Friday, May 27, 2016

When Calcio Ruled the Football World-A Personal Journey-Part 10 (1991/92)

The 1991/92 season was the first season since 1984 not to feature Diego Maradona. Normally, he would be the center of attention, for his exploits on the field as well as his antics off the field.
With his suspension and unlikely return, the focus during the summer was shifted to player transfers and coaching appointments.
After a disappointing season, Napoli President had sent Albertino Bigon packing. His replacement was a fresh young manager named Claudio Ranieri, who had done well the previous season with newly promoted Cagliari.
Napoli had retained its two Brazilian stars (Careca and Alemao). In the absence of Maradona, a foreign player slot was open. Napoli opted for the rising French sweeper Laurent Blanc to solidify its defense.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 34, November 1991
(French sweeper Laurent Blanc being presented at Napoli)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 34, November 1991
(French sweeper Laurent Blanc at Napoli)

Maradona’s absence also paved the way for the brilliant Gianfranco Zola to fully assume playmaking duties in a side now captained by Ciro Ferrara.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 35, December 1991
(Napoli’s Gianfranco Zola)

Defending Champions Sampdoria (managed by Vujadin Boskov) had chosen to stick with the squad that had won them the title.
The disappointing Soviet Star Alexei Mikhailichenko had left and joined Rangers Glasgow. In his place, Sampdoria brought in Brazilian midfielder Paulo Silas from relegated Cesena.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 2, Issue 12, December 1991
(Sampdoria’s Paulo Silas)

The other two foreigners, the ageing Brazilian veteran Toninho Cerezo and (now independent) Slovenian Srecko Katanec remained on the books.
Defender Dario Bonetti joined his brother Ivano from Juventus and ex-teenage hope Renato Buso joined from Fiorentina and Alessandro Orlando arrived from Udinese.
The striking tandem of Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini, on their final season together, led the squad with the new revamped Champions League on their mind.
After the previous season’s nightmare, Juventus’ hierarchy (The Agnellis) decided to go back to the safety and successes of the past.
Former Manager from the glory years Giovanni Trapattoni was re-appointed after five years away at Internazionale Milano.
As part of the deal, the newly acquired Dino Baggio (from Torino) was loaned to Inter for one season.
Trapattoni would be joined with Former executive Giampiero Boniperti, back from retirement.

Photo From: World Soccer, March 1992
(Giovanni Trapattoni, back in charge of Juventus)

The disastrous season had convinced the management that defensive stability was the order of the day.
German midfielder Thomas Haessler was sold to AS Roma (in addition defender Marco De Marchi was also loaned to them for one season).
Germany defensive pair of Stefan Reuter and Jurgen Kohler arrived from Bayern Munich. Bari defender Massimo Carrera also arrived to stabilize the leaky defense.
Juventus chose to retain its Brazilian defender Julio Cesar.

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2369, September 3, 1991
(Germany and former Bayern Munich duo Stefan Reuter and Jurgen Kohler at Juventus)

Goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi (still suspended for the early months of the season) arrived from AS Roma as the long-term replacement for goalkeeper and Captain Stefano Tacconi.
During the season, Antonio Conte also joined from Lecce. The current National Team manager would go on to become a vital component of Juventus into the next decade.
It was hoped that Trapattoni could transform and improve the performances of record signing from previous season Roberto Baggio and the striker pairing of Pierluigi Casiraghi and especially Salvatore Schillaci.
Internazionale Milano appointed former Lucchese Manager Corrado Orrico to lead the squad. Many saw parallels with Arrigo Sacchi who had set Serie A alight coming from the Serie B few seasons prior.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Number 3, January 15-21, 1992
(Internazionale Milano manager Corrado Orrico)

The Inter management had to deal with a mini crisis as German star Lothar Matthaus wished to transfer to Real Madrid. In the end he was convinced to remain.
Winger Davide Fontolan after missing a full season through injury was now operational and almost like a new signing.
Massimo Ciocci also returned from loan after an excellent season at Cesena.
Another key acquisition was that of the former Olympic International Stefano Desideri from AS Roma.
Inter also acquired a new German (former Eastern) International, Matthias Sammer from Stuttgart.
They had wanted to include him that season and to do so, they were forcing Andreas Brehme to join newly promoted Verona to open up a foreigner’s spot.
Brehme refused Verona’s offer and Matthaus and Jurgen Klinnsman stood by their teammate and forced the management’s hand. In the end, Sammer was loaned back to Stuttgart for one more season.
Their acquisition of another German player went somewhat unnoticed. A then-unknown Oliver Bierhoff was signed from Salzburg in Austria and immediately loaned to newly promoted Ascoli. He would endure relegation and the Serie B before making his name at Udinese and eventually joining Inter’s cross town rivals AC Milan.
As far as AC Milan, after four years of the Sacchi regime, Club owner Silvio Berlusconi had appointed Fabio Capello as Manager (who was somewhat of an unknown quantity as a manager at the time).

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, September 18-24, 1991
(Fabio Capello, the new Manager of AC Milan)

The player personnel was largely unchanged. Milan had retained their Dutch trio (Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard), despite the fact that many had written them off after a disappointing season.
For much of the transfer season, there were many reports about their impending replacements with the in-vogue Red Star Belgrade trio (Robert Prosinecki, Dejan Savicevic and Darko Pancev).
In the end Berlusconi chose to persevere with players (foreign and domestic) that even Sacchi felt were finished (especially Gullit).
Since the end of the previous season Sebastiano Rossi had been elevated as the starting goalkeeper. AC Milan had acquired Italian Olympic squad goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli as heir apparent and future goalkeeper (The retention of Rossi as starting goalkeeper, despite constant competition would be a running theme in Milan for nearly a decade).
Defender Enzo Gambaro arrived from Parma (with striker Massimo Agostini going in the opposite direction).
Veteran striker Aldo Serena left Inter and joined Milan (his second spell) as an extra attacking cover, along with Giovanni Cornacchini from Piacenza.
Young midfielder Demetrio Albertini was also recalled from loan (at Padova) to start ahead of the ageing Carlo Ancelloti.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Number 3, January 15-21, 1992
(AC Milan’s new star Demetrtio Albertini)

Diego Fuser also returned from his one season loan at Fiorentina. Zvonimir Boban was also signed from war-torn Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. Though, he was unable to play for them that season, he was seen as a future Milan star in the making.
As far as other teams, they were some noteworthy acquisitions.
English midfielder David Platt joined Bari from Aston Villa. Many questioned his move to a small team, but clearly he was eyeing bigger and better things for the future. In addition Australian Frank Farina joined him at Bari.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 3, Issue 8, August 1992
(Englishman David Platt at Bari)

Belgian Star Enzo Scifo, who had endured a nightmare of a season at Inter (1987/88), had been rehabilitated in his spell on loan in the French League at Auxerre. He made a triumphant return to the Serie A by joining Torino as a more mature and experienced player.
In fact Trappatoni had wanted to re-integrate him at Inter, but Matthaus had been firmly opposed.
Scifo was joined at Torino by Brazilian striker Walter Casagrande (from Ascoli). Emiliano Mondonico’s squad who had qualified for the UEFA Cup still retained the disappointing Spanish midfielder Rafael Martin Vasquez and the excellent rising star Gianluigi Lentini.

Photo From: World Soccer, December 1991
(Enzo Scifo, November 3, 1991, Torino 0-Internazionale Milano 0)

Nevio Scala’s surprising Parma held on to the nucleus of the squad that had qualified for the UEFA Cup and also held on to its foreign trio of Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel, Belgian defender Georges Grun and Swedish forward Tomas Brolin.
They acquired two future Internationals Antonio Bennarivo (from Padova) and Alberto Di Chiara (from Fiorentina).
President Calisto Tanzi’s Parmalat backed club had surprised most in their first season and now were in the beginning stages of developing a future great side. Young striker Alessandro Melli was seen as a key ingredient to their future prospects.
Genoa’s Osvaldo Bagnoli, another surprising European qualifier, had held on to its assets to make an impact in Europe.
Already more than satisfied with foreign trio (Brazilian defender Branco, Uruguay striker Carlos Aguilera and Czechoslovakia’s Tomas Skuhravy), they also resisted offers from AC Milan and Juventus who had wanted to enroll Stefano Eranio and Gennaro Ruotolo respectively.
AS Roma welcomed German midfielder Thomas Haessler but sold German defender Thomas Berthold to Bayern Munich.
Ambitious Roman neighbors Lazio, had to wait an extra year for Englishman Paul Gascoigne to heal from his serious injury and join them.
German midfielder Thomas Doll joined his compatriot Karl-Heinz Riedle from SV Hamburg, much against the wishes of his National Team Manager Berti Vogts who had wanted him to stay in the Bundesliga and improve further.
Fiorentina, still managed for the time being by Brazilian Sebastiano Lazaroni, had transferred disappointing Romanian star Marius Lacatus to Real Oviedo in Spain. Brazil’s Iomar Mazinho had joined his compatriot Carlos Dunga from Lecce after their relegation.
Initially, La Viola had signed Argentina’s Diego Latorre from Boca Juniors.
Another Argentinean Antonio Mohamed had also been signed from Huracan. In the end both remained in Argentina and were loaned to Boca Juniors.
Instead, Fiorentina signed Argentinean striker Gabriel Batistuta from Boca Juniors after his display in the Copa America during the summer.
Newly promoted side Foggia and their manager Zdenek Zeman were to become the surprise package of the season. The team played an attacking game by employing zonal tactics. The Serie A would be introduced to the then-unknown attacking trident of Francesco Baiano, Giuseppe Signori and Roberto Rambaudi.
In addition the foreign trio of Soviets Igor Shalimov, Igor Kolivanov and Romanian defender Dan Petrescu would also adapt well.

Photo From: Calciatori 1991-92, Campionato Italiano Serie A, Panini
(Foggia’s Soviet midfielder Igor Shalimov)

Not much was expected of the other promoted teams. Verona had signed Yugoslavian star Dragan Stojkovic on loan from Olympique Marseille and Romanian Florin Raducioiu From Bari, but were otherwise not adequate for Serie A survival.
The same could be said of Ascoli and Cremonese. Ascoli had acquired Oliver Bierhoff on loan from Inter and Belgium’s Patrick Vervoort, while Cremonese still depended on Argentina’s Gustavo Dezotti.
The season kicked off on September 1st and the defending champions Sampdoria showed signs of their troubles ahead by losing at Cagliari (2-3), for whom the Uruguayan trio (Daniel Fonseca, Enzo Francescolli and Jose Herrera) would once again have a positive season.
The key match up of that first day was between Juventus and Fiorentina in Turin. Despite not impressing much, Juventus picked up the points from a Casiraghi goal. Bearing the hallmarks of Trapattoni’s influence, Juventus were solid in defense and hard to break down and could grind out results. 

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2369, September 3, 1991
(Salvatore Schillaci and Carlos Dunga, September 1, 1991, Juventus 1-Fiorentina 0)

The first table-topping encounter in the League, took place only two weeks later on Matchday 3 (September 15th), when Juventus hosted Capello’s Milan.
Milan, just like Juventus, had won its two first encounters. It was still to early to tell Capello’s effect on the team in comparison with the Sacchi years; however, this match gave an indication on their potential.
Milan were faced with a crisis leading up to the match. The day before the match it was reported that Capello had dropped Gullit from the starting lineup.
Silvio Berlusconi had to personally intervene for Gullit to be re-instated.
In the match itself, Juventus went ahead early through another Casiraghi goal. However, Milan did not give up and continued pressing throughout the match for an equalizer. Juventus went on the defensive and just were trying to hold on to the result.
Milan seemed headed for a defeat when in injury time, a ball deflected by Massimo Carrera handed them the equalizer. It was a fair reward for their efforts and perhaps it gave them the boost they needed at that time to kick off their season.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, September 18-24, 1991
(Demetrio Albertini and Salvatore Schillaci, September 15, 1991, Juventus 1-AC Milan 1)

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, September 18-24, 1991
(Mauro Tassoti and Pierluigi Casiraghi, September 15, 1991, Juventus 1-AC Milan 1)

On the same day, in Bari’s home match vs. Sampdoria (1-1), their Brazilian star Joao Paulo suffered a terrible injury that ruled him out for the season.
Bari’s form dipped from that moment on that would eventually lead to relegation for a team that had seemed an outside bet for a UEFA Cup place after the arrival of Platt.
Corrado Orrico’s Inter faced its first big test when they faced the defending Champions Sampdoria at Marassi (Matchday 4, September 22nd). The new Inter showed its limitations (as well as an indication as to where their season was headed) by being torn apart (4-0) by a not all that impressive Sampdoria side.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 33, October 1991
(Andreas Brehme, Roberto Mancini, Stefano Desideri and Paulo Silas, September 22, 1991, Sampdoria 4-Internazionale Milano 0)

Matchday 5 (September 29th) signaled the end of two managers. Gaetano Salvemini resigned from his post at Bari the following day after losing at Juventus (0-2).
Former Polish International Zbigniew Boniek was appointed as his replacement.
Similarly, Fiorentina’s Brazilian manager Sebastiano Lazaroni resigned after a home loss vs. AS Roma (0-1).

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 850  (Number 25),  June 19-25, 1991
(Corrado Ferlaino and Claudio Ranieri)

The son of Fiorentina owner, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, denigrated the departing Lazaroni by suggesting that the Brazilian Manager was so powerless that an agent of one of the players was helping him to pick the team. Needles to say, Lazaroni denied this claim. Gigi Radice was appointed as the new Fiorentina Manager.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, September 18-24, 1991
(Giuseppe Signori and Gabriel Batistuta, September 15, 1991, Fiorentina 1-Foggia 2)

Trapattoni’s Juventus were defeated for the first time on Matchday 6 (October 6th) by losing at Genoa (1-2) still on a high from previous season’s exploits.
Milan’s victory on the same day over Atalanta (2-0) gave them the lead, along with a resurgent Napoli that seemed to be improving under Ranieri, with an impressive Gianfranco Zola dictating the play.
Cagliari’s loss at Verona (0-2) on the same day led to the sacking of their Manager Massimo Giacomini, two days later. Veteran Manager Carlo Mazzone replaced him.
The international break, after this Matchday, ended Azeglio Vicini’s reign as National Team Manager, after Italy were eliminated form the UEFA European qualifiers after a scoreless tie with the Soviet Union at Moscow on October 12th.
He resigned shortly thereafter, to be replaced with former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi, who had been expected to take over for some months.
When League play resumed  (Matchday 7, October 20th), Napoli were faced with the arduous road ahead after losing at home to Juventus (0-1), who bounced back from their setback at Genoa.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 34, November 1991
(October 20, 1991, Napoli 0-Juventus 1)

On the same day AC Milan defeated Parma (2-0) with goals by a newly found and improving Rudd Gullit and Marco van Basten.
It was clear that this was going to be a two horse race between Milan and Juventus.
Bari’s free fall after the loss of Joao Paulo, forced them to re-evaluate their foreign players. While David Platt remained on board, the ineffective Australian Frank Farina was dismissed.
To offset the remaining two own slots, Croatian midfielder Zvonimir Boban was signed on loan from AC Milan on October 31st.  (Boban had been signed from Dinamo Zagreb, but was intelligible to play for Milan since they already had their foreign player limit of three).
His compatriot Robert Jarni arrived on November 9th from Hajduk Split.
On Matchday 9 (November 3rd), AC Milan had one of its best matches of the season and defeated AS Roma (4-1).
Marco van Basten seemed to be getting back to his best form, while strike partner Daniele Massaro was also performing well.
In Capello’s Milan, Alberigo Evani was a now a solid starter in midfield, along with the young Demetrio Albertini. The duo seem to have displaced the veteran duo of Roberto Donadoni and Carlo Ancelotti. Both players would be rewarded by earning their first caps that season.
On the same day, Juventus drew at Rome vs. Lazio (1-1) and Milan had a two-point lead.
Sampdoria, pre-occupied with Europe, once again fell in the League by losing at Napoli (1-2), who were just behind the big two.
On November 13th, Arrigo sacchi made his debut as National Team Manager in an inconsequential Euro qualifier vs. Norway (1-1) at Genoa.
In form players Gianfranco Zola and Foggia’s Francesco Baiano earned their first caps.
When League play resumed (Matchday 10, November 17th), Sampdoria’s season was all but over after a home loss against Milan (2-0, both goals from Gullit). This loss was followed by another loss the following week (Matchday 11, November 24th) vs. AS Roma (0-2).
Midway through the season, they also waved goodbye to veteran Giuseppe Dossena, who joined Perugia in the Serie B.
On November 19th, Genoa’s in-form Uruguayan striker Carlos Aguilera was implicated in a prostitution racket. This legal case would hang over his head for the following couple of years, which would hasten his departure from Italy.
The Milan derby took place on December 1st (Matchday 12) and AC Milan were favored against a struggling Inter side. Marco van Basten gave Milan the expected lead. To their credit, Inter fought back and were rewarded with an equalizer by Klinnsman. On the same day, Juventus defeated Roma (2-1) with a rare goal from Salvatore Schillaci to move Juventus one point behind the leaders.

Photo From: The Game, Issue 3, June 1995
(Marco van Basten and Walter Zenga, December 1, 1991, AC Milan 1-Internazionale Milano 1)

In general Schillaci had been having a better season than his previous, but nevertheless struggled to score goals regularly, like his maiden season in the Serie A (1989/90).
The following week (Matchday 13, December 8th), Juventus defeated a stagnating Inter (2-1) and Milan defeated Torino (2-0) to maintain their respective leads at the top.
Inter’s loss also virtually ended their season before the halfway mark.
On December 15th (Matchday 14), an improving Lazio hosted Milan at the Stadio Olimpico. German midfielder Thomas Doll had been one of the success stories and surprises of the season, while his International teammate Karl-Heinz Riedle had been scoring regularly.

Photo From: Calciatori 1991-92, Campionato Italiano Serie A, Panini (2)
(Germany and Lazio’s Thomas Doll)

Riedle gave Lazio the lead in the match, but an unstoppable van Basten tied up the match shortly thereafter, Juventus were unable to take advantage of Milan’s dropped point, as they lost (0-1) at Sampdoria.
Following this Round, League play was stopped for an International match (December 21st, EC Qualifier, Italy 2-Cyprus 0), as well as the Christmas/New Year break.
The League programme resumed after the New Year (1992) on January 5th (Matchday 15).
This would turn out to be an eventful and prophetic Round.
Milan demolished third placed Napoli (5-0) with the goals scored by five different players. Despite Juventus keeping pace with a win over Parma (1-0), Milan’s powerful performance made them look like the likely winners.
Fabio Capello would later say that it was not just the margin of the win that was important, but that on that day, Milan eliminated a rival from the title race.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1992
(AC Milan’s Marco van Basten, January 5, 1992, AC Milan 5-Napoli 0)

By the midway stage of the season (Matchday 17, January 19th), AC Milan ‘s win over Foggia (3-1, van Basten hat trick with 2 penalty kicks) had given them a three-point lead over Juventus (29 vs. 26).
Inter lost at Atalanta (0-1), which led to the resignation of Corrado Orrico.
Former Spain National team manger and Inter Great Luis Suarez was appointed as Manager on January 20th, until the end of the season.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Number 3, January 15-21, 1992
(Foggia’s Francesco Baiano, January 12, 1992, Foggia 1-Genoa 0)

Milan increased their lead to five points, the following week, the first Round of the return legs (Matchday 18, January 26th).
Juventus lost at Fiorentina (0-2), while Milan comfortably defeated Ascoli (4-1).
The table-topping clash of the season took place on February 9th (Matchday 20), with Milan hosting Juventus at San Siro. The match ended in a tie (1-1) that certainly did not help Juventus who were lagging behind. Many had suggested that Juventus should have played a more attacking game, since they needed to win, but Trapattoni was realistic and stated that against such an impressive Milan side, they could not take such a risk.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 38, March 1992
(Ruud Gullit and Roberto Galia, February 9, 1992, AC Milan 1-Juventus 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 39, April 1992
(Marco van Basten and Julio Cesar, February 9, 1992, AC Milan 1-Juventus 1)

For the next few weeks the top two sides kept their respective distances at the top.
On Matchday 22 (February 23rd), Michelangelo Rampulla of Cremonese became the rare goalkeeper to score a goal from open play. He headed in a goal in the dying stages of their match with Atalanta to tie the match (1-1).
On Matchday 25 (March 15th), Verona, already set for relegation, fired Eugenio Fascetti after a loss at Lazio (0-2). Swedish manager Nils Liedholm got bak in the circuit by being appointed for the vacant post.

Photo From: World Soccer, May 1992
(Daniele Fortunato and Marco van Basten, March 15, 1992, AC Milan 2-Bari 0)

On Matchday 27 (April 5th), The title race was virtually over after Milan opened a six-point lead over Juventus.
AC Milan defeated, the defending champions, Sampdoria with another scintillating performance (5-1 win).
Sampdoria had long given up on the Serie A and were on the verge of qualifying for the Final of the Champions League.
Juventus lost to neighbors Torino (0-2, both goals by Walter Casagrande), who were slowly moving up the table and threatening to overtake Napoli at the third place.
Torino were also having a positive season in the UEFA Cup and would eliminate Real Madrid in that month to qualify for the Final of the competition.
As far as Genoa, after impressively eliminating Liverpool in the quarterfinals, Osvaldo Bagnoli’s side were eliminated in the semifinals by Ajax Amsterdam.
Milan took another a major step forwards by defeating Inter (1-0) in the Milan derby with a goal by Daniele Massaro on April 18th (Matchday 29).
The previous week Inter had lost Lothar Matthaus to injury in a scoreless tie with Parma. Matthaus would be ruled out for six months to compound on Inter’s already miserable season.
For their part, Juventus were held by AS Roma (1-1) at Stadio Olimpico and made no gains.
With five matches remaining, Milan had a six-point lead over Juventus (48 vs. 42).
The 32nd Round (May 10th) proved to be the decisive day as Milan visited Napoli.
Milan only needed a single point to mathematically become champions and they did just that. The match ended in a (1-1) tie and Milan had won their 12th Scudetto.
The challenge was now to go through the entire season undefeated.

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2406, May 19, 1992
(Ciro Ferrara and Diego Fuser, May 10, 1992, Napoli 1-AC Milan 1)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2406, May 19, 1992
(Marco van Basten, May 10, 1992, Napoli 1-AC Milan 1)

The following week (Matchday 33, May 17th), newly crowned Milan defeated Verona (4-0) with retiring Carlo Ancelotti scoring twice in his last official match at San Siro.
Napoli’s loss at Fiorentina (2-4) along with Torino’s win at Atalanta (3-1), allowed the Turin side to leapfrog over Napoli in the third position for the first time in the season.
They would hold onto the position at the end of the season, to cap off a positive season, despite the loss vs. Ajax in the Final of the UEFA Cup.

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2406, May 19, 1992
(Silvio Berlusconi and Fabio Capello celebrating the Scudetto win)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2406, May 19, 1992
(Demetrio Albertini and Marco Simone celebrating the Scudetto win)

On the final Matchday (May 24th), Milan had the unique opportunity to remain undefeated by visiting surprising and attack minded Foggia.
In a match that summed up Milan’s season, they won with the astonishing score of (8-2) to be one of the most dominant League champions in recent memory.
Marco van Basten that many had written off just a year before was the League’s top goalscorer with 25 goals (that included nine penalty kicks).
Juventus, Torino, Napoli and Roma would make it into the UEFA Cup. Parma followed up the previous season’s promise by winning the Coppa Italia against Juventus, to win their first trophy (more to follow in the seasons to come).

Photo From: World Soccer, June 1992
(Alessandro Melli and Massimo Carrera, May 7, 1992, Coppa Italia Final, First Leg, Juventua 1-Parma 0)

Juventus had drastically improved from the previous season in no small part because of Trapattoni. In some other season their form would have been enough to clinch a title, but this season they were faced with an extraordinary Milan side.
They were the only team to defeat Milan that season (in the semifinals of Coppa Italia).
Inter finished in a disappointing eighth place to miss out on Europe.
A clear out was to follow that signaled the end for Inter’s German contingent.
Jurgen Klinnsman (to AS Monaco) and Andreas Brehme (to Real Zaragoza) left and in the early parts of the following season Matthaus would also depart.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 3, Issue 8, August 1992
(Germany and Internazionale Milano’s Jurgen Klinnsman)

Sampdoria’s loss in the Final of the Champions League vs. Barcelona heralded an end of a cycle.
Shortly thereafter, Gianluca Vialli ended his eight-year-old association with the club and joined long time suitor Juventus. Similarly, Cerezo and Manager Vujadin Boskov’s time for Sampdoria was up.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 3, Issue 8, August 1992
(Sampdoria’s Guianluca Vialli)

Atalanta’s long serving Swedish midfielder Glenn Stromberg also departed after eight years of service.
Stefano Tacconi left Juventus after nearly a decade and joined Genoa.
German striker Rudi Voeller ended his Roman adventure after five years to join France’s Olympique Marseille.
As predicted newly promoted sides Ascoli, Verona and Cremonese were relegated after just one season.
Bari were relegated despite the heroics of Englishman David Platt. The late inclusion of Polish manager Zbigniew Boniek along with Croatian duo of Zvonimir Boban and Robert Jarni were not enough to save a season that took a nosedive virtually from the onset due to the loss through serious injury of Brazilian Joao Paulo.
Many felt AC Milan and Juventus’s positive season was due to the fact that they were not distracted with European competitions.
However, in the case of Milan especially, the next few seasons dispelled this theory.
Trapattoni would go on and describe this Milan as much more dangerous than Sacchi’s due to their more Italian attitude.
Trapattoni felt that Sacchi’s Milan would try to win matches by three or four goals, when two were sufficient. In doing so, they would burn energy that would be needed by the crucial springtime of the season. Certainly, AC Milan’s implosion in the League race in 1990 seemed to confirm that.

Near the end of the season, the Foreign player rules for the following season were changed. From the following season, teams could have as many foreigners on their books as they wished, but only three could play in a given match. A spending spree the likes of which had not been seen before was about to take place that summer, with Berlusconi’s ambitious Milan leading the way. An already good team was about to be even more star studded with the rest of the League joining in. ‘Turn-over’ was about to enter the football lexicon, oh, and by the way Diego Maradona’s suspension was about to expire (1992/93 season, to be continued…..)

Photo From: Calcio 2000, Issue 40, April 2001
(AC Milan 1991/92 , Top, left to right: Mauro Tassoti, Paolo Maldini,  Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Francesco Antonioli  Bottom, left to right:  Alessandro Costacurta, Diego Fuser, Carlo Ancelotti, Franco Baresi, Marco Simone , May 19, 1992, Carlo Ancelotti Farewell, AC Milan 0-Brazil 1)

1 comment:

  1. Again a wonderful article and I am hoping for the 92/93 edition soon. Great work there, and what a time it was for calcio and soccer.