In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning defender Lucio in 11th spot.
Lucio will go down in history as being one of those special players winning both a Champions League title with their club and a World Cup with their respective country.
Let’s look a bit further into Lucio’s Inter career.
Exciting signing –
In the season of 2009/10, Mourinho built a brand new squad to compete in both Europe and Italy. One of the most exciting signings at the time was the one of Lucio from Bayern Munich.
By no means did Inter break the bank to purchase Lucio as they only paid €7mil for him. The professionalism and experience he brought was exactly what Inter needed! A signing signaling that Inter would be aiming for the top.
As mentioned earlier, Lucio won a World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and played in every minute of that tournament. Playing with the likes of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Ronaldinho would’ve been something special.
He was also apart of the Leverkusen side which narrowly lost to Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final. Lucio was a standout in that match as he scored the equalizing goal at 1-1.
So there was a lot of buzz that Inter had signed a defender of his calibre. Especially since we already had someone as great as Samuel in the squad.
The partnership –
When someone mentions Lucio, they generally mention his partner in crime Samuel in the same sentence. During Inter’s treble winning season, the duo of Lucio and Samuel were formidable in defence.
O Cavalo (the horse) as Lucio was known, and Il Muro (the wall) as Samuel was known, were the perfect mix for a pair of defenders. Lucio loved getting forward in attack while Samuel stopped anything from getting past him.
On many occasions Lucio would gain possession of the ball near Inter’s box. The confidence from Lucio allowed him to run with the ball at his feet and usually start a counter attack for Inter.
As Lucio would draw in defenders, he then usually passed to Maicon sprinting out wide or found Sneijder through the middle of the pitch. This tactic worked very successfully for Inter especially in the treble winning season.
If this ever went wrong, then Samuel was generally there to clean up the mess which gave Inter great balance all over the field.
Unfortunately Samuel had some tough injuries later in his career, so Lucio didn’t get to spend as many minutes with his preferred defensive partner. The two still to this day are remembered for the defensive masterclass against Barcelona in the 2009/10 Champions League Semi Final.
The rest is history as Inter won 6 trophies with these two at the heart of the Inter defence.
After winning every trophy possible with Inter, Lucio left Inter at the start of the 2012/13 season. It was reportedly a mutual agreement between both player and club to go their separate ways.
As we know, Lucio signed with the Serie A Champions at the time – Juventus.
“If I could turn back time, I would have went somewhere else. I would have chosen a club where I would have played more. At the time I left, I had only one wish, which was to not leave Inter but unfortunately at that moment everything changed and I was almost obliged to leave.” said Lucio many years after the transfer.
Inter were on the decline so even if Lucio had stayed I don’t think it would’ve made a difference. Especially since Mourinho had left as coach a couple of seasons earlier, the players he had signed previously may have felt a bit out of place.
Considering Lucio had said ‘If Mourinho had to go to war, I’d be the first person he’d bring’, where he was never quoted saying this about any coach after. So almost felt like the passion in that Inter side had disappeared since Mourinho’s departure.
Even with that, Lucio gave everything he had for the black and blue jersey, and we thank him for every minute as an Inter player. Lucio will definitely be remembered as a player who didn’t leave anything in the tank. Always giving 110% which is more than we can ask for.
We will be visiting number 10 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 10 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?
As always Forza Inter!