How have Celtic and Inter Milan changed since their last meeting?

first_imgIn fact, both Celtic and Inter have undergone drastic change since the last time they played, less than two years ago. The two sides met in the first knockout round of the 2014/15 Europa League, with an exhilarating 3-3 first leg draw the highlight of the tie. It might not have been 49 years ago, but the plates under both clubs have shifted considerably in that time.Ronny Deila is gone, for starters. The Norwegian had only just started to stem the flow of scrutiny against him by the time Inter visited Parkhead, with the comeback draw against the Serie A giants the clearest philosophical demonstration he ever provided. That was as good as it got for Deila. SNS GroupWith Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven making an immediate impact following their deadline day move from Dundee United, Celtic finally seemed to be adapting to the methods and practices of their new manager. The Ronny Roar was born and the Norwegian became something of a cult icon at a club slowly warming to him.However, that sentiment cooled rather quickly to the point where it was ice cold by the end of last season. Deila failed for the second successive season to make the Champions League group stage, with the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers the straw that broke the Norwegian’s back. His departure was confirmed within days. Now Brendan Rodgers is in charge, with Celtic undergoing something of an existential overhaul. The maligned transfer strategy – the one that resulted in the signing of flops Derk Boerrigter, Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki – has been ditched as the new man in charge focuses on delivering marquee names, like Scott Sinclair and Kolo Toure. There’s a renewed swagger about the club. PAInter have also endured plenty since their last meeting with Celtic. Roberto Mancini is no longer at the helm, with the Italian leaving his post earlier this week. He has been replaced by Frank De Boer, a man well-known to Scottish football and a highly-rated young coach following a successful stint at Ajax.Under Mancini, Inter did improve last season, rising from their eighth place finish in 2014/15 to fourth place by the end of the 2015/16 campaign, yet 13 points still separated them from Roma in third spot and Champions League qualification. The manager’s relationship with the club’s Chinese owners broke down over the summer, with pre-season defeats to Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain resulting in his rather harsh firing just weeks before the start of the new season.It was an erratic move to typify an increasingly erratic club. Whether it’s in the appointment of a new manager or their incoherent transfer market strategy, the past two years at Inter Milan makes Celtic appear the picture of stability. SNS GroupLast summer witnessed an revamp of Inter’s squad, with over £75 million spent on the signings of Geoffrey Kondogbia, Ivan Perisic, Xherdan Shaqiri, Felipe Melo, Davide Santon and Miranda. Shaqiri lasted only a matter of months at the club, though, joining Stoke in the January window, with the rest largely struggling to settle in at a team that has spent the last five years in a perpetual state of flux. Big money has been splurged once again this summer. Antonio Candreva, Dodo and Cristian Ansaldi have all joined the San Siro outfit, with Inter seemingly targeting proven Serie A performers. But was that Mancini’s, rather than the club’s, plan? What happens now with De Boer in the dugout?While Celtic are now taking their first step forward under Brendan Rodgers, Inter Milan are standing still, unsure of the direction they are taking under De Boer. That might become clearer over the new few weeks and months, but as things current are the team Rodgers and Celtic will face in Ireland on Saturday are something of an unknown entity. The two clubs know each other well, given their history together, but know nothing of what to expect in Limerick. Certain clubs are intertwined throughout the very fabric of another’s being. Take Real Madrid, for instance, who are synonymous with Aberdeen and the Pittodrie club’s heritage following their European Cup Winners’ Cup final clash in 1983.The same goes for Celtic and Inter Milan, with the 1967 European Cup final their shared totem.The two clubs will meet in Limerick this weekend, 49 years on from the crowning moment of the Lisbon Lions’ glory. Almost half a century has passed since Celtic were kings of Europe, but that triumph remains a signpost guiding the direction of the Glasgow club, even to this day. SNS GroupOf course, both clubs have changed dramatically since 1967. Football has changed almost beyond recognition in that time, with the days of an entirely homegrown team winning the European Cup now a vision of fanciful imagination. last_img

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