Former Inter Milan Sporting Director Marco Branca still sees the sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona in 2009 as one of his best ever pieces of business.
The former Nerazzurri executive recounted the move to Il Foglio Sportivo, via FCInter1908, also looking at what its ramifications were.
Ibrahimovic made the move to Barcelona from Inter in the summer of 2009. At the time, it was an absolutely blockbuster transfer.
The Swede was one of the most sought-after strikers in all of Europe at the time. And the team he was joining were arguably the best in the history of the club game.
At the very least, the Barcelona side of that period were the strongest team in club football at that moment. The Blaugranas had just demolished Manchester United in the Champions League final to win the European treble.
Accordingly, Ibrahimovic’s arrival seemed as though it would only further strengthen an already dominant team.
And, on the other end of things, losing the Swede seemed like a major blow for Inter.
Branca Looks Back On How Inter Benefited From Selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic To Barcelona
Contrary to expectations, however, the Nerazzurri only went on to bigger and better things without Ibrahimovic.
A key reason why was that Barcelona sent a player the other way as part of the deal who would prove to be a key man for Inter. Namely, Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o, who played a key role for the Nerazzurri the following season.
Moreover, it wasn’t just Eto’o who arrived at Inter that summer.
As Branca notes, Ibrahimovic’s sale for a massive money fee allowed the Nerazzurri to make a number of ambitious signings.
“That deal allowed us to sign Milito, Lucio, Pandev, and Motta,” he noted, not only Eto’o.
Branca was also asked about Financial Fair Play, which was implemented after he left Inter.
“If they had introduced it that season I don’t know if we would have been able to stay within the rules,” he admitted.
“We certainly went into it off the back of a number of years with trophies and big wins, though,” Branca added. “I signed several players below their true value and increased it over 4-5 years.”