Op-Ed: Ranocchia and the captaincy saga

December 28, 2014 07:49
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Many Inter fans nowadays just attack Ranocchia, keep attacking like he is the sole reason of our fall, generally speaking about his lack of quality, experience and leadership skills, let’s take it step by step to analyze the situation of our captain.

Leadership skills:

No one can deny that Ranocchia has one of the most difficult jobs in football. This is replacing a legendary man and exceptionally the greatest captain in the history of football, Javier Zanetti, with all the big voices in the dressing room gone as well. So we can pretty much compare his situation with that of any coach coming after Mourinho trying to replicate his success with Inter, it’s exactly the same. He has only been captain for half a season and to be a leader you have to gain the respect of your team mates, which he acquired fast enough. He has become a leader with Inter and a consistent player, if not to say the best defender for now in the Italian national team ahead of the likes of Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, and De Sciglio. Leadership comes with respect as we said before, and if he wasn’t respected, no one would look up to him in the dressing room, which leads us to another question; is leadership the only important quality in a captain?

Zanetti was an exemplary captain although no one can deny that at the beginning of his captaincy era he was always questioned for being ‘too passive.’  I remember Recoba saying: “Zanetti is a fantastic person but Inter needs a captain like Paolo Maldini.” He was Moratti’s first purchase, and he was given the captaincy in 1999 when Bergomi retired. Zanetti was Ranocchia’s age that time but if we watch Inter vs Juventus (2001) we could clearly see that the one leading the lads was Laurent Blanc even if Javier wore the armband. It was “Le Presidente” who was always shouting and motivating the lads, scoring the goal, madly celebrating and encouraging the likes of Zanetti and Cordoba, and Blanc was 35. Once again it was Blanc and Di Biaggio who screamed at the referee for favoring Juventus, while our captain then calmly approached the referee behind those two and was constantly pushed by Conte whenever he tried anything. Zanetti was playing well as always but he wasn’t the dominant leader he then turned out to be, and yet that doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve to be our captain. He was captain due to his loyalty to the colors and because he knew what Inter meant more than anyone else. Understanding the culture of the team, the codes, the fans, and history in a distinct way are the reasons for being a good captain, as he will be the one representing the club to the fans. This is why it was given to Andrea Ranocchia in the end. Besides, Zanetti and Bergomi publicly supported Ranocchia with the captaincy…now no one understands what Inter means more than these two.

Lack of quality:

Frankly Ranocchia had a very difficult four years with us, with many circumstances ranging from injury to bad form, and lapses of concentration, even though he is superb under Conte. But this year, he is our best defender even though he was played out of position many times covering for the mistakes of Juan Jesus and Vidic, but he is unlucky enough that his mistakes are the ones that count in our net. He is always fighting, scoring the goal to keep us in the game against Roma and making a number of crucial tackles where he received a solid 6.0 for his performance by the Gazzetta. But he is the one paying the price for the likes of Juan, Dodo, M’Vila, and Campagnaro, whom were all worse than him against Roma while they didn’t receive half the criticism or the amount of hate Ranocchia did. So yeah let’s strip him off the captaincy! I’m not saying he is the best defender in the world or that he makes no mistakes but he is the best we have at the moment, and again we don’t give the captaincy to the best player we have, or else no one was more worthy of it than Picchi in La Grande Inter or Baressi in the ’90 winning squad.

Young age and lack of experience:

Just because it was a trend to give the older players the armband in the past does not mean that it’s correct. For example, our lifetime Capitano became captain aged 26, Mazzola aged 27, Bini at 23, and Angelillo was captain while he had barely made it to 21 years of age. It’s so absurd to have standards for the captaincy, I can give you a variety of captains at Inter or outside with such different attributes, even people who were at the team forever and never given the armband.

So Ranocchia is Inter’s captain. Period.

Do you agree with Marwan’s opinion? Let us know below.

Note: This is an (“Op-Ed”) opinion piece, and does not reflect the opinions of SempreInter as an organization, or SempreInter writers other than the author of this article, unless noted as otherwise.

By Marwan Salama