Seeing Inter take to the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu was quite a sight to behold, especially when recalling that night in 2010 when the Nerazzurri’s star was the brightest shining in Europe. And seeing the Inter Forever side take on Real Madrid Leyendas felt like gazing at a star-filled sky on one of the clearest summer nights. Stars as far as the eye could see, with Zidane, Zamorano, Figo and Zanetti all on the same pitch. It was a white-hot night for the Corazon Classic Match, and not only for the temperature (over 30°C).
It was clear from the start that this wasn’t any ordinary game. There was Inter’s honorary president Massimo Moratti sharing a laugh with Youri Djorkaeff before the kick-off. There was Walter Zenga smiling as he sat on the Nerazzurri bench for the first time. There was Francesco Toldo wearing a special captain’s armband. And there was someone who knows perhaps more than any other player what it means to wear the armband: Javier Zanetti.
The game kicked off and there was true magic from the start. On 17 minutes Zidane put Real Madrid Leyendas in the lead with a left-footed bullet from inside the box. But then Inter responded as Javier Zanetti found an equaliser; a long-distance effort that wasn’t all that unlike his strike in the UEFA Cup final in Paris all those years ago. The first half then ended, allowing everyone to catch their breath, although Nicola Berti kept the crowd entertained by taking penalties with children from the audience.
In the second half Figo and Zamorano switched teams to suit up for the Nerazzurri. And on 53 minutes it was the Chilean who narrowly missed making it 2-1. Once Pagliuca came on for Toldo the captain’s armband went to Zanetti. He was once again JZ4, which is how we’ll always remember him.
In the 65th minute Figo and Zamorano came off for Manicone and Bianchi. Then the Spanish side moved ahead when Perez headed in a pass from Solari. More substitutions followed: Fresi for Galante; Conceicao, Di Napoli and Milanese for Cordoba, Dino Baggio and Dacourt; Choutos for Suazo. The Greek barely had time to break a sweat before latching onto a perfect ball from Zanetti and heading home an equaliser on 77 minutes. 2-2, and more applause. Beccalossi then came on for Conceicao in the 85th minute. It also happened to be the first time Real Madrid didn’t come away from this match as winners.
And so it ended. Four goals in a spectacular draw. Inter Forever and Real Madrid Leyendas embraced at the final whistle. But it was the fans that were unquestionably the winners on this night; this night of stars.
Real Madrid Leyendas: 1 Buyo, 2 Salgado, 4 Pavon, 5 Zidane, 6 Hierro, 9 Zamorano, 9 Santillana (cap), 10 Figo, 14 Guti, 17 Karembeu, 19 Fernando Sanz.
Substitutes: 1 Contreras, 3 Garcia Cortes, 5 Sabido, 6 Salguero, 7 Butragueno, 7 Ivan Perez, 8 Velasco, 9 Morientes, 9 Esnaider, 11 Amavisca, 21 Solari.
Coach: Camacho, Amancio, Geni.
Inter: 1 Toldo (cap), 2 Cordoba, 4 J. Zanetti, 5 Galante, 9 Carbone, 11 Baggio, 13 Zé Maria, 14 Dabo, 19 Paganin, 29 Suazo, 76 Conceicao.
Substitutes: 1 Pagliuca, 6 Djorkaeff, 7 Figo, 8 Berti, 1+8 Zamorano, 10 Beccalossi, 15 Dacourt, 16 C. Zanetti, 17 Fresi, 20 Manicone, 25 Milanese, 28 Di Napoli, 69 Centofanti, 77 Bianchi 79 Choutos.
Referee: Medina Cantalejo.