Do Not Inter

Despite the reportedly family-like rivalry of Milan and Inter as cugini, or cousins, players who cross the Milan divide are typically more than maligned by the rival team. Milan fans are quick to point out all of the players who successfully crossed that line from Inter to Milan, including Seedorf, Pirlo, and our current legend, Ibrahimovic. However, there is a big jump up in class, character, and success when you move from the wrong side of the tracks to Milan. Those traits often result in an improved career, more trophies, and also some self-respect. The same is not true, however, when people take the step down from Milan to the sewers that run black and blue. History demonstrates an important lesson: Do not Inter.

Losing your career and your dignity in one move is tough

With Calhanoglu acknowledging his agreement to join Inter yesterday, and reportedly taking medicals and signing the contract today, I wonder if he understands the snakepit he is stepping into? Maybe it is a translation issue, but if he had done his homework, he would know that very few players have improved their careers when leaving Milan to go to Inter. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Some of the most notable players who lived to regret it over the past 25 years or so include:

Francesco Coco (Milan 1995-2002, Inter 2002-2007)

One of the reasons neutrals still laugh at Inter today (other than the obvious reasons,) he began in Milan's youth teams and was promoted in 1995 as a promising left back. He was, however, loaned out for most of the seven years he was on Milan's books. In a genius move by Milan, he was swapped for some guy called Clarence Seedorf in 2002. Coco began by first losing the Champions League semifinal to the proper side of Milan, then losing his career altogether. Gone, but not... oh, wait, I'm pretty sure he's pretty much forgotten.

That shirt can even weigh a legend like Baggio down

Roberto Baggio (Milan 1995-97, Inter 1998-2000)

Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, he might also be the most forgiven player to have crossed fan divides and still be so beloved. But once again, Inter got the wrong end of his career. After winning the Scudetto with Milan in 1996, he left for Bologna at the end of the following season and played there a year. He made the mistake of returning to Inter and the wrong side of Milano, where he was more ponytail, less divine.

Edgar Davids (Milan 1996-97, Inter 2004-05)

Most people don't even remember Davids playing for Milan, largely because he really did nothing at the club. With six years in between at Juventus and then at Barcelona, though, he did manage to help Juve lose the 2003 Champions League final to Milan before switching to Inter and doing even less there (if that's possible.) His three year contract was cut short after only a year as a Biscione.

When he could still see without the glasses, literally and metaphorically

Guly, or Andres Guglielminpietro (Milan 1998-2001, Inter 2001-04)

Perhaps less memorable than his Milan teammates like Weah, Bierhoff, Donadoni, and more, he helped them win the Scudetto with Milan in 1999. After three years as a Rossoneri, he flushed his career down the toilet via Inter for a three year submersion beginning in 2001.

Thomas Helveg (Milan 1998-2003, Inter 2004-2005)

Before our Viking defender Kjaer wore the Milan jersey, a Danish player called Helveg did. In the red and black, he won the Scudetto, a Coppa Italia and THAT Champions League trophy in 2003 (albeit on the bench.) He followed that up with a completely forgettable year at the other side of Milan, which basically led to the demise of the rest of his career.

Fact: Danish players wear red. Not blue.

Antonio Cassano (Milan Jan. 2011-June 2012, Inter 2012-2013)

Like a diabetic in a pastry factory, Cassano jumped ship from Milan and accepted the Inter Ultras’ disgusting invitation to join their filthy club. He won his first and only Scudetto with Milan, and in his second season suffered a heart problem on the plane back from a game. Milan doctors saved his life, after which Inter Ultras showed a shameless banner mocking both his heart problem and Gattuso's eye problem. Cassano's reaction was to join them, where his career tanked, never to surface again. He also earned himself the lifelong title of "Uomo di M**da," which is honestly offensive to the feces.

Cassano mistook a horrific lack of humanity for an invitation, Inter was perfect for him

On the other side, only a couple of players have played for Milan and then gone to Inter and improved in their Nerazzuri years. One was Patrick Vieira, who had a solid ten years at both Arsenal and then Juventus in between. Not so ironically, his one year stint at Juventus resulted in their Scudetto being awarded on paper to his future club, Inter, in the Calciopoli scandal. This, in spite of the fact that Inter finished third behind both Juve and Milan that season, in which Inter were later shown to have influenced referees more than any other club. Vieira spends these days still getting everything wrong as a puppet pundit on International television.

Another player was Vieira's teammate, Hernan Crespo, who, like a hobbit, went There and Back Again. He played a year at Inter, then went to Chelsea for a season. They loaned him first to Milan for a year, then he went back to Chelsea for a year, then was loaned to Inter for two years. Technically, his goal per appearance ratio was better at Milan, and he almost won the Champions League with us, scoring two of the three goals in THAT final in 2005. And in fact, Inter bought him outright for his final season, which he spent most of sitting on the bench, scoring only two goals in only 14 appearances. So technically, Inter's seasons may have been better when he went back, but his were not. 

This one way street took Materazzi to the hospital

On the other hand, the list of those who came from Inter to Milan and improved their career includes many more, even some Milan legends: 

Maurizio Ganz (now coach of the Milan women's team)
Clarence Seedorf (Milan definitely got the better deal in the swap for Coco)
Andrea Pirlo
Dario Simic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (now on his second stint at Milan)
Giuseppe Favalli
Giampaolo Pazzini (ironically included in the Cassano deal)
Mario Balotelli (bonus points for wearing Milan socks to Inter training)
Matias Silvestre
Leonardo Bonucci (yes,1 appearance for Inter during the paper Scudetto year counts)

It was a Derby, not a job interview, Stupido

The moral of this story is that there is a one way street in Milano, and it only flows to A.C. Milan. Those who ignore all of the history and the signs are sealing their own fate. Had Calhanoglu warned anyone that he was considering doing something so stupid and impetuous, we could have told him that he was committing career suicide. But he didn't tell anyone until there were only nine days left on his contract. Milan will be hard-pressed to find a player of his skills for the wages Inter claim that they will be able to pay him, and he will also be crashing out of the Champions League in November. That he left on a free transfer is an additional burning of a bridge that is already self-consuming.

Whether he made that choice based on the ridiculous and ignorant abuse from Milan fans all of these years, or because Pioli kept shoving him out onto the wing despite performing amazingly in his natural position (and "going missing" when he wasn't,) or for the measly 12-20% more money that he was offered as a snake, only time and a few truth-telling interviews will tell. It's convenient that he doesn't have to pack up his family and leave Milano with a new baby. Plus, who knows what other dynamics he faced in the Milan team or with management? Of course, he is no stranger to failure, one only needs to witness his singing and dancing career. But there are consequences for those who ignore the signs, so don't let the door hit you on the way out, Hakan. You'll learn soon enough that you do not Inter.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's "The Snakepit"

Do Not Inter Do Not Inter Reviewed by Elaine on 12:35 AM Rating: 5
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