Inter Milan President Steven Zhang has opened up on the importance of Beppe Marotta, Antonio Conte, and Massimo Moratti to his time at the club.

The Nerazzurri President spoke to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, via FCInterNews.

Zhang has already spoken to the Gazzetta recently. The Nerazzurri President reaffirmed Suning’s commitment to staying on and refinancing their debt, and gave his thoughts on defender Milan Skriniar, among other subjects.

Now, the Inter President has reflected on some of the figures who have been influential for him during his time in charge.

Zhang On Importance Of Beppe Marotta To Inter

Zhang gave an explanation of how CEO Beppe Marotta has been significant to the Nerazzurri.

“Often when foreign owners go abroad, they make the mistake of not understanding what the culture of the country is like,” he said.

“If you think you can dominate in the transfer market without knowing it, you only risk being arrogant,” he continued.

Zhang recounted that “Six or seven years ago when I arrived in Italy, it was [Torino President] Urbano Cairo who gave me the first piece of advice: if you want to win, you need someone who knows our football and how a club works.”

“And then he gave me the right name,” the Nerazzurri President noted. “Beppe Marotta.”

“If you want to stay in a country, you also have to know how to adapt to that country,” he added. “I need Italian directors at the club.”

The Inter President summarized his Nerazzurri project as “The right mix between tradition and innovation.”

“We have a strong bond with Nerazzurri history and roots, we care a lot about the relationship with the fans and the local area.”

“But we also always look towards the future.”

Inter President Zhang On Pioli & Spalletti

The Nerazzurri President was also asked about the Nerazzurri’s recent coaches before Simone Inzaghi.

All of Stefano Pioli, Luciano Spalletti, and Antonio Conte are now Serie A title-winners.

“They all taught me something,” Zhang said of the trio.

“Pioli was the first coach I worked with in my life,” he noted.

“I wanted to have an Italian coach who knew the league perfectly,” he looked back “Stefano gave me the basics.”

He then noted that “I’m very close to Spalletti because he paved the way for the style of play, work, and results. He brought Inter back to the Champions League. That was a fundamental objective at the time.”

“Under him we had one of the best defenses, and I understood the importance of a strong defense if you want to win.”

“Do you know what Moratti once said to me?” he said of advice from legendary former Nerazzurri President Massimo Moratti.

“Dear Steven, I made many mistakes during my presidency,” he noted. “Only focusing on having great strikers.”

“But when I started buying the great defenders, then I started winning.”

“And he quoted [Walter] Samuel…” Zhang noted. “It’s an important lesson that I learned from him.”

Always Wanted Antonio Conte At Inter

The Inter President then spoke about former Nerazzurri coach Antonio Conte.

“Since we bought Inter, I immediately wanted to eventually have Conte on the bench,” he said.

“He’s a tough coach,” Zhang said of Conte. “With a strong personality.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happy or satisfied, or seen him smile.”

“After a win he’s immediately thinking about the next one,” Zhang said. “Without a moment to relax or be satisfied.”

“But that’s how he brought the Scudetto back to Inter after ten years, ending a Juve cycle that seemed endless.”

Asked if he ever swears in Italian in the stands, Zhang admitted that when Inter miss a chance he sometimes blurts out, “Vaffanculo!”

Zhang On Life In Milan

The Inter President was also asked about his adjustment to life in Milan.

“I love Milan greatly,” he said. “I learned about Italian culture, traditions, and mentality.”

“I often tell my friends that today I feel 40% Chinese, 30% American, 20% Italian, and 10% a citizen of the world.”

Zhang admitted that “I don’t speak Italian properly yet, but I understand it.”

“And the Chinese way of thinking is quite similar to yours.,” he added.