In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning midfielder Dejan Stankovic in 14th spot.
Stankovic is one of the greatest ever Serbian footballers in history and he was also an integral part of Mourinho’s treble winning side.
Deki would finish his Inter career with 15 trophies spanning across 326 appearances in the beloved black and blue jersey. Definitely a fan favourite and a player loved by even neutrals, as he scored some wonder goals.
Let’s look a bit further into Deki’s Inter career.
How it began –
At the start of the 2000’s, Stankovic was playing at Lazio. This is where the decline of Lazio began as they were forced for financial reasons to start selling their best players.
It would take a couple of seasons before Stankovic would begin looking for a new club. It wasn’t an easy decision as Deki had won 6 trophies with Lazio, and he had become an important component of the Lazio side.
There was initial contact with Juventus and apparently some of the contractual paperwork had been signed by the clubs. Although, Stankovic never signed anything himself, as he reportedly only wanted Inter.
The correct decision was made, as Inter would sign Stankovic from Lazio midway through the 2003/04 season. Juventus would miss out, and the rest is history as Stankovic would go on to have an incredibly successful career at Inter.
Deki doing Deki things!
A goal from long distance was never a fluke when it came to Stankovic. This must’ve been something he practiced endlessly day and night.
The power and accuracy from Stankovic’s shots were something to behold. If you were never lucky enough to watch Stankovic back in the day, I recommend heading over to YouTube and watching his best goals compilation.
For me there are 5 goals which stand out in Stankovic’s Inter career.
I remember playing back in the day at the park and you would brag to your friends after you scored an “Olimpico”. I never saw it in a game until I saw Deki do it. For those who aren’t familiar, an Olimpico is when you score directly from a corner kick.
Flashback to February 2004, it’s Stankovic 5th game for his new club Inter and the opponent is A.C Milan (who would go on to win the title).
Adriano would take a loose touch on a ball in the box before the Milan defenders would clear out for a corner. There were shouts of handball from the Milan players, but the corner kick would be awarded. Up steps Stankovic for the corner, and he puts a delightful curling ball into the box.
The ball misses everyone as it skids off the turf inside the back post for a spectacular goal. The first of Deki’s Inter career, with many more phenomenal goals to come.
In the 2006/07 season, Stankovic produced some absolute brilliance as he played all Serie A matches. There were many stunning goals in this season but the one that stands out was against Chievo at the San Siro.
Stankovic collects the ball about 25 yards outside the edge of the box. Straight away in his mind I’m sure he thought shoot as he takes one touch forward and unleashes a rocket.
The ball bent from left to right as it sailed through the air into the top corner. As soon as it left the boot I’m sure Stankovic knew it was in. He turned, took the jersey off and started yelling while celebrating.
It was a bit like that Russell Crowe moment in Gladiator when Crowe says to the crowd at the Coliseum “Are you not entertained?!”. Iconic!
The treble winning season brings to me to my favourite Stankovic goal. The Genoa goalkeeper goes to clear the ball aiming towards the sideline around halfway.
Since it was a miss hit, Stankovic throws his leg out at full stretch and strikes the ball from about 50 yards out. The goalkeeper stands no chance as he’s completely out of position and there was way too much power on the shot.
The ball bounces once just outside the 6yard box and then crashes into the back net. Very memorable as Stankovic runs to the Inter fans and celebrates with them through the glass barricade.
La Bomba 2.0 –
Only a year later we would have an upgrade of the goal scored against Genoa. This time in the quarter final of the 2010/11 Champions League against Schalke.
Manuel Neuer would clear the ball from Milito’s path outside of the box to alleviate any danger. However, even with the ball around half way it was still not safe as Deki would latch onto the clearance. Striking the ball first time on the volley and sending the ball straight over Neuer’s head.
This goal is still replayed to this day and it goes down as Stankovic’s greatest goals in many people’s opinion. It’s one of the only times the German goalkeeper was embarrassed in his entire career and that’s thanks to the legend Dejan Stankovic.
A truly legendary player from that special generation for Inter.
We will be visiting number 13 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 13 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?
As always Forza Inter!