Inter legend Sandro Mazzola has reminisced about playing against the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano in Inter’s 1964 European Cup win over Real Madrid ahead of tomorrow night’s match between the two sides in the Champions League group stage.
“It was a moment I will never forget. I saw my idol in person, Di Stefano. I went into the locker room and he was there, it didn’t feel real, then I stood looking at him and I realised,” he explained in an interview with Spanish daily newspaper AS, which was published on their online edition.
“He talked to me but I was in shock and didn’t understand much. We also talked during the match on the pitch, the best conversation came after one of my goals because he congratulated me with a handshake. It was the best feeling for me.
“For me he is the best ever, it took two men to stop him and they didn’t always succeed. Nobody was like him.”
Mazzola was then asked what the secret to Inter winning that match was and he revealed: “We played Italian, playing man against man. Herrera said that if Di Stefano had gone to the bathroom, we should have followed him there too.”
Mazzola, who spent the entirety of his playing career on Inter’s books, then went on to share his thoughts about modern day Real Madrid and was especially full of praise for Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who will miss the match with Inter due to injury.
“I loved Cristiano Ronaldo, I also talked to him when I was a commentator and he was nice to me. Without CR7, Real Madrid are not the same even though they have fantastic players.
“One of them is Sergio Ramos although there is one thing I don’t like about him. The goal he scored in the first leg against Inter [laughs]. It is incredible that he scored 100 goals for Real, when I see him playing I think of Facchetti.
“He was a full back but if we needed him to he went into attack and scored goals. Ramos always appears when Real are in trouble.”
Mazzola then shared his belief on how Inter manager Antonio Conte’s side should approach tomorrow’s match and his thoughts on Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.
“Conte, for me, must play Italian. He must leave the initiative to Zidane and hit him when Real leaves space. I liked Zidane as a footballer and I was convinced that he would also become a great coach, it doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Next Mazzola, who was a fundamental part of the Grande Inter side of the 1960s discussed what it is like for him being unable to attend the matches in person at the moment due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“I need coffee to watch the games in recent months, I miss the atmosphere, the people, it’s all strange but we will be back.”
In conclusion he was asked about what his predication for the game is to which he responded: “I have one but I won’t say it. I’m superstitious.”