Ex-Inter Fullback Grigoris Georgatos On Ronaldo & Christian Vieri: “We Were Like A Family”

Ex-Inter Fullback Grigoris Georgatos On Ronaldo & Christian Vieri: “We Were Like A Family”
March 29, 2020 13:30
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Former Inter left back Grigoris Georgatos discussed his time with the Nerazzurri, what he is up to now and how the Coronavirus situation is unfolding in Greece in an interview with Italian media outlet PassioneInter.com today.

First, he discussed the situation in Greece.

“I think the situation is the same for everyone now. Like you in Italy, we are going through a very bad time, trying to stick to what the government’s provisions are. We are all locked in our houses trying to bring patience trying to stay together to defeat this evil.”

The 47-year-old then spoke about what he has been up to over the last few years and whether he is still working in football now.

“Until a few years ago I was sporting director at Olympiakos, doing a lot of liaison between the club and the team, because the roles here are not as clear-cut as in Italy. I was also in charge of the youth sector, helping young people who were pushed into the first team.

“Now I’m out of football, I’m dedicating a little more time to my family, but I’m always following the games and finding out what happens. Who knows, maybe one day I might not be able to get back into the football that matters.”

Georgatos touched on his reaction when he found out that the Nerazzurri had purchased him in 1999.

“A great emotion, it was like going to play in a lineup of the best in the world! All the great players, the biggest names around at the time were playing on that team. As well as exciting, a great professional arrival that I tried to make the most of.”

The 47-year-old revealed what happened after his first season that saw him return to Greece.

“Well, yes, I missed my affections, my family, my friends. I was very isolated, I sought contact with Greece often and willingly. I even tried to fight it… at least in practice and in the game. It was as if Greece wasn’t there and I didn’t miss anything.”

He discussed the relationship between the players at the time and his friendship with Christian Vieri.

“We were a family, very close, although many players of great personality and different characters. We often got along with each other. The relationship with Vieri was a beautiful friendship that was born on the field and developed off. I also remember the birthday parties, we all went out to eat with the coach. All of Ronaldo’s, at the Brazilian restaurant, that evening that Taribo West started singing.”

Georgatos spoke about how he convinced stars like Roberto Baggio to let him take free kicks sometimes.

“With my left foot! I was pretty good at shooting them and they saw it in practice, so it didn’t take me long to convince them. They took most of the free kicks anyway, but sometimes left them to me.”

The former left back touched on what happened in Inter’s 1999/2000 season.

“Ronaldo got injured, that’s what happened. A fact that shocked everybody, that really knocked us down. It affected our performance a lot.”

He highlighted the difficulty of playing against one of the world’s best players, Ronaldo.

“In Appiano we were roommates, we talked a lot together. He was a phenomenon, a force of nature, everything you tried to do, he did something else to be able to get past you.”

Georgatos revealed that he didn’t know about Ronaldo’s transfer away from the club in 2002 until it happened.

“No, I didn’t know that until I saw it. I do remember one funny thing about him, though. In 1999 we went to play a friendly game in Zurich against Grasshoppers, that we won 3-5. I scored one of the goals myself, beautiful, after having beaten 3 opponents.

“From the stadium loudspeaker you can hear: ‘Inter’s goal, Ronaldooo scored’, which blew up the fans present. There were several bald guys on the team, me, Ronaldo, Di Biagio… When I got on the bus, Ronaldo said: ‘Oh, your goal was so good that the speaker thought I scored it!’”

He discussed his relationship with former Inter coach Hector Cuper.

“A professional relationship, normal, though not as friendly as I have been with other coaches.”

The 47-year-old Greek discussed Olympiacos left back Konstantinos Tsimikas.

“He’s a player I know well, because I discovered him. I wanted him very much in the first team, convincing the coach of the time, Marco Silva. He’s a player of perspective, you’ll hear about him. He’s on loan and he’s come back very convinced of his means.

“He can push a lot, but he can also defend. Now he’s complete and could also play abroad in a great team. Inter have the tradition of Greek players and he’s also a full-back.”

Finally, Georgatos highlighted that he still follows European football and Inter.

“I follow European football a lot, in particular Serie A. I like to see Inter’s games, the derby. In my opinion in the next few years they will be back in the limelight and will have a leading role in winning trophies, with Conte.”

Apollo Heyes
By Apollo Heyes

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