Explosive Inter Milan trio keep fireworks on the pitch

Inter Milan seemed to be playing with fire when they signed Pablo Osvaldo, Mauro Icardi and Gary Medel, three potentially explosive players each with a well-documented history of controversy, before the start of the season.

Reuters| Last Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 16:56 PM IST
Explosive Inter Milan trio keep fireworks on the pitch

Milan: Inter Milan seemed to be playing with fire when they signed Pablo Osvaldo, Mauro Icardi and Gary Medel, three potentially explosive players each with a well-documented history of controversy, before the start of the season.

Chile`s Medel, nicknamed the Pitbull and raised in one of Santiago`s toughest neighbourhoods, had received 13 red cards before joining Inter, was lucky to escape serious injury in a high-speed car crash in his homeland in 2009 and was caught drink-driving 18 months prior to that accident.

Argentina forward Icardi has featured regularly in gossip columns over the last year after moving in with model Wanda Nara, the ex-wife of compatriot and former Sampdoria team mate Maxi Lopez.

The two players refused to shake hands when they faced each other in a game last season and Lopez was further angered when his children appeared together with Nara and Icardi in photographs on Facebook.

Argentine-born Osvaldo has a long history of tantrums.

He left Roma under a cloud just over one year after television cameras caught him apparently insulting coach Aurelio Andreazzoli after being left out of the starting line-up and his six-month spell at Southampton last season also featured suspension over a training ground incident.

So far, however, the fireworks have been on the pitch and the trio have flourished under coach Walter Mazzarri, suggesting that Inter could pull themselves out of the rut which they have been stuck in since Jose Mourinho`s departure at the end of their treble-winning season in 2010.

With two wins and two draws from their first four games, the best attack in Serie A and second-best defence, Inter finally appear to be taking shape under Mazzaari, who is in his second season and is their sixth coach since the Mourinho era.

Icardi, who played for Inter on loan last season and has now been signed from Sampdoria, scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 drubbing of Sassuolo, where Osvaldo chipped in with two goals.

SPECTACULAR STRIKE

Osvaldo then scored an early contender for goal of the season in Wednesday`s 2-0 win over Atalanta, a scissors-kick which he admitted could have gone high into the stand but instead flew into the net.

"I`ve been pleasantly surprised by him. I heard that he had a special character, but he`s a good lad who gets on with the job and is very professional," Mazzarri said.

"He`ll even get better if he keeps putting everything in on the training ground as he has been doing."

Medel has been arguably the most impressive of the trio.

One of the outstanding players in an impressive Chilean side who reached the round of 16 at the World Cup, he has been employed by Mazzarri in central midfield rather than in the defensive role he performed in Brazil.

"If we want to play with two attacking midfielders and the wide men getting forward then we need someone who can sit in there and do a perfect defensive job. But Gary is also very good at building play," he sasd.

Another player who has shone is Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who was signed 18 months ago but has only just forced his way into the side on a regular basis.

Inter should continue their good start on Sunday (1300 GMT) when they host bottom-of-the-table Cagliari, who have taken only one point from their opening four games.

Leading pair Juventus and Roma, the only two teams to have won their opening four games, both play on Saturday on a weekend which also features the Genoa-Sampdoria derby (Sunday 1845).

Juventus, who have yet to concede a goal, visit Atlanata (1845) while Roma host Verona on the day that playmaker Francesco Totti celebrates his 38th birthday.

Crisis-hit Napoli, who have taken only one point from their last three games, travel to Sassuolo, who have played two goaless draws since their 7-0 defeat to Inter.