MILAN - A special, unique, unseen and exclusive interview. It took place back in February 2018, as Gigi Simoni opened up to Inter TV about his Nerazzurri memories. A dive into Inter’s past and a multitude of genuine and moving emotions about each of the key figures with whom the coach, who passed away on 22 May, shared his Nerazzurri journey.
The interview was made as part of the celebrations for the 2018 Inter Hall Of Fame and is filled with moving moments. He began with his extraordinary relationship with Ronaldo, El Fenomeno: “He was the best, the strongest player of them all: ridiculously fast and with exceptional technique. It often happened that at the end of the game we’d come back into the dressing room with the whole team singing: “Oh, El Fenomeno, we’ve got El Fenomeno...” He was always relaxed and cheerful, even before the UEFA Cup final: I was tense, and he said to me: “Don’t worry, we’ll win. And if we win I get to shave all your hair off.” He actually turned up with the clippers at the first training session after the game in Paris.”
During the interview, Simoni showed off the famous shirt Ronaldo wore when he scored two goals in the frozen Moscow mud. A historic shirt, still showing signs of that impossible playing field where El Fenomeno enchanted everyone: “I’ve never washed it.”
But it wasn’t all about Ronnie. Simoni also had sweet words to share on other players: “With Zanetti it always felt like we had an extra player on the pitch, he was unmatchable. Bergomi always gave me a big hand, Berti was the most warm-hearted, even when we visited Inter Clubs.”
And then a word on Facchetti: “We became friends in the National Team, he was an extraordinary guy. I was playing for Torino, I played on the right wing but I didn’t want to come up against him on the pitch because he was too good and we were too close as friends. So before the games against Inter I used to ask Meroni to swap wings: I’d move out to the left so I didn’t have to face Giacinto on the pitch.”
“People always told me that coaching Inter would be complicated. But for me it was the simplest and most natural thing. I’m an Inter fan and they’re the team that brought me the most satisfaction.”