INTER MILAN Visits North Texas!!!

9 08 2010

FC Internazionale Milano aka the #1 team in the world.  (From Left to Right) Esteban Cambiasso, Diego Millito, Dejan Stankovic,  Goran Pandev, Walter Samuel, Phillippe Coutinho, Lucio, Samuel Eto’o, and Luca Castellazzi (GK in Green).

Last Thursday night the best team in soccer played a friendly in Frisco, Tx against the “best” in-form team in the MLS.  FC Dallas had been on an 8 game unbeaten streak heading into the friendly that drew a packed house.  I’d like to share a few of the fun antics, stories and memories from this wonderful night.

I’ll start with the new manager of Inter Milan via Liverpool, Rafa Benitez (fellow just over my shoulder – thanks Ken for that wonderful photo!!!).  For you not familiar with the Spanish tactical-genius he went through the gamut of Spanish clubs before he “found” his style with Valencia.  He took home the La Liga title (ousting the stranglehold by Real Madrid and Barcelona) in 01-02  and then in 04′ showed his European dominance by winning the UEFA Cup on top of his second La Liga title.  After a falling out with management at Valencia, Rafa was brought on as the new manager of Liverpool.  The legendary club pulled off one of the most memorable Champions League Final victories in Rafa’s first season with the club.  He was unable to boost the Premiership title during his tenure (though in 08-09 did finish second in a TIGHT race with Man United).   During his time with the club he not only added numerous Spanish players, but the creative mindset seen in Spanish football translated well at the Merseyside.  Inter Milan signed the quiet manager after its flamboyant former manager Jose “The Special One” Mourinho left for Real Madrid.   The defending champions league champs brought the full squad to Frisco, Tx for a scorching Thursday nite friendly.

I’ll start with the stories of one of my top ten favorite players of all-time, Esteban Cambiasso (The glowing man being interviewed).  The bald-headed Central Defensive-Midfielder has been an anchor for Inter and the Argentina national team for over 6 years now.  He is the pace-setter for the world’s best team.  His style of play isn’t that flashy, but when he wants to his presence is felt across the pitch.  Its really simple – he’s bad-ass!!!  Anyways here’s the funny tale of Esteban having a little fun on Thursday night.  He was one of the epic 8 half-time subs (by the end of the 65th minute the entire starting line-up would be subbed out – we’ll get to that fun in a sec).  Anyways Esteban was enjoying his time on the sidelines as he talked with fans in the crowd and then following the final whistle was signing everything.  Well on his way up from the field to the locker room he decided the “ref’s” elevator wasn’t being used.  So the bald-wonder got into the ref’s elevator and then convinced Red Hat Ken Jones and his Spotter crew the Castillos’ to get on board.  As FC Dallas players were walking up the tunnel they were met by the laughter of Esteban Cambiasso.  He was pointing and laughing at them with one hand while the other hand was hitting the close door button on the elevator.  Once at the top Esteban decided to skip around and harass anyone close to him.  Luckily my night was complete with a “man’s” handshake and brief convo with the bad-ass midfielder.  It’ll take a lot for me to forget his kind words of “I love this place”.  Yep Esteban seemed to enjoy the hell out of his American trip and who knows maybe a MLS career is in his near future?  HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE!!

FC DALLAS – (Left to Right) – Daniel Hernandez, GK Dario Sala, Heath Pearce, Atiba Harris, Ugo Ihemelu, Milton Rodriguez, Jair Benitez, Erik Avila, George John, Brek Shea, and David “Daveeeeeeeeeddddd” Ferreira.

Now after watching (in person – with before-mentioned Ken Jones) Manchester United destruction of the MLS All-stars (FC Dallas Heath Pearce and David Ferriera were on the team – and played well).  After 90 + minutes the English squad had taken home a 5-2 victory.

Banner hanging from Reliant Stadium.

Opening Introduction.

Second Goal – Corner by NANI to FEDERICO MACHEDA.

Inter Milan would not fair so well against the hottest MLS team.  Even Defender George John was able to net home a wonderful header.  The goal tied the score 1-1 in the first half and immediately gave George his GREATEST SOCCER MEMORY TO DATE and maybe ever!!!

George John (#14), Brek Shea (#20), Heath Pearce (#4), and Coach Schellas Hyndman.

Earlier George had even blasted a rocket from about 35-40 feet out and caused Schellas to let loose with a smile ear to ear.  Samuel Etoo would pound home a superb 2nd goal for Inter and FC Dallas would pull off the draw after David Ferriera’s stone-cold penalty shot.  The superstar would be part of the “second wave” of subs from Inter Milan.

From Left to Right – Inter PR Maestro Andrea Butti, (I’ll keep the Refs names confidential for all those angry ref haters – though the fella on the left – we’ll call him Fernando – had to deal with 20 + subs this game!!), Mancini (#30) is subbing in for Eto’o (#9).    My best memories of Thursday night happened after I was introduced to the man who ran the show.  Andrea Butti ruled the Inter Nest and his quick wit made us all feel a little inferior.  It was a hilarious time when Andrea explained to me that the team would come out for the pre-game warm-up when they felt ready.  “Yes, Yes it it hot…we will have a cool-off instead of a warm-up”.  He would have a lot of quality moments like when he told the refs, “Don’t worry Inter is here”.  The few times when Andrea, Rafa Bentiez and FC Dallas “guru/special assistant/technical director” Barry Gorman would “discuss” how things would work.  Heated would be an appropriate word choice for how it all seemed to me.   Nonetheless the game went off with nothing but minor “hiccups” and Beautiful soccer was played.

That’s FC Dallas superstar/MVP candidate David Ferreira and Inter’s stellar defender Christian Chivu (the man with the hat).  The game was a back and forth with FC Dallas surprisingly creating most of the early chances (against Inter’s first unit).  After the first half ended 1-1, the second half saw the Eto’o goal followed by the game-tying penalty goal from Mr. Daveeeeeeeeeedddddddd.  I can’t share all the wild antics that happened on that special night.  But I’ll leave you with this fun one.

Racism in Italy has become quite an issue (ESPN has done more then 4 pieces on the issue alone).  Inter Milan happens to have a young and talented striker who has been at the brunt of a lot of Racism.

Mario has recently also been the talk of transfer rumors to Manchester City and thus didn’t play in Frisco.  However, the young teenager (that’s right 19 years old) decided to spend his time learning THAI BOXING.  That’s right, I got to witness a tutorial by one of the Inter trainers explaining the different standing style of Thai boxing.  Mario was enjoying this only for a little while until he felt like the trainer was being incorrect with his training.  Balotelli took his super-diamond encrusted ring – in the shape of a roaring lion – and walked off.  By the way think of the Lion ring as a mix between this…

and this…

The trainer (a possible twin for Esteban Cambiasso) came over to me (the only person in the tunnel while this was going on) and told me “Kids, they are just so stubborn”.  Then he proceeded to discuss whether or not Texas girls were beautiful.  I explained to him the finest in the world and luckily was able to spot some lovelies in the raucous crowd (I’d like to thank the city of Frisco, Texas breeding,  and (not real by the way!!) for making this moment possible – also thanks to cotton clothes on hot days.

Ok here are a few more pictures from Thursday night with Inter and also from Manchester United vs MLS All-Stars (Wednesday July 28th).

THE MAN signing autographs.

A packed Reliant Stadium for Man U vs MLS.

What happens when you rent a white VW Bug and leave it with some “respectful” looking kiddos.  Hey shout out to the one FC Dallas kid bold enough to wear the hoops in Houston!!!  By the way we counted just shy of 75 different soccer jersey’s at the MLS All-Star Game in H-Town.  Oil city let loose with all the soccer love, but by far the most unique jersey worn all day was a Washington Bullets Wes Unseld jersey?

WTF???  Don’t worry the coolest person we ran into was Real Madrid super-star CR #9 (soon to be CR #7 again).  He may have been feeling left out when he broke out the old digs and sat up in the nose bleeds with us regular fans.

This kid did look like Clint Dempsey though – we were in H-Town – that’s not to far from Nacogdoches  (well only like 3 hours or so).

But the pick for best Jersey was our very own Red Hat superstar.

Lower bowl of Reliant Stadium.   I hope to see more and more European teams venture to TEXAS.  I also endorse TEXAS as the site for the 2022 World Cup.  FORGET THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.  We’ve got Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, and Houston as major cities capable of having all the games (hell South Africa got away with 10 stadiums – shit we’ve got 3 in Dallas alone that’ll work – JERRY WORLD, COTTON BOWL, and AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER).




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