Lothar Matthäus; Porträt, Einzelbild

Matthaus: ‘Inter’s new signings make them fresher, younger and more unpredictable’


Former Inter midfielder Lothar Matthäus believes the clubs transfer business this summer makes them ‘fresher, younger and more unpredictable.’ The Nerazzurri have added the likes of Yann Sommer, Davide Frattesi and Marcus Thuram to their roster in recent weeks, starting the season in perfect form with 3 wins out of 3. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the upcoming Derby against Milan, Matthäus talked about the changes the clubs have undergone since the Champions League final against Manchester City, and his predictions for the season ahead:

Matthäus, has this beautiful Inter team risen from the ashes of Istanbul?

“A few fewer mistakes in front of goal and now the Champions League would be in Milan. Now there’s a whole new team, fresher, younger and more unpredictable, which can repeat the same results. even if it’s not easy. I am pleased, however, that three great signings like Thuram, Sommer and Pavard come from the Bundesliga. It means that our league is a reservoir of talent and that the A league is finally back too’.

Let’s start with the first with the most responsibility: will Marcus Thuram improve in front of goal?

“At Mönchengladbach he found the goal, and how! You have already seen him: he has everything, physics and technique at speed, and he is ready to explode in a top team. For me, though, he is not a traditional 9. Compared to him, he is more of a centre forward Lautaro or Arnautovic. Marcus likes to find space, don’t ask him to do Lukaku’s work in the area.”

By the way, are you surprised by Romelu’s summer betrayal?

“Nothing in football surprises me. For me Lukaku was and remains one of the best strikers in the world: I could also see him doing well at Bayern. Inzaghi had a different vision and always put him on the bench. The club, however, made precise choices, following the coach’s philosophy and thinking about the future, so it is useless to think about the past. Now next to Lautaro there is Thuram and also Arna, another Bundesliga trainer who is good with the ball.”

Sommer after Onana: did Inter lose out?

“He may not be among the best in the world now, but you can bet on Sommer. On the pitch, always focused and with his own style, but also off it, in the dressing room. He’s quiet and calm: let’s say he’s different to the Walter Zenga of my time…’.

Pavard, on the other hand, wanted Inter above all else.

“The former managers, Salihamidzic and Kahn, had promised him they would let him leave, then at Bayern everything changed, even the coach, and they wanted to hold on to him: hence the problems in the negotiations, but then Benji’s will won. I know him well, he’s a super professional player. At Bayern he was in a superior team, but he didn’t want to play full-back as he did with Tuchel. He feels like a centre-back and Inter made a great deal with him’.

The derby is coming up: compared to those in the semi-finals of the Champions League, has Milan reduced the gap?

“Milan have also operated intelligently in the market and started very well. It will be an excellent derby, but I hope the gap remains and Inter are always a little bit higher. Even by a little bit, even by a little goal: a 1-0 suffered, without the dominance they had in the Champions League, is enough to maintain supremacy in the city. Then, for the Scudetto, the challenge is still very long and anything can happen over time’.

The most beautiful photo among the derbies you have played?

“Not a single match and not even my only goal on a penalty kick in an away win. I carry with me the overall score: Milan were the best team in the world, but I won more against them than I lost. Three wins and only one knockout: a great pride, but it was also thanks to Trap.”

If you were playing today, would you also go to Arabia?

“In my career I chose with the pitch in mind: I wanted to compete, money always came later. When I was 19 years old Juve offered me 20 times more than I was getting at Mönchengladbach, but it wasn’t the right time: I knew I had to take other steps before the jump to Italy and the big money. When I went to MLS as an old man I was earning less than at Bayern, but I wanted a new life experience. Unfortunately, with Arabia the concept is being reversed: first money, then football. Take Neymar: he could still be preparing to try to win a World Cup with Brazil and instead he went there…’.

Roberto Mancini has also taken the same path as Neymar: what do you think of him?

“I have nothing against money, I would be hypocritical to say the opposite. And I understand that that offer to Mancini would never happen again. But you have to tell people the truth, be transparent: he leaves his national team with four stars on his chest to earn more as coach of Arabia. Talking about staff or relations with the federal president leaves time to find: we all know that, without that offer, Roberto would still be in his position. I repeat, this is not my football’.

And what exactly is your football?

“I like more a small club like Union Berlin, which grew up with its own legs, without emirs but with scouting, ideas and respect for roles: a few years ago it was looking for players in the fourth division and now it can buy national players like Gosens and champions like Bonucci. Both still wanted to be decisive, at Union they will be. And in the Bundesliga they will have fun: Kane has given enthusiasm back to Bayern but also to their rivals.”


Serie A obsessive.