When Milito’s goals inspired Inter to Champions League success

Diego Milito rides a challenge from Martin Demichelis in the 2010 Champions League Final

Serie A sides have been deprived of Champions League success in recent seasons. Louis Miller looks back on Inter’s 2010 success, when they were inspired by Diego Milito…

Halfway through the four minutes of injury time at the Santiago Bernabeu, the fourth official raised his board and for one man time almost stood still. The thousands of travelling Inter fans rose to their feet applauding, chanting the name of the man who had guided their team to unprecedented glory.

“The reception when I left the field was emotional, I managed to wave to the people who were very happy. I was too, obviously,” said Diego Milito, when talking to UEFA for their Champions League Final Flashback series. “José’s decision gave me the chance to be applauded off the pitch and, above everything, gave Marco Materazzi the opportunity to play in a Champions League final at his age.”

But of course, this was Milito’s moment. The man who scored the brace to break Bayern hearts. The first goal was a dink with the toe of this boot, the second was with a faint and a dummy – his white and blue Adidas adiPURE III almost matching the colour of the Inter socks, and with a gold trim similar to his winner’s medal – Milito turned Daniel Van Buyten inside and out before he curled the ball into the far corner.

El Principe had led Inter to their first European Cup since 1965 and made history as the first Italian team to win the treble. Milito, in his adiPURE, which you can find out more about here, played his part in all three victories, first a goal on the final day against Siena and then another to help Inter past Roma in the Coppa Italia.

Italian sides haven’t always had much luck in the Champions League of late. Juventus, Italy’s most successful domestic side, have longed for European success since their last triumph when they beat Ajax in 1996. Only two years later they were in the final again but this time they came out on the losing side thanks to a solitary Predrag Mitjatvoic strike.

More heartbreak came in 2003 when they were defeated by Milan on penalties at Old Trafford. Then two second half collapses, against Barcelona and Real Madrid, in the space of two years, led the side to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in a bid to break their final curse.

The side who beat the Old Lady in Manchester, Milan, have also had mixed success in recent years. Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan team came out the wrong side of a six-goal epic in Istanbul when they threw away a 3-0 halftime lead. A Steven Gerrard-inspired comeback was made possible thanks to Dudek’s penalty heroics in the shootout.

Two years later, Pipo Inzaghi and Milan got their revenge when the ex-Benevento coach scored two typical striker’s goals. The first a deflection from an Andrea Pirlo free kick, and the second by beating the offside trap, just about rounding the oalkeeper, and rolling the ball into the net.

Not until that night in the Bernabeu did another Italian side make it to the final. Milito, and his white and blue adiPURE, wrote their place in history that night, and they also allowed a 37-year-old Italian to have a very happy cameo.