Dejan Stankovic, former Inter midfielder, now coach of Red Star, spoke to the Gazzetta dello Sport about the Scudetto fight and the moment in the Nerazzurri’s house: “The derby? Nothing is like this match, it’s a concert at the Scala of football. For someone like me who grew up at Red Star, the Serbian derby is a piece of my heart. I experienced it in Rome where people talk for weeks, but in Milan the derby is worldwide, it’s a show: I’ve won some, I’ve lost some, but they all thrilled me”.
WHICH GOAL ARE YOU MOST ATTACHED TO IN THE DERBY? – “The magical 2009-10 season, 0-4 and my goal: a perfect game, the start of the ride. But in 2003-04 I scored in the first derby played straight from a corner: strange things always happen in games like that. By the way, we came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2. In 2006-07 I put it into the crossbar in a spectacular 4-3 draw: they nearly came back then too.
ABOUT IBRAHIMOVIC – “I’m not objective when I talk about Zlatan, our friendship goes beyond the shirt. He is not a man, he is a lion who fights against everything and everyone. He teaches us that nothing is impossible. I don’t know what he’ll do, but if his head and physique are good he’ll continue to make a difference. The Slavic proverb applies to him: you have to play until the ball deflates.
INTER ‘JUGOSLAVA‘ – “Two Croats, a Serb, a Slovenian and a Bosnian: friends with Balkan roots. I’m very attached to Kolarov, but Dzeko too seems to be getting younger now: nobody remembers Lukaku now… Perisic is pushing hard and Brozo is the engine of everything. Handa is the legend of my son Filip, who is now working his way up to Volendam in Holland. I know Onana will come to Milan, but it will be hard to take Samir’s place.
ON SATURDAY’S DERBY – “Last year Inter had this pace too, but now the team is even stronger: it runs at a very high pace, it’s happy, with a spectacular and organised game, with confidence. Usually in derbies it’s difficult to say who is the favourite, but this time…”.
ON SIMONE INZAGHI – “He’s gone beyond all expectations, but I’m not surprised because he knows how to take over in difficult moments. Like the first time at Lazio from the Primavera and like after Bielsa’s non-arrival: when it’s tough, he believes and conveys confidence. He’s also added freedom and imagination with Calha and Dzeko. Now, however, Bastoni makes the difference: what role does he play, by the way? He’s everywhere, with an intelligence rarely seen.
ON BARELLA AND CALHANOGLU – “Calha is more of a modern 10, with a Sneijder-like shot. I hope not to offend him, but I have something more in common with Barella: grit, heart, and the same spirit in every game. His absence against Liverpool was a huge blow, but this team has no limits. On the contrary, the English fear us more than we do: if you underestimate this Inter team, you’ll burn yourself.