Former Manchester United and Inter Milan star Paul Ince reveals how leaving the Nerazzurri is the biggest regret of his career.
“Leaving Inter was my biggest regret. Sometimes in life, you make decisions that have nothing to do with football.
“The fans were absolutely amazing. I adored the fans, they loved me. It was one of those situations where everything was perfect for me there.
“Even when I played a rubbish game the fans said I played a good game. I couldn’t do no wrong, I had no reason to leave Inter. I was playing really well, getting into the language as well.
“But my wife caught Bell’s Palsy and that was the situation where Inter kind of let themselves down. I was away with Inter and I couldn’t visit her in the hospital.
“My wife was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, that was the main reason we wanted to go back. Also, Thomas was 4-5 years old at the time, he went to school in Milan and we lived by Lake Como.
“So it was a family decision, and never a football decision. To this day I think I should have stayed, but family always comes first.
“But if I had stayed at Inter I would have stayed there for the rest of my life. To be honest I don’t see myself ever having returned home. I loved Inter, I loved the country, in fact I still love it.
“I look at Javier Zanetti and he is now the Vice-President, who knows maybe that could have been me. So I should have stayed.
“It was a tough decision. I had two year left on my contract. I went to see Massimo Moratti and told him the decision and he was distraught, in tears.
“We both were in tears in fact, and he told me ‘listen Paul, whatever money you want, whatever length of contract you want, we got Ronaldo for next season, you can have it’ but I said I wish I could but I can’t.
“It was never about money it was just about the family being happy. That’s the decision I regret the most.”
Ex Inter Milan Star Paul Ince – “Massimo Moratti A Father Figure”
The former England star continued branding legendary ex Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti as a father figure.
“It was absolutely fantastic [my relationship with Massimo Moratti]. Massimo Moratti was really like a father figure to me.
“At the time I don’t think it was Ottavio Bianchi the manager who wanted me. But I think it was Massimo Moratti wanted me, cause he liked the way I played. He always looked out for me.
“I remember that year, we didn’t start the season well and I was played out of position. I couldn’t understand why Bianchi played me out of position.
“Especially as I had spent the last six years in center midfield for Manchester United. So I think we were losing 2-0 at half-time I think it was Siena.
“Massimo Moratti came down at half-time and was absolutely fuming. So I told my best mate at Inter, Massimo Paganin, to translate to Italian for me.
“I told him ‘I’m playing in the wrong position, I don’t like the way I’m playing. And I need to play in central midfield, otherwise there is no point in me being there.’
“So I played in central midfield in the second half, I think we ended up drawing 2-2. I think already the next week Bianchi was sacked and in came Roy Hodgson.
“So Massimo [Moratti] always looked after me.”
“Playing Golf With Ryan Giggs When Sir Alex Told Me About Inter Milan Offer”
Ince then revealed how the move to Inter Milan came about and how he came to find out about it.
“My move to Inter Milan came about in that infamous Crystal Palace game with the Cantona situation. Massimo Moratti was at the game, which I didn’t know at the time.
“I think I was playing golf with my best mate Giggsy, Ryan Giggs, and I got a phone call from Sir Alex saying he was at the golf club saying he needed to have a conversation with me.
“Which seemed a bit strange at the time. So I jumped in his car and he told me that ‘we have just had a bid from Inter Milan for £7.5 million. We have accepted it. We’ve got a new training ground being built. And we’ve got Nicky Butt coming through’ he said.”
“Once a club accepts an offer for you then that means they don’t want you at the club. For me it was a no-brainer. I had been at Manchester United for six years.
“We were actually at the time negotiating another four year contract, so the whole thing came as a bit of a surprise to me. But once I got my head around it, it was a fantastic move.”
Paul Ince – “Javier Zanetti Underrated, One Of The Greatest Players Of All Time”
Ince had nothing but high praise for current Inter Milan Vice-President Javier Zanetti.
“Javier [Zanetti] was unbelievable. When people ask me about my top 11, Javier is always in it. Whether it is right back, right wing, in the middle of the park, he could play absolutely anywhere at the highest level.
“It’s funny because we signed for Inter on the same day. He signed from Banfield from Argentina for something like £650.000. Think how much they paid for him and how great he became, it’s unbelievable.
“He was so strong, his legs were massive, his running power.
“Inter played Spurs in the Champions League 4-5 years ago and I hadn’t seen Javier for ages. I saw him again on the pitch at Tottenham, it was great to see him.
“We had a great relationship. He’s one of the greatest players of all time. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, he really, really doesn’t.
“But to play with him, and train with him, so professional, standards were really high every day, He will always get into my team.”
Paul Ince – “Total Shock When Roberto Carlos Sold”
Ince was then ask to comment on what he saw during his time at the club with regards to what happened between Roy Hodgson and Roberto Carlos.
“I don’t know what Roberto Carlos side of the story was or what Roy Hodgson¨s side of the story was. As a player you try to stay out of it.
“I did hear, I don’t know if it’s true as I wasn’t there at the time, but I heard that there were parties going on at the hotel. But like I said I wasn’t there so can’t comment on it.
“What I do know is that he was an unbelievable player, he was world class. One of the best left backs the world has ever seen.
“When you lose a player like that, there has to be a reason behind. You don’t let players of that class and caliber leave a club like Inter.
“So something must have happened between the two of them for Roy to make the decision for him to leave,
“But obviously we were all shocked. The fans were shocked. We’re talking about one of the best attacking left backs in the world.
“We lost a lot when Roberto Carlos wasn’t there. Our team became weaker when he wasn’t there. And he was a fantastic guy to be around. So funny, always smiling, joking and messing about.
“He was great in the changing room. And that is just as important as when you´re on the pitch.
“What people inside the training ground are like, and he was one of those characters that we all loved. So when he left it was a total shock.”
Paul Ince – “We Battered Schalke At San Siro In UEFA Cup Final”
Ince then reminisced about the UEFA Cup final which the Nerazzurri lost on a penalty shootout to Schalke 04.
“The Schalke game was tough because the first game away, myself and Djorkaeff didn’t play because we were suspended.
“If you’re missing myself and Youri then that makes us a weakened side straight away. But the return leg at the San Siro we absolutely battered them.
“Honestly, we had chance after chance aafter chance. And then it went to penalties and Aron Winter missed a penalty and we ended up losing that.
“It was disappointing. I know how much Massimo Moratti wanted to win a trophy and to win the Lo Scudetto. I know all this.
“That was my plan when I went to Inter to be part of the team that wins the Scudetto. But I never got around to doing it and that’s one of my biggest regrets together with leaving as they signed Ronaldo the following year.”
Drinking Bourbon With Joe Pesci At Nicola Berti’s House Party
Paul Ince then revealed how well he got on with fellow Inter Milan team-mate Nicola Berti who is known for his legendary parties.
“When I first joined Inter, Nicola [Berti] said to me ‘listen I’m holding a party, would you like to come?’ and I thought ok I’d go.
“I was a bit skeptical beforehand as I didn’t speak Italian and I thought there’d only be Italians there, so I was a little bit concerned.
“But I said “yeah, I’d go. I’ll play some music and do some DJ’ing for you. When I arrived there was only about 7-8 people there. Some players and ex-players.
“I was playing 2Pac on Nicola’s stereo, I had my earphones on listening to 2Pac. Within about half an hour it was absolutely packed.
“And when I mean packed, I’m not just talking anybody: Joe Pesci was there, Uma Thurman, and Michael Keaton who I spent about half an hour talking too.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was in the kitchen talking to Joe Pesci drinking Bourbon. I was so in shock I forgot to take any pictures. Im gutted now I didn’t [laughs].
“But that was Nicola Berti to a T. He knows so many people. It was always strange there because he had a bad injury and I came in and took his place.
“Which I thought would have been difficult between us but we ended up being really good friends.”
Paul Ince – “Inter Milan The Best Time I Spent In My Career”
In conclusion, Paul Ince spoke about life at Inter Milan and Serie A at the time branding it the best time he had in his career.
“Everything about Italian football at the time was perfect, it really was. Once I learned the language, which was tough, that is the most important thing.
“When you go over to another country you have to immerse yourself into their culture. You can’t go to another country and start missing home and all the things you have in England.
“You have to immerse yourself in the Italian culture. And I absolutely loved it, the weather, the food, everything about it.
“When people ask me where was the best time I spent in my career, always I say at Inter. It was because of Inter, the culture, the fans.
“You have to remember at the time Serie A was the best league in the world. The best players in the world all played there. The greatest players. The timing for me was absolutely perfect.” Ince concluded.