The draw for the Champions League drew two very different pictures. On the one hand there are four ‘superpowers’, especially in the economic section. The winner of Real Madrid-Chelsea will face the winner of Manchester City-Bayern in the semifinals.
Instead, on the theoretical ‘weak side’ you draw a great opportunity to make history with two heats which, however, They maintain many incentives: Inter-Benfica and Milan-Naples.
A bond that forces us to take a look at the past. Inter and Benfica have met only once in the European Cup, in the 1965 final. The ‘Nerazzurri’, with Luis Suárez and Joaquín Peiró in their ranks, they prevailed 1-0 thanks to a goal by the Brazilian Jair through Sandro Mazzola.
In this way they amplified the curse of Béla Guttmann. Benfica, since the farewell of the Hungarian coach, They have not won a European final again… and have played in eight. The latest, from the Europa League, in 2014.
Inter, for its part, had never been so close to the Champions League final since they won the treble in 2010 with José Mourinho. The rooms, which also arrived in 2010-11, had been his limit. Simone Inzaghi is hoping to break that barrier with a team that is 18 points behind Napoli in Serie A.
A tie that transcends sport. Milan and Napoli will transfer the traditional North-South rivalry to Europe for the first time. A cross which, like for Inter-Benfica, forces us to look to the past. In the late 80s, in particular, when Maradona’s Napoli stole two ‘Scudetti’ (1987 and 1990) from the almighty Milan of Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard.
That ‘Naples’ also made history in Europe. He won the UEFA Cup in 1989, the only European title in his portfolio. They touch their first championship in 33 years!!! behind the lethal duo formed by Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen, who however do not give up anything in Europe. “They are the most complete team,” says Guardiola. Spalletti, however, rejects that label.
Milan, for its part, wants to relaunch ‘old laurels’. Only Real Madrid (14) have more Champions League than the Rossoneri (7). It has rained a lot, yes, since the last one: they won it in 2007 against Liverpool (2-1), with Ancelotti on the bench. He doesn’t have great personalities, but Pioli has built a big wall. They won the Scudetto last season after an 11-year drought and returned to the Champions League quarter-finals after an 11-year absence.