Inter Milan has a history of using Argentinian players. So much so that Argentina is the country with the most foreign players in Inter's history. Lautaro Martinez is the latest in that long lineage for Inter.
The highly sought after Argentine youngster came to Inter from Racing for €23m and 10% of future sales in the summer window after a lengthy transfer saga. The striker who has had a breakout past 2 seasons with Racing. The youngster became a first team regular, scoring 26 goals in all competitions in the past 2 years prior to his Italian departure.
Martinez continued his form in his first Serie start, scoring his first league goal this past weekend against Cagliari. His performance against Cagliari showed just why he demanded the hefty price tag to become the most recent in the long line of Argentinians to ply their craft at Inter.
The Early Days
Inter's history with Argentinians began with Attilio Demaría. After starting his career in Buenos Aires, the playmaker came to Inter in 1931 and played for the club for 10 seasons, making 295 appearances and scoring 86 goals.
The next Argentinian to make his mark for Inter was Antonio Angelillo. The young striker moved to Inter from Boca Juniors following a dominant performance in the 1957 Copa America. The attacker made his presence known at Inter, scoring 77 goals in 127 matches for the club.
Daniel Passarella and Ramón Díaz both came to Inter from Fiorentina in 1987/88 and 1988/89 respectively starting up the pipeline of Argentinians at Inter once again. Díaz was an integral part of the 1989 Serie A title winning run, playing in 33 matches and scoring 12 goals in the process. In 1995, the Bosman ruling and the arrival of Massimo Moratti accelerated Inter's activity in the transfer market and their acquisitions of foreign players.
The 1990's and Turn of the Century
Javier Zanetti came to Inter in July of 1995 from Banfield. To many, the Argentinian defender signified the beginning of an Argentinian renaissance at Inter. Zanetti went on to become the all-time club leader in appearances with 858 total appearances.
Zanetti became the club captain in 2001 and kept the role until his retirement in 2014. Zanetti still plays a crucial role with the club today as Vice President.
During Zanetti's career he was joined by a number of fellow countrymen. Diego Simeone joined Inter in July of 1996 and played in 85 matches, scoring 14 goals for the club.
Since the turn of the century, Inter has used 26 Argentinian players on their rosters. Defenders such as Nicolas Burdisso (139 appearances) and Walter Samuel (236 appearances). Midfielders such as Esteban Cambiasso (431 appearances), Juan Sebastian Veron (74 appearances) and Santiago Solari (71 appearances). Despite these massive contributions at other positions for Inter, none has been as impacted as the centre forward position.
The forward pipeline started with Hernan Crespo in 2002 and Julio Cruz in 2003. Crespo went on to score 45 times in 116 goals for Inter while Cruz made 203 appearances for Inter while scoring 79 times. Diego Milito followed their footsteps coming to Inter from Genoa in 2009. Milito scored 75 goals in 171 appearances for Inter before returning to Argentina to play for Racing. All these players and strikers in particular paved way for the new era to come along.
The New Era
In the past 5 years, Inter has been greatly impacted by an Argentinian talisman for better or worst. This talisman came in the way of Mauro Icardi who came to Inter from Sampdoria in the summer of 2013. The controversial forward has drawn negative headlines at times but has produced while at the club. Now captain of Inter, Icardi has made 188 appearances for Inter and scored 109 times.
Will Lautaro Martinez be able to follow the footsteps of his fellow countrymen and pave his own path to become an Inter legend? Only time time will tell but this past weekend was a good start for "El Toro".
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