Inter Milan look to fill vacuum after Mourinho`s adieu
Rome: A mild uneasiness, mixed with large quantities of pride and joy, looms over Inter Milan after their Champions League football triumph and the shock of Jose Mourinho`s abrupt departure for Real Madrid.
The successful helmsman has confirmed speculation that began weeks earlier, saying that he was indeed going to abandon Inter minutes after a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich Saturday in Madrid made them the first Italian club to complete a prestigious `tripletta`.
Only five other clubs in Europe - Glasgow Celtic, Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and, last year, Barcelona - had managed to win their national cup and league, plus the continental title, in the same season.
For president Massimo Moratti, lifting the trophy ended a wait of 45 years and brought him close to his late father Angelo, who twice savoured the moment in the 1960s.
Asked what his father would have told him after the triumph, Moratti said that `a caress would have been enough. I don`t want to think what he would have told me`.
After the celebrations subsided Sunday morning with the fans meeting the team at Milan`s Giuseppe Meazza stadium, the issue of finding a new coach took shape in the minds of Inter managers.
In a television interview reported by the club`s website, Moratti said that Mourinho`s `timing was not nice because the players read the newspapers, as I do myself.
“There has never been a direct dialogue about this (move to Real), nor an attempt to make me directly understand the matter. It was always done through (media) communications and it was my duty not to use an iron fist because I wanted that the season ended well.”
Moratti`s praise of Mourinho was, however, unconditional, and he stated that respect was never at issue in his two-year relationship with the Portuguese, who also led Inter to two Serie A titles in a run of five.
A severance clause worth 16 million euros ($20 million) remains to be settled with Real and Mourinho, but the choice of a new Inter coach appears inevitable.
Moratti ruled out a return of Roberto Mancini, who left Inter in 2008 and in December took over Manchester City, and expressed mild interest for Roberto Baggio, a former star with good contacts at Inter, but still with no experience as coach.
Local media, meanwhile, looked at Sinisa Mihajlovic as the new likely coach, although Inter are said to have also considered England manager Fabio Capello, Liverpool`s Rafael Benitez and Barcelona`s Josep Guardiola.
Mihajlovic, 41, knows Inter well, having ended his brilliant career as defender there in 2006 to become Mancini`s assistant for two seasons.
He is not as big a name as the other candidates, but did well this season at underdogs Catania, rescuing them from a relegation-bound course.
As a lesser figure in the coaching world, the Serb would not weigh heavily on the club`s budget, which have to be trimmed according to strict guidelines being drafted by football`s European ruling body UEFA.