In the relatively short time that I have been writing for Upper Deck Chatter I have written several stories with headlines that are close to my heart, none more so than this one.
Earlier this week, longtime Inter owner and president Massimo Moratti agreed to sell a 70% stack in his beloved team to Indonesian businessman Erik Thohir. Thohir and Moratti have been negotiating the sale of Inter for many months now. This whole situation started several years ago when Moratti admitted he could no longer single-handedly fund the club and would look to bring on an investor. This eventually led Moratti to Thohir, which ended up with Moratti eventually giving in his ultimate goal of regaining control, and selling 70% of his majority stake to Thohir.
Erik Thohir has a relatively long history in sports ownership. He is currently the majority owner of MLS side DC United and has also held an ownership stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Thohir is currently in the process of attempting to take DC United out of RFK Stadium and into their own soccer specific stadium. This is something that many Interisti are hoping he can also bring to Inter. It has long been rumored that Moratti has been looking to move Inter away from San Siro and into their own stadium; much like rivals Juventus did recently. One of the main talking points around Thohir coming in was the possibility of him funding the construction of a new stadium for Inter.
One of the most talked about aspects of Thohir’s purchase of the team is how he will handle the transfer market. He has made it known that his first dealing will be to significantly lower the teams debt and get assimilated in Italian soccer before he begins to spend heavily in the transfer market. There are some who believe Inter will become the next Manchester City or PSG and spend heavily every window to build up as much star talent as possible. This is something I would not want to see from Thohir. As much as the success of City and PSG appeals to Interisti, we all know that we have to spend smart and not just for the sake of spending. Thohir has brought in an extraordinary team of financial experts that will over see the finances of the club from day 1 but it remains to be seen how financially flexible he will be. According to a post for goal.com, Fabrizio Romano estimates that the most realistic time for Inter to become significant spenders in the transfer market is 2016.
As I have said multiple times in the past, Massimo Moratti IS Inter. Moratti is one of those rare owners who possess a true love for the team that they own. Inter has been in Moratti’s life since he was a child. Moratti’s father Angelo was Inter’s president for 13 years in their “Golden Era” from 1955-68. From that time until today, Inter has been a major part of Moratti’s life. Moratti became President for the first time in 1994 and held that role until Inter legend Giacinto Facchetti came in during 2006 (Moratti regained his role as President after Facchetti’s death in 2006).
Moratti was extremely reluctant to sell his majority stake in Inter until the very end. This was evident in the length of the negotiations with Thohir and how the final deal has reportedly been agreed. As I first learned from Max De Luca over at SanSiroHeros.com, Moratti and Thohir have reportedly agreed upon a clause in the deal that would allow Moratti to buy the club back should his expectations for the future not be met by Thohir. I can assure you, there is no other owner in any sport anywhere in the world that would include such a clause in such a big deal. As De Luca stated in his article “Most owners would take the money and run, cash out with a big, fat smile on their face with not one iota of remorse.” With how much the sale of the team has affect Interisti worldwide, it is very possible that it has affected Moratti even more. It is also reported that Thohir has given Moratti the choice of remaining as Inter president. Moratti says he is not sure if he will stay on as President, but for the medium term he will stay on as a partner to Thohir.
Moratti has led Inter through of the most turbulent times in the history of the club. In the 1990’s Inter was a shadow of it’s former self, although they were consistently playing in European competitions, Inter failed to win a Scudetto in the ’90’s. Moratti is also the first (and still only) owner to lead his to a “tripletta” The 2009-10 season was a season I know I will remember for the rest of my life. That Inter team featured Julio Cesar, Maicon, Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Sneijder, Eto’o, Milito and of course Jose Mourinho. That season Inter won their 5th of 5 consecutive Scudetti along with the Coppa Italia and, biggest of all, the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the final in Madrid. It was always Moratti’s ultimate goal to bring Champions League glory back to Inter for the first time since his father was owner. That season was memorable for several reasons, but the words spoken by Roberto Scarpini at the end of the 2010 Champions League final defines Moratti’s reign with Inter and will always be stuck in my mind “CAMPIONI D’EUROPA CAMPIONI D’EUROPA! SCUDETTO, COPPA ITALIA MA SOPRATUTTO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!” (Champions of Europe, Champions of Europe, Champions of Europe, Scudetto, Italian Cup but most of all Champions League).
These words truly come from the heart..
Massimo Moratti is the only Inter president I have ever known. From the day I watched my first game until now there has been 1 constant with Inter, Massimo Moratti. I’ve always said the day Moratti sells Inter will be the saddest day in my life as a sports fan and it truly is.
Thank you for all the memories Moratti, you have shown us what a true owner is. You will always be one of us, always a part of the Inter family. For today and for always..FORZA INTER!
If interested check below for 2 articles on Moratti that I found to be extraordinarily well done.
Fabrizio Romano of Goal.com
Max De Luca of San Siro Heros