Inter return to action as they move ahead with their pre-season preparations. Goal.com takes a look at the friendlies they have lined up.Inter Milan appointed Gian Piero Gasperini at the start of the 2011-12 campaign as their new manager but after 4 defeats in their first 5 games, he was replaced by Claudio Ranieri. The Italian enjoyed a good start to his term but again, a run of poor results saw the Nerazzurri meet their third manager of the season in the form of Andrea Stramaccioni. The 36 year old presided over their last 11 games, managing to win 7 and lead them to a 6th place finish.
Selling some of their best players including Samuel Eto'o was the worst way Inter could have started their season although they claimed it was a necessity in order to comply with UEFA's Financial Fairplay (FFP) rules. The team never settled with the managerial position resembling a game of musical chairs.
|Back to work since July 6th
Inter are hurting after the terrible season they've had by their standards that has cost them Champions League football for a year. They will be eager to get back into the top 4, thereby securing their place amongst Europe's elite.
Andrea Stramaccioni's team's first training session was held on 6th July 2012.
Goal.com looks at the friendlies Inter Milan will take part in before the season starts in August.
Trentino Team vs Inter Milan
|Date: 12th July, 2012
Venue: Stadio Quercia, Rovereto
Result : Trentino Team 0 - 6
Inter's pre-season campaign kicked off against Trentino Team on the 12th of July 2012 in Pinzolo. Inter ran out 6-0 winners.
Inter Milan vs FC Koper
|Date: 15th July, 2012
Venue: Stadio Quercia, Rovereto
Kick Off: 17:00 (local time)
Inter Milan's first pre-season friendly will be against Slovenian side, FC Koper. The first team squad will be looking to ease back into the intensity of a full game by starting off against a weaker opposition. Returning to match fitness will be top priority of the team and they will be hoping that a good section of their personnel will get some minutes under their belts.
About the opposition-
FC Koper is one of only three clubs in Slovenia to win all three domestic competitions. The club finish 4th in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, just missing out on a spot in the Europa League. Despite narrowly missing out on a European campaign for next season, they can boast the best defensive record in their league having conceded only 35 goals.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan and Juventus
|Date: 21st July, 2012
Venue: Stadio San Nicola, Bari
Kick Off: 20:45 (local time)
Inter continue their pre-season campaign at Bari where they will compete in the annual Trofeo TIM Trophy. The competition involves AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus facing each other on the same pitch during 45 minute long matches. Inter have won the trophy seven times and are the defending champions while AC Milan have won it thrice. Current Serie A holders have won it once.
Inter will want to better their two fiercest domestic rivals who enjoyed far better seasons than they did last term by retaining the TIM trophy. It's a good chance for the new recruits as well as the established players to prove themselves against their main competitors before the start of the new season.
About the opposition-
The rivalry between AC Milan and Inter Milan has always been fierce and even though this is a pre-season fixture, you can bet that a few of the players will be at their competitive best. AC Milan lost the Serie A title to Juventus during the second last round of games thanks to a defeat to Inter and will be eager to make up for that loss.
Juventus went unbeaten throughout their league campaign last season and capped it of by winning the title at the end of it. Juventus have recruited a couple of accomplished defenders, one of them being Lucio who served Inter with his tremendous defensive abilities for the past three seasons before sealing a move to Juventus on the 4th of July 2012 via a free transfer.
Como Calcio vs Inter Milan
|Date: 24th July, 2012
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia, Como
Kick Off: 20:00 (local time)
Inter Milan will travel to Como to take on Calcio Como three days after the TIM trophy in Bari. AC Milan played a friendly against the side in September of last year and now it's Inter's turn to grace the Como faithful with their presence.
About the opposition-
Calcio Como were in the Serie A in the 2002-03 season but then endured three consecutive relegations and found themselves in the Serie C2. They even filed for bankruptcy and were cancelled from Italian professional football. They were dropped down to Serie D but finally won back promotion to Serie C2 in 2008. They currently participate in the Lega Pro Prima Divisione A, formerly known as Serie C1. Their players and fans will welcome the arrival of a team of Inter's calibre into their 15,000 capacity stadium.
Celtic vs Inter Milan
|Date: 28th July, 2012
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Kick Off: 13:30 (Local time)
The Italian giants will face Celtic in a pre-season friendly at Celtic Park as part of the Glasgow club's 125th anniversary celebrations. The fixture is a tribute to the club's 1967 European Cup triumph, becoming the first British club to win the trophy. Celtic defeated Inter Milan in Lisbon on that occasion. Celtic will want to win the game in honour of their famous victory all those years ago and will have the crowd behind them every step of the way. However, the fixture is also Inter's final pre-season game and they will be looking to put on a good performance to gear up for the start of the new campaign.
About the opposition-It is a celebration of Celtic's historic win back in 1967 and the players will want to live up to the memory of that side. The Scottish side absolutely dominated the SPL last season, winning the title with a margin of 20 points separating their closest competitors, Rangers. While doing so, they also boasted the best defence and attack in the country. Gary Hooper topped the scoring charts with 24 goals while Celtic's number one, Fraser Forster finished with 21 cleansheets, the most in the league.
Inter's Man to Watch - Philippe Coutinho
Inter will be without some big players this season with Ivan Cordoba retiring, Lucio transferring to Juventus and Diego Forlan moving on to Internacional. The worrying factor is that the club haven't yet replaced any of those names with a big signing. Argentine forward, Rodrigo Palacio has been added to the squad but the 30 year old isn't the sort of player that captures the fans' imagination. Goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic and defender Matias Silvestre (on-loan) are the only other recruitments so far.
However, fans can take comfort in the fact that their bright spark, Philippe Coutinho has returned to the San Siro following a brief spell on loan to Espanyol where he scored 4 goals in 9 La Liga appearances. The talented two-footed midfielder joined Inter in July 2010 at the age of 18, two years on from initially signing for the club from Vasco da Gama. Inter's chairman was then quoted saying that "Coutinho is the future of Inter". The youngster will be hoping that he can establish himself in the first team this season. His dribbling, tricks and shots at goal make the attacking midfielder a real crowd-pleaser. Inter may not have the financial muscle to attract the best players in the world at the moment but in Coutinho they have a real star in the making.
|What the Bench-warmers need to do...
There are a few fringe players at Inter and the pre-season will be their time to convince the manager that they deserve a starting role. Matias Silvestre has joined the club on loan and will probably replace Lucio in the heart of defence alongside Walter Samuel. However, nothing is decided until the start of the season and he will face stiff competition from Andrea Ranocchia.
Dejan Stankovic is no longer a central figure in the first team but the 33 year old still has a lot to offer and the pre-season is his opportunity to prove it. Philippe Coutinho must prove to Stramaccioni that he is ready to be more than just an impact player. He must use the pre-season fixtures to show maurity in his game if he wants to nail down a starting role for the coming season.