Serie A success was taken as a given for Jose Mourinho. Inter had brought him to Milan to win in Europe and that’s exactly what he did in 2010, when he led the Nerazzurri to a historic treble, which culminated in an emotional Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich in Madrid.
The Scudetto was hard-earned, though, with Roma pushing Inter right until the last day of the season. Fittingly, Diego Milito scored the goal that clinched the title, with the Argentine attacker having proven the best of a plethora of fantastic signings primarily funded by the sale of superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona.
Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o, who was a part of €69.5 deal that saw Ibra move to Catalunya, immediately bought into the wonderful team spirit Mourinho had cultivated at San Siro.
Like Milito, Dutch No.10 Wesley Sneijder had the season of his life, Lucio bolstered the backline, and Thiago Motta was a colossus in the middle of the park for one of the most powerful and defensively disciplined sides Serie A has ever seen.
Serie A was rocked by the loss of its two biggest names, as Real Madrid broke the transfer fee world record to sign Kaka from AC Milan for €67m (and then promptly did it again in acquiring Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo) before Barcelona lured Ibrahimovic away from Inter.
Unfortunately, while the Nerazzurri reinvested well, actually managing to make a strong side even better, their city rivals were less successful in the market, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar proving a major disappointment, netting just seven Serie A goals.
In addition, while Thiago Silva proved a fantastically shrewd signing for the Rossoneri, Paolo Maldini’s retirement was nonetheless keenly felt at the back. Still, Leonardo, who had played under his predecessor as Milan boss, Carlo Ancelotti, recovered from a shaky start to lead the club to a creditibile third-placed finish in his first season as a coach.
Elsewhere, Juve squandered €52m on two Brazilians, Diego and Felipe Melo, both of whom failed dismally to justify their lofty price tags, while it quickly became evident that the returning Fabio Cannavaro was a shadow of the player he had been before he had left for Real Madrid.
Ciro Ferrara’s inability to get the best out of an expensively assembled squad resulted in him being sacked in January, just seven months after his appointment as Bianconeri boss.
The 2009-10 season was two rounds old when Roma decided to part company with Luciano Spalletti, after back-to-back losses, away to Genoa and at home to Juventus, and he was succeeded at the helm by Claudio Ranieri.
The Bianconeri claimed another impressive win in the capital the following weekend, this time against Lazio, and looked like genuine title challengers during the early stages of the season, with new signing Diego in particularly impressive form.
However, they completed capitulated around the turn of the year, losing five of their six games between December 13 and January 24, and the Old Lady decided to replace Ferrara with Alberto Zaccheroni. It made little difference, though, as the Bianconeri ended up finishing in a dismal seventh place.
With Giampaolo Pazzini in fine goal-scoring form, Sampdoria enjoyed a fine campaign and pipped another surprise package, Palermo, to fourth place. The Blucerchiati even headed the table after a 1-0 win over Inter on matchday six but Mourinho’s men quickly reclaimed top spot.
However, Inter were unable to shake off Ranieri’s resurgent Roma side, who went unbeaten between October 29 and April 24 to raise hopes of a first Scudetto since 2001.
Indeed, the Giallorossi went top courtesy of a 2-1 win over Atalanta, after Inter had been held at Fiorentina, and followed that up with a Mirko Vucinic-inspired, come-from-behind victory over Lazio.
However, a shock loss at home to Sampdoria gifted the initiative back to Inter, who punished Roma’s slip-up ruthlessly. They beat Atalanta to reclaim first spot, defeated the Giallorossi in the Coppa Italia final on May 5 with a solitary strike from Milito, and then consigned their rivals to yet another runners-up finish by scraping past Siena on the final day of the Serie A season.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
The protagonist of Inter’s fairy tale season, scoring the goals that decided the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
Who else but the Portuguese? ‘The Special One’ lived up to his moniker by strengthening Inter’s grip on the Italian game, as well as masterminding their first European Cup victory since 1965.
ANTONIO DI NATALE - 29 GOALS
At the age of 32, the Udinese striker was crowned Capocannoniere after racking up a whopping 29 goals in just 35 appearances.
GOAL OF THE SEASON
With 15 minutes to go in Inter’s crucial clash with Juventus, MAICON controlled a clearance, lobbed the ball over one defender, set himself and then volleyed home. A goal as beautiful as it was important.
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Werder Bremen to JUVENTUS
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Roma’s loss at home to Sampdoria cost them the Scudetto. Frustratingly, they were a goal to the good through Francesco Totti but Pazzini’s second-half double changed everything.