Inter Milan: What's the Problem with Ricardo Alvarez?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentSeptember 27, 2012

Inter Milan: What's the Problem with Ricardo Alvarez?

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    Inter Milan supporters were optimistic and intrigued about the €11.75 million valued Ricardo Álvarez.

    At one point, the then-Vélez Sársfield midfielder seemed headed to the Emirates, after Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini sensationally claimed the Argentine was an Arsenal player.

    The Gunners may have dodged a bullet because Álvarez has yet to live up to the hype. This article will explore the 24-year-old’s problems at Inter.

The Ricardo Álvarez Riddle

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    Inter Milan's No. 11 is very slow. 

    Ricardo Álvarez is nicknamed maravilla, well he isn't a marvel out wide. Starting him on the flanks makes as much sense as Louis van Gaal playing Juan Román Riquelme as a winger. 

    Lazio's right-back Lionel Scaloni must have thought: "cruise control" when he saw his compatriot in the starting lineup. Inter's "maravilla" contributed little in the 3-1 loss. 

    In the January Milan derby, Álvarez was Vratislav Gresko bad out wide, yet looked sublime when he moved into a more central position. 

    Álvarez's development will increase at snail pace (kind of like his 40-yard dash time) if he continues to be deployed out wide. 

    Now, here's what makes Ricky enigmatic—he's been awful whenever he's started as a trequartista. 

    He couldn't handle the brute physicality off Gökhan Inler and Walter Gargano during a 3-0 loss to Napoli. He loafed around in a 3-2 win over CSKA Moscow. I didn't even notice him when Parma won 3-1.

Ricardo Álvarez's Injury Concerns

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    During the 2008-09 season, Ricardo Álvarez ruptured his cruciate ligaments and was out for six months. 

    That seems to be the source of his knee problems. What he disclosed in April was terrible to hear, especially for a young footballer with lofty ambitions:

    I had a problem, well two problems. At the beginning, my knee hurt and it kept swelling up after training. Then after the match against Novara it was even more swollen and I had to stop completely. I sat down with the medical staff and we drew up a programme to sort out the problem, but when I was almost ready to return, I picked up a calf injury in the other leg—probably because I was putting too much weight on it as my knee hadn't healed properly yet. Thank God that after the game against Siena yesterday—even though I played more than had been planned—I didn't feel any pain.

    The sad reality is a month after the Siena game, he underwent knee surgery. The part where he says his knees swell up is cringeworthy. Hopefully for Ricky, his knees don't deteriorate when he's traveling, which was the unfortunate problem that plagued Dado Pršo. 

    Álvarez is 24 and he's only played 85 professional club games. Whilst, Mesut Özil, who's a year younger, has played 256 club games.

Ricardo Álvarez's Intangibles—or Lack Thereof

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    Ricardo Álvarez doesn't have that fiery edge you see in certain Argentine players.

    His compatriots Nicolás Spolli, Tino Costa and Javier Mascherano are all loose cannons but they're going to put in maximum effort. 

    Like Álvaro Recoba, Álvarez shrinks when the situation becomes tense. He plays like a timid 18-year-old on debut, which is why he gets bullied around by smaller players. 

    Also, what's the issue with Álvarez's stamina? He's not running around the pitch like a headless chicken and throwing his body on the line like Valon Behrami—so why does Álvarez gas out?  

What Inter Milan Could Have Spent €11.75 Million On...

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    With €11.75 million, Inter Milan could have signed Isco for €6 million, Christian Fuchs for €3.8 million and Michel Vorm for €1.7 million, with €25,000 left over. 

    Oh, the benefit of hindsight. 

    Comment below with your opinion on Ricardo Álvarez. 


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