Former Inter forward Julio Cruz revealed the turmoil his transfer from Bologna to the Nerazzurri caused, whilst also insisting his determination to help the club win trophies was a factor in his switch.
The Argentine enjoyed three impressive seasons with Bologna from 2000 before joining Inter in 2003, and went on to play an integral role in the Nerazzurri’s success later in the decade, winning four league titles.
“One day my agent, Jorge Cyterszpiler, called me and told me [Hector] Cuper wanted me at Inter,” Cruz claimed in an interview published in today’s newspaper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“They explained that they were selling [Hernan] Crespo and that [Massimo] Moratti was looking for a new No. 9 for Hector. I had to think about it a little, and that is not a lie. On one hand I was doing well at Bologna but on the other I wanted to develop.
“Similarly, Inter hadn’t won for years but I wanted to try to end that period and win a trophy after all those seasons. Cuper made the difference.”
Cruz eventually joined the Nerazzurri in the summer of 2003 but Cuper had left the club by October and was replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni, before working under current Italy coach Roberto Mancini.
The striker revealed that his decision to leave Bologna had wider repercussions at his former club, with coach Francesco Guidolin following him out of the door.
“I wasn’t with Cuper long though, he was dismissed. Guidolin came to me in private and told me that if I left for Inter, he would leave too. I explained to him my joy for a great team but also my disappointment. I owed a lot to him and to Bologna. I was stunned, he really left. My move to Inter caused a great mess.
“Robi [Mancini] is doing an extraordinary job with the national team, as he did at Inter. I remember he told us, “there are too many bosses and not enough workers here. I want more workers and fewer bosses,” and his Inter was the foundation for the treble.”
Inter face Bologna in Serie A today and come up against Cruz’s former teammate Sinisa Mihajlovic, as they look to extend their lead at the top of Serie A.
“I don’t know Antonio Conte well but I think Mancini’s words are perfect for capturing his approach to the dressing room. He and Mihajlovic are two coaches that show how much they care when you see them on the bench. Antonio and Sinisa are two lions and you can see that they would leave to be able to get on the pitch and play.
“The title race is never over until it is official in Serie A, but this team have started to win the games they need to. It depends only on them now.
“I didn’t think Romelu Lukaku was this strong, I swear. I did think Lautaro [Martinez] could achieve great things even before he had broken through, so I am glad he proved it.
“I believe Lukaku could be the decisive player in the match, but also the team of Bologna. From them, I would choose Musa Barrow, but I say the team because against Inter you have to be fierce and compact. I cannot give a prediction on the result though,” Cruz concluded.
The former Argentina international scored 75 goals in 196 appearances for Inter before joining Lazio in 2009, ending his career after a single season with the Aquile.