Home Analysis #5 – Walter “Il Muro” Samuel

#5 – Walter “Il Muro” Samuel

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In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning defender Walter Samuel in 5th spot.

“The Wall” as Samuel was better known had some wonderful seasons at Inter. His defending style and ability puts him as the highest rated CB in this countdown.

Let’s explore Samuel’s Inter career in further detail.

Joins that long list of players –

I don’t know what it is about Real Madrid and Inter, but every player we sign from them turns out to be fantastic for Inter. Many players such as Cambiasso, Sneijder and Zamorano lived out stellar Inter careers after playing in Madrid.

Samuel would be included in this list, especially after he failed to impress in Madrid after his only season there. The deal was worth €16mil, and Il Muro was back in Serie A. Previously, Samuel had a somewhat successful time at Roma where he won a Scudetto with them.

Fortunately, Samuel would exceed most peoples expectations. In fact, he will go down as one of the best defenders to ever play in the black and blue.

He brings fortune – 

The physique Walter brought to the team was exactly what Inter were searching for. In Samuel’s first appearance with Inter, he would win a trophy (Supercoppa Italiana) as Inter defeated Juventus in extra time.

A successful year was upon Inter with Samuel in the defence. The quality of Samuel ensured he was a starter for Inter when available. This would mean that Cordoba was pushed to right-back, with Samuel and Materazzi the preferred choice.

Although as the season went by, Mancini decided to use Samuel and Cordoba as his first choice combination. We would see Materazzi benched meaning that Zanetti would be transferred to that right-back spot.

The season finished with Inter crowned Champions for the first time in 17 years. It would be a successful campaign as Samuel would go on to make 27 appearances in Serie A winning three trophies that season.

Great comeback story –

For the next three of seasons, Samuel was struck down by multiple injuries. This meant that we only saw Il Muro in 42 of the possible 102 matches. I’m sure life was difficult for Samuel during this time as every time he seemed to recover, a few weeks later he was injured again.

The biggest injury was the complete knee reconstruction which forced Samuel out of the game from January to November 2008. Even after all of these setbacks, Samuel did not give up and wanted to prove himself to Inter’s new manager Jose Mourinho in 2008/09.

In Samuel’s comeback game on matchday 10 against Udinese, he played the full 90 minutes which he would’ve gained ample amounts of confidence from. Although, more minor setback with injuries throughout the season as he only managed 17 appearances from 38 matches that season.

The next year (2009/10) would be Samuel’s most successful with appearances, honours and trophies. The treble season where Samuel was instrumental in Inter’s defence with his partner in crime Lucio.

These two players built a legacy at Inter which will be remembered forever. The perfect defensive partners as Samuel stopped anything from getting past him and Lucio loved going on runs with the ball at his feet starting from the defence.

The season would finish with Samuel making 42 appearances in all competitions, winning the treble and also being awarded Serie A Defender of the Year. It was a dream come true for Samuel who had definitely been through some very tough times.

Favourite moment –

It is one of the Inter’s greatest ever comebacks, and Samuel is the hero in this story.

Let’s set the scene for this one. It’s Matchday 19 of the 2009/10 and Inter is playing away to Siena. Siena are in last position and Inter’s in first, so it’s expected that Inter will come out and win at least 5-0.

Unfortunately things don’t go to plan and it looks like Inter might even lose this match. It’s the 87th minute and the score is 3-2 in Siena’s favour. Next thing you know, Sneijder puts a swirling freekick into the back of the net and it’s game on.

In the 93 minute, I don’t know why but Samuel is camped on the edge of the box. He receives a perfect ball from Pandev putting him in on goal. Samuel takes one touch, sticks the head down and then drills the ball into the back of the net.

A remarkable comeback as Samuel takes the jersey off and starts sprinting to the corner post. The unlikely saviour in Walter Samuel being the man to secure the win as the match finishes 4-3 to Inter.

Who’s next?

We will be visiting number 4 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 4 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?

As always Forza Inter!