Inter Milan: Diego Forlan and Claudio Ranieri Situation Makes Ugly Season Uglier

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 17:  FC Inter Milan head coach Claudio Ranier and Diego Forlan during the Serie A match FC Internazionale Milano and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 17, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It just keeps getting worse for I Nerazzurri.

For those of you who have missed the first seven months of the season, this has not been one of Inter's finest.

On Tuesday, they found themselves crashing out of the Champions League in the round of 16 to Marseille.

A few days later, they drew Atalanta to find themselves in seventh place in Serie A—yes, seventh—and seven points out of a place in next season's Champions League.

And now, to top it all off, a negative situation is clearly developing between star striker Diego Forlan and manager Claudio Ranieri.

In the Champions League second leg clash on Tuesday, Forlan was visibly upset as he came off via a substitution early in the second half.

Then, in Inter's match with Atalanta, Ranieri brought on Luc Castaignos for Joel Obi in the 77th minute when it seemed as though Forlan was going to enter.

Today, Ranieri has publicly denied reports that Forlan refused to come on, instead insinuating that the move was tactical:

"He did not refuse to come on.  I simply asked if he was prepared to do this specific tactical work on the left.

"He replied with great honesty: 'No, coach, if I do have to come on then I prefer to do it playing in another way.' So I opted not to introduce him, as I needed something else.

"It was a tactical decision. During the week, Diego and I spoke about ideas in football and about how we can understand each other's."

But therein lies a problem: what football player would not jump at the chance to be on the pitch helping his team, let alone a striker into a match that was goalless?

Perhaps Forlan was correct and would have been less effective in the role he would have played than he possibly could be, especially given the poor form he has been in this season.

However, there is a problem when a manager asks a player to come in and he replies with "no thanks."

Whether or not there is a rift between the Uruguayan striker and his manager is unclear, but something must change in their dynamic; otherwise, Forlan's form will not recover, animosity will brew, and they will inevitably hurt the rest of the club.

Luckily, with Inter's recent history with managers, it is unlikely this issue will persist very long.