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Remembering the Inter Milan side that famously beat Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010

Inter Milan stand in the path of Pep Guardiola’s Champions League dream at Manchester City, with the two teams set to meet in the competition’s final on June 10.

Guardiola’s wait for a first Champions League title at the Etihad has been an agonising one after near misses in recent campaigns, but the Citizens will start as firm favourites after a brilliant performance to beat Real Madrid in the last four.

Guardiola has previous when it comes to facing Inter Milan in this competition however, having seen his Barcelona team beaten in the 2009/10 semi-finals. Jose Mourinho’s side earned a 3-1 win in the first leg before holding firm to progress in the return, as the Italians went on to complete a historic treble.


As Guardiola prepares to face Inter Milan once again, we’ve looked back at the Nerazzurri team from that first leg win at the San Siro.

Here is the Inter Milan side that famously beat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010.

Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar

Julio Cesar was named as UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year following Inter’s UCL success, with the 2009/10 season the highlight of a career with the club that saw the Brazilian win five league titles and make 300 appearances in all competitions.

Cesar could do nothing about Pedro’s early opener for Barcelona in the first leg, but made a number of saves – including an excellent stop from Sergio Busquets’ header – as Inter turned the game around.

Right-back: Maicon

Maicon earned the equivalent of Cesar’s positional award after being named UEFA Club Defender of the Year for the 2009/10 season, with the rampaging right-back at that time regarded as one of Europe’s best full-back options.

The Brazilian was caught out of position for Barcelona’s early opener at the San Siro in the first leg, but atoned for that error to hand Inter Milan the lead with the host’s second goal. Maicon burst into the box to collect Diego Milito’s pass and steer home a finish, as the Italians completed a turnaround.

Maicon, who made 249 appearances for Inter before a short spell at Manchester City, was substituted for Cristian Chivu after 73 minutes, following a collision with Lionel Messi.

Centre-back: Walter Samuel

Walter Samuel was a no-nonsense presence at Inter Milan for several seasons and won six Serie A titles across spells with the Nerazzurri and Roma.

The Argentine hard-man formed part of an all-South American back five for the win over Barcelona and helped shackle the threat of former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the San Siro.

He was a crucial presence in both legs of the semi-final, but perhaps more so in the return as Inter progressed despite defeat, having been reduced to 10 men in the first half at the Camp Nou.

Centre-back: Lucio

Lucio was one of several signings to arrive the previous summer and turn Mourinho’s men into European champions.

The Brazilian enjoyed a decorated spell at Bayern Munich before being allowed to leave for Inter for a fee of just €5m, with the German side believing the best seasons of the 31-year-old’s career were behind him.

Lucio disproved that theory with an excellent first season at Inter, in which he helped the club to a historic Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble. Bayern were beaten 2-0 in the latter final as Lucio came out on top against his former side.

Left-back: Javier Zanetti

Javier Zanetti captained Inter Milan to their treble success, the defining season of a career that saw the full-back become a club legend.

Zanetti made a record-breaking 858 appearances for the Nerazzurri, having spent almost two decades as a first-team fixture following his arrival from Argentine side Banfield in 1995.

The versatile star operated at left-back in the 3-1 win over Barcelona, as he dealt brilliantly with the dual threat of compatriot Lionel Messi and Dani Alves.

Midfield: Thiago Motta

One half of a combative defensive midfield axis, Motta made sure Barcelona attacks were stifled with intelligent positional play and tenacity in the centre of the pitch.

Inter’s win was a fine moment for Motta, who struggled to make an impact during six seasons at Barcelona due to fitness issues, before winning a wealth of silverware at Inter Milan and PSG.

The midfielder was relieved to see Mourinho’s side reach the final after being sent off just 28 minutes into the second leg. Inter held on in a Mourinho masterclass to progress.

Midfield: Esteban Cambiasso

A vital presence at the base of the Inter Milan midfield, Cambiasso spent several seasons of understated importance in the famous black and blue colours.

The Argentine was alert to danger and routinely dispossessed Barcelona forwards at the San Siro, while offering assurance in possession as the link between Inter’s backline and forward threat.

Cambiasso had been allowed to leave Real Madrid on a free transfer earlier in his career and it was a decision the Spanish side came to regret, as the midfielder racked up the honours during a decade at Inter. Cambiasso won 15 trophies with the club, including five Scudetti and the Champions League.

Midfield Magicians: The cultured warrior, Esteban Cambiasso

Midfield: Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder formed part of Inter’s recruitment drive the previous summer and became the catalyst for the club’s greatest-ever season. The midfielder had struggled to make a consistent impact at Real Madrid and was forced out following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema and Kaka, but thrived amid main-man status in Italy.

Sneijder was superb during Inter’s treble-winning season and scored the equaliser as the club came from behind to beat Barcelona at the San Siro. He ended the 2009/10 season as UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year and as the Champions League’s leading assist provider, before starring as the Netherlands reached the 2010 World Cup final to win the tournament’s Silver Ball.

Sneijder was contentiously overlooked for the Ballon d’Or despite Inter’s treble success and his performances for the Dutch in South Africa, as he came fourth in the vote behind Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Forward: Goran Pandev

Another of the new recruits, Inter won the race to sign Goran Pandev on a free transfer following the forward’s contract dispute at Lazio.

Pandev became just the third Macedonian to win the Champions League during the 2009/10 season, but struggled to make an impact during the semi-final win over Barcelona. He was substituted after 56 minutes and replaced by Dejan Stankovic.

Forward: Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o became just the fourth footballer to win consecutive Champions League titles at different clubs, having formed part of the Barcelona team that won the competition in 2008/09, before helping to eliminate his former side in the colours of Inter the following season.

Inter Milan secured the better end of the deal that saw Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic swap clubs in a mega-money exchange, with the Cameroonian a key figure in the Italian’s success under Mourinho. Eto’o scored 53 goals 102 appearances across three seasons for the Nerazzurri and won a third Champions League title with the club, having twice lifted the trophy at Barcelona.

Noughties Nines: Samuel Eto’o – The clinical Cameroonian who conquered Europe

Forward: Diego Milito

Diego Milito was the star of Inter’s treble-winning team and was at the centre of their success in the semi-final win over Barcelona.

The Argentine had a crucial role in all three goals, teeing up Wesley Sneijder and Maicon before sealing the win with a header at the far post. He was substituted with 15 minutes to go and replaced by Mario Balotelli.

Milito was named as UEFA Club Footballer of the Year for his role in Inter’s European triumph – which included both goals in the final win over Bayern Munich – and scored 30 goals in all competitions during a stunning debut season at the club.

One of the most under-appreciated goalscorers of his generation, he scored 75 goals in 171 games across five seasons at the San Siro.

Read – Noughties Nines: Diego Milito – Il Principe

Read Also – Midfield Magicians: Holland’s wonderfully gifted playmaker, Wesley Sneijder

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