solid, consistent centre-back, he is not a wizard, but he will help our defenders bridge those gaps that already costed too many points to the team this season. Samuel's technical abilities as a CB are undeniable but he also had a otherworldly sense of positioning that helped him overcome his athletic deficit — even though his quickness was remarkable for a man of his size — and hopefully he will be able to teach this crucial skill to Inter's defensive players. Another fundamental aspect of his game was to to psych out opponents both physically and psychologically. The intimidating early hard foul were his trade-mark and they pretty much always resulted in scaring the opposing players so much that they didn't want the ball in their feet when they were near Samuel.
Welcome back Walter, we missed you and your serious, scary look.