THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

End of the Moratti era closes in

icon moneyman28 September ~ The intended sale of Internazionale to Indonesian Erick Thohir raises the question of whether the club will maintain their direction or opt for a change. Under Massimo Moratti, president for the last two decades, Inter have won the scudetto five times, the Coppa Italia four, one Champions League and one UEFA Cup. The Italian oil tycoon has also become a peculiar football celebrity for his record signings and the number of coaches he's fired, but he has helped to improve Inter's reputation worldwide.

The Moratti family's deal to sell the club has proceeded cautiously. In their last meeting in Paris, Moratti talked about knowing Thohir and getting along with him. A majority of 70 per cent of Inter's shares will end up in the Indonesian multimillionaire's hands.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the deal includes a clause that could allow the repurchase of the shares if the Moratti family think the club is being mismanaged or their fans disrespected. In any case, the Morattis will not leave Inter immediately and there have been rumours of Massimo staying as president for the first few months. “We'll see about that,” he said.

This move represents a big change for Serie A. Moratti has provided Inter fans around the world with eventful summers, full of new signings and controversial comments to the press. In the rest of the year, sacking managers has been a favourite pastime. José Mourinho and Roberto Mancini, who both resigned, are the only exceptions in a list of quickly axed managers that include Rafa Benítez, Leonardo, Marcello Lippi and Roy Hodgson.

Off the pitch, Moratti's Inter have developed a reputation for taking an interest in conflicts around the world – one of the most famous episodes of this philanthropic side being to send money and team jerseys to the Zapatista separatists in Mexico. Fellow president Claudio Lotito of Lazio even praised Moratti "as the emblem of romantic football become global”. The sale of Inter has been warmly received locally. "In England they have sheikhs, here we have Chinese or Indonesian. Foreign investment in our football is welcomed," said Genoa's president, Enrico Preziosi. An influx of new money is always great news for those running football. Antonio Mateo

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