Italian Media Highlight How Former Inter Milan Midfielder Joao Mario At Heart Of Benfica Attack & Could Come Back To Haunt Nerazzurri
Inter will find themselves coming face-to-face with a familiar figure from their past in the form of Benfica midfielder Joao midfielder in their Champions League quarterfinal tie against the Portuguese league leaders.
This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who note that the 29-year-old has become the key man at the heart of the Lisbon-based club’s attack, and could be the player who punishes his former club.
Mario arrived at Inter with high expectations from Sporting CP in the summer of 2016, but never quite lived up to them.
Loan spells at West Ham United and Lokomotiv Moscow followed, before the Portuguese international returned to Sporting on loan where he helped the Lisbon club win the Portuguese league title for the first time in nearly two decades.
Whilst Sporting had wanted to make the loan move permanent, they were unable to agree a deal with Inter, and it was Benfica who swooped in and signed Mario.
Whilst the midfielder’s first season at the Estadio da Luz was a good one, it has been in his second that he has really come alive.
The 29-year-old is joint top scorer in the league for Benfica, sitting on fifteen goals alongside Goncalo Ramos, whilst his 21 goals in all competitions are just behind Ramos’s 23.
Moreover, Mario is the player who makes things tick and links midfield and attack in this Benfica.
The Nerazzurri will know that Mario is one of the player they must stop if they’re to keep this free-scoring Benfica side quiet, and the fact that he is a former Inter player himself will make this task seem all the more crucial to avoid a certain embarrassment.