Christian Vieri today revealed he was ‘destroyed’ by Inter’s defeat to Lazio on the final day of the 2001-02 Serie A season.
Hector Cuper’s side were expected to seal their first league title in 13 years but instead handed the Scudetto to arch rivals Juventus, who beat Udinese on the same afternoon.
Vieri reflected on the Nerazzurri’s infamous 4-2 loss when he spoke to reporters at the Trento Sport Festival.
“It seemed like it was a done deal because Lazio had no need to win,” he recalled.
“I’ve thought about that game a million times, and in the end I think that if we were ahead twice and we weren’t able to win, maybe we didn’t deserve it.
“It was a great blow. After the game I was empty. We would have died for the Inter shirt, we gave everything. Everyone was behind us, so mentally that defeat destroyed us.”
Vieri then discussed some of his happier memories playing for Inter, with particular focus given to his friendship with strike partner Ronaldo.
Bobo said: “I went to Inter for Ronaldo. I wanted to play with him, he was the strongest.
“I’ve never been in awe with any other teammate, but when he was there, I would take a step back, because he was the strongest of all. He was beloved.
“When Marcello Lippi went to Inter, I was sure they would call me and in fact the phone call came soon.
“It’s too bad about Ronaldo’s injuries, we were a great duo. Even today we are great friends. It’s not often you meet people like him in football.
“Knowing there was me and Ronaldo, the Inter fans displayed an energy and a love for us that I will take forever inside. It was bedlam already from the warm-up onwards. Only those who were there know what I’m talking about.”
Vieri then spoke of Ronaldo’s controversial departure from Inter following the 2002 FIFA World Cup, after the Brazilian agreed a deal with Real Madrid.
“Cuper was stubborn and didn’t understand that Ronaldo was different from all and went ahead on his way,” he explained.
“Massimo Moratti was wrong, he didn’t have to send Ronaldo away. The managers should have understood the situation better.”
Asked about Inter’s current crop of players, Vieri added: “Juventus are ahead but they have a great coach and will fight to the end, and that’s a great thing. This year it’s more fun in the league.”