In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning midfielder Esteban Cambiasso in 3rd spot.
Esteban was magnificent for Inter during his time with the Nerazzurri. In the span of 10 seasons at the club, Cambiasso made a total of 420 appearances in all competitions winning 15 trophies all together. Thus cementing his place in Inter’s history forever!
Let’s look a bit further at Cambiasso’s Inter career.
It’s unbelievable to think that Real Madrid let him go for free, but Cambiasso’s contract was not renewed at Madrid. Instead, Inter decided to sign the up-and-coming Argentine on a free transfer.
At the time Cambiasso was starting to be included regularly in the squad for his national team. It was the perfect signing for Inter, as it then meant that Veron could be partnered with Cambiasso for better balance in the midfield.
In Cambiasso’s first start for the club as a defensive midfielder, he provided an assist for Recoba. Unfortunately in the very next match, Cambiasso was rested for Edgar Davids who was really struggling finding any form.
It didn’t take long before Cambiasso was back in the starting side though. In his second start for the club, he scored his first goal for Inter and from there Cambiasso became a regular starter.
He would make a total of 30 appearances in the league that debut season and go on to secure that defensive midfield position for the rest of his Inter career.
The transformation –
In 2005, Cambiasso won his first individual accolade winning the “Pirata d’Oro”. This award is given to Inter’s Player of the Year voted by the club.
It didn’t take long before Cambiasso transformed into the world class player we all knew he could become. With his performances bossing the midfield, Inter went on to win their first Serie A title in 17 years.
This was followed years by years of dominance in Italy, as Cambiasso was the key link between Inter’s defence and midfield.
After a stunning year in 2009/10 where Inter won the treble, Cambiasso was nominated for the World XI team which comprises of the best players in the world for the year. Cambiasso was brilliant in the treble season and became a pivotal point in distributing the ball throughout the midfield.
Even though Cambiasso was rarely a goal scorer, he did have a special moment in the Champions League. In the home leg against Chelsea of the last 16 fixture, Cambiasso scored the match winner. This goal was crucial as it meant that Chelsea were unable to park the bus in the second leg as Chelsea needed the win.
Story I remember years ago –
There was word of a certain story which came from the semi-finals of the 2009/10 Champions League. As we know, Inter faced up against Barcelona and it was a really physical affair.
Apparently before the first leg started, the Argentine coach at the time Diego Maradona called both Cambiasso and Zanetti. It was less than two months before the 2010 World Cup was due to kick off.
In the said phone call, Maradona told both Inter players to take it easy on Messi otherwise they would not make the world cup squad. It’s hard to believe this type of thing could be true.
As history would show, Messi would be shut out of both legs as Cambiasso and Zanetti played tremendous matches to defeat Barcelona. History would also show that both Cambiasso and Zanetti were not called up for Maradona’s world cup squad.
I heard about this story, and it blew my mind. It showed me how much Cambiasso loved Inter at the time. He was willing to do everything for his club, even though it meant missing out for his country.
Cambiasso was a special player, and one who we were privileged to have at Inter. In 2020 he was inducted into Inter’s Hall of Fame. Very well deserved!
We will be visiting number 2 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 2 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?
As always, Forza Inter!