An interesting situation faces Simone Inzaghi and Lazio this weekend for their winner-take-all battle with Inter Milan.
Do you start Stefan De Vrij?
Normally, this would be a no-brainer … of course you start him. He is one of the best defenders in Serie A and if you are going up against a potent offense like Inter can be, you want your best out there.
But, the turn in this question stems from the fact that De Vrij will be joining Inter Milan next season on a free transfer.
All of the motivation is there for De Vrij to want his future team to win.
The winner of the match takes the fourth and final Champions League spot for Serie A while the loser of the match will be in the Europa League.
It certainly benefits De Vrij to have Inter win, which has created some controversy about Lazio fans on whether Inzaghi starts him in such an important match.
The assumption here is that De Vrij is not a stand-up player and would do something to potentially harm Lazio in the match, giving Inter a win.
So, the real question is what kind of character does De Vrij have?
There has been a little bad blood between De Vrij and Lazio this season after the Dutchman rejected a contract offer from the Biancocelesti. Following that, sporting director Igli Tare said that any offer on the table for De Vrij has been rescinded.
“We’ll explain our reasons later,” Tare told Mediaset. “There’s a limit and that’s been breached, and it’s not become a question of correctness. He’s always been an exceptional professional and he’s given a lot to Lazio, and Lazio has given a lot to him, but at the end of the season, our paths will divide.”
That seems a little cryptic.
But, what Tare said is true. De Vrij has always been a professional for Lazio since joining in 2014 from Feyenoord. But, if something happens where an action De Vrij takes, or doesn’t take, leads to an advantage for Inter, it could put the defender in a very difficult situation.
Inzaghi said following Lazio’s draw with Crotone (by the way, thanks again Walter Zenga) that De Vrij will be assessed and there was no clear decision on whether he would play or not.
Calciomercato.com reported today that De Vrij will likely skip the game Sunday. Doing that takes De Vrij out of any situation that could call his character into question. For Interisti, it also is a sigh of relief as it means Lazio will be dependent on Luis Felipe at center-back who has been out suspended.
In seven games against Inter, Lazio has won twice – both times in 2015-16 De Vrij was nursing a knee injury and didn’t play. In the matches he did play in, Lazio lost twice – last season – and drew twice including the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Sitting out would likely be the best situation for De Vrij and, if I were Inzaghi, I would likely sit him too. It just creates too many issues for him to start and it’s a situation you would rather not put a player who has been so loyal to the club in.
Would you start Stefan De Vrij against Inter Milan if you were Lazio?
This poll is closed
Of course. He is a great player
No way. Too many issues with putting him on the field.
What do you think? Post your comments below!