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Italy v England: Behind Enemy Lines - A British Inter Fan's Experience

Meet Alessandro Scarlato, Inter fan extraordinaire. From his home in the UK he follows the Nerazzurri by TV and the internet, cherishing a love that's been blossoming for the best part of two decades. He spoke to to offer his opinions during the build-up to the crucial Champions League clash with European, World and English champions Manchester United.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your Italian background?

“My name is Alessandro Scarlato and I am a 21-year-old student living in London. I came to England last year to study computing and I was living in Cosenza up until that point. My family are from Italy, but my mother is English.”

Why did you choose to support an Italian club, rather than an English one? Do you consider yourself Italian or English, and why?

“I decided to support an Italian club because I was born in Italy and my father is Italian. Also, I think Italian football is better than the English game. Fabio Capello's appointment as England coach proves this.

“I consider myself to be half English and half Italian, but to be honest I prefer the Italian lifestyle.”

What's it like being an Inter supporter when you are surrounded by English fans?

“It's normal for me. You have to expect this being in England. English fans have a reputation for being hooligans, but I have not really experienced this. I think it’s a stereotype. I still believe Italian fans are more passionate than their Anglo rivals.”

Who do you think will win out of Inter and Manchester United?

“I think we will win the first leg 2-1 and then we will go to Old Trafford and win 1-0. Inter are better prepared this season after last year's shambles.”

Who are the key players who will decide the game? Who do you fear most from the Manchester United team?

“Everyone is a key player. Matches like these can be decided by someone you least expect. For example, a Rio Ferdinand header or a penalty save from Julio Cesar.

“Names such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic obviously spring to mind. Although I fear Ronaldo, he has always been a big game flop. He goes missing in the big matches. I am more scared of Ryan Giggs and, if he plays, Wayne Rooney. These two men are the symbols of Manchester United.”

Which player(s) do you most dislike from the Man Utd team and why?

"I don't like Rio Ferdinand. I think he is a cheating defender who always holds onto players and gets away with too many fouls. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets away with it at Old Trafford. Referees never give anything there.”

Which player do you most worry about in the Inter team?

“I am worried about Materazzi. I really hope he doesn't play as he cost us last year against Liverpool. He is always clumsy and his lack of pace will cost us goals against United's fast attacking players.”

What is your opinion on the other Italy-England games?

“I can't stand Juventus because they are our worst enemies. They cheated so many times in the past and robbed many Scudettos from us. I hope Chelsea smash them - it's what they deserve. They are a Serie B team and they don't deserve to be in the Champions League.

“Arsenal Roma will be a good game. I think Arsenal will edge this one. The Gunners will win at the Emirates and draw in Rome.”

Which league is better – Serie A or the Premier League – and why?

“Serie A is much better. Look at the play, the skills, the finesse. Italy are the World Champions, so this speaks volumes about domestic Italian football.

"The Premier League is just money orientated. All the foreign owners will ruin the English game. It isn't even English anyway. Foreign owners, foreign players, foreign managers, foreign sponsorships. The Premier League is just one big joke of a league.”

Finally, can Inter win the Champions League?

“Of course we can. I would never have said this under any other coach, but we will win it because we have Mourinho. He is a master of European football and will lead us to the Champions League trophy.

"Inter are just too strong. We are the best team in the world. We will smash Manchester and then whip Barcelona in the final.”