Legendary former Inter defender Lucio has revealed why he decided to leave the Nerazzurri to join rivals Juventus in 2012.
Speaking to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, the 43-year-old gave an account of his decision to join the Bianconeri while Inter were in a period of rebuilding.
Lucio made a major impact at Inter upon joining from the Bundesliga in 2009, where he had already established himself as one of the top defenders in Europe.
The Brazilian turned out to be the final piece that was needed for the Nerazzurri to be at their peak, winning the only European treble in the club’s history with the centre-back playing an important role.
After three seasons in a Nerazzurri shirt, however, he made the choice to leave for the Bianconeri, though he never got off the ground in Turin.
The treble winner discussed this period as well as this evening’s Serie A clash between his two former clubs in a wide-ranging interview.
Of the Nerazzurri’s current team he stated that “They are undergoing a rebuilding, as normal: when you sell such important players, change coaches and philosophy, it takes some time, but this beginning has already suggested that Inter are up there. They are a team worthy of the club’s history and can win the Scudetto.”
“In the meantime,” he went on, “it is normal that, in the era of COVID, there may be financial problems, but the important thing is to find a way out. This is why Conte’s farewell did not surprise me: no one can know what was in his heart at the moment of farewell.”
He continued that “Now we are discovering Simone Inzaghi: from the outside you can see above all the relationship he has with his guys and the desire to take a chance on a positive game. But even those who are replacing the departed champions are showing that they are not afraid of responsibility. Especially Dzeko.”
“I played against him when he was at Wolfsburg and I at Bayern,” he elaborated about the Bosnian. “I especially remember his movements: he is complete, he knows how to pass and shoot equally.”
“Lukaku is more physical and decisive in the box but, for different reasons, they are both difficult to mark,” the Brazilian explained. “And Lautaro is too – in addition to scoring a lot, he thinks about the good of the team. It did him good to spend time with Milito.”
“I like the Inter defense much as it is,” he continued, “it has great strength and ability to build even if it always depends on the approach of the team. And I like it when they compare De Vrij to me: he is almost the regista of the defense.”
Comparing the current Inter team to the one he was a part of, Lucio stated that “Inter in 2010, the one that made football history, had a unique feature: the unity of the group forged by the coach. There was no ego, there was only the team to which everyone gave their heart.”
“We have seen teams richer and stronger than that, but none with that spirit,” he explained. “I hope that this Inter too has the same desire to help each other on the pitch and to fight a battle in every match. In this way they will overcome the difficult moments.”
On seeing former coach Jose Mourinho back in Serie A with Roma the Brazilian stated, “For those who, like me, have shared so many emotions with him, it may seem strange, but this is part of the profession. Jose was the best coach I’ve ever had. He is tough, consistent and correct, he never wants to lose: with him Roma have the right man to pick themselves up.”
On his brief time with the Biancocelesti he explained that “I went to Juve because at that moment Inter were rebuilding, otherwise I would never have left Milan: I was almost forced by the circumstances. I didn’t have people around who could advise me and there were no other options.”
“In Turin, however, I encountered the trio of defenders of the Italian national team and there was no space,” he reflected, “it was not a happy moment, there are no good memories, and also for this reason Inter remain ‘my’ Italian club.”
“In any case, everything is an experience and even at Juve I made friends like Buffon, Pogba and Pirlo: they all welcomed me well,” he stated.
Of the Brazilians currently at Juventus he said, “Danilo, Arthur, Alex Sandro and now also Kaio Jorge. I follow them in a particular way also with the Selecao in mind – every time they do well it is a pride. In a league like the Italian one, you will become better and better.”
And on the Bianconeri’s chances at the San Siro, he suggested that “They have great players, many European champions, but Inter are playing at home. This remains the Italian Clasico, fascinating and difficult for everyone. Once in this match I also scored in the Italian Cup. And obviously I’m rooting for Inter.”