Forget Jose Mourinho, Diego Milito Delivers Inter Milan Success

Yoosof FarahSenior Writer IIIMay 22, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22:  Diego Milito of Inter Milan celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

With an estimated TV audience of 280 million worldwide, at the home of Real Madrid, the most prestigious club in football, the stage was set for Jose "The Special One" Mourinho to truly shine.

In the UEFA Champions League Final, Mourinho managed his Inter Milan team to glorified success against Bundesliga colossus Bayern Munich, and in doing so became only one of a select few in history who have won the Champions League with two different clubs as a manager.

He beat his counterpart Louis Van Gaal, the Bayern Munich boss who was Mourinho's "master" so to speak over a decade ago at FC Barcelona.

Along the journey to European glory, Mourinho's Inter side beat the likes of the aforementioned Barca, as well as Premier League and FA Cup champions Chelsea, and Russia's rising continental powerhouse CSKA Moscow.

And ahead of the 2010 final at the Santiago Bernabeu, the talk on the pitch was about Wesley Sneijder up against his Netherlands buddy Arjen Robben, both of whom once played together at Real Madrid.

Off the pitch, the build-up was all about the dugout, and the tactical duel between the wise old van Gaal, and the young charismatic Mourinho.

Samuel Eto'o was also being widely talked about, and was tipped to be the Inter Milan messiah by being the first to score in three Champions League finals.

But of course, it was Argentina striker Diego Milito who did the honours for Internazionale, scoring twice to give Inter Milan a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Having finally wrestled his way into Diego Maradona's 23-man squad for the World Cup, Milito scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season to secure a first Champions League trophy in over 40 years for the Nerazzurri.

Ahead of this year's final, the first ever to be played on a Saturday, Milito was universally backed by the bookies to be one of the first to score, but wasn't really mentioned by the pundits and journalists.

To them, he just seemed another player in the front-line to go with Eto'o and play ahead of Sneijder.

But at the final whistle, it was the diminutive Argentine who deservedly stole the show, with two very well-worked, brilliantly executed, and aesthetically pleasing goals.

The words "aesthetically pleasing" are used here, because that hasn't always been the case with Inter Milan over the course of the season.

Trained in the art of catenaccio, the Serie A side execute the Italian footballing style to perfection, despite having virtually no Italians in their team, and fielding only three Europeans in Saturday's final against Bayern.

Anyway, back to Diego Milito, the Mourinho favourite who moved to the San Siro at the start of the season for a whopping €25 million from Genoa, despite being 30 years old.

A massive price tag for an ageing player it may seem, but with the UEFA Champions League said to be worth around £50 million to the winners, it could well be an investment well made.

With Sneijder and Macedonia talisman Goran Pandev failing to find the net despite glorious goalscoring opportunities, thankfully for Mourinho his big investment Milito managed to do what he's paid for.

Throughout the match, it seemed that everything Diego Milito touched turned to gold.

Always efficient in possession, Milito made only one mistake in the entire 90 minutes, which was a slightly over-hit pass to Eto'o at the end when his team were 2-0 up.

Apart from that, the striker held up play well, picked out some perfect pinpoint passes to set-up teammates, and skipped past defenders like they were not there.

For Inter's second goal, in the build-up not many players seemed interested in helping teammates Milito and Eto'o on the counter-attack.

Two players in midfield seemingly went down feigning injury to buy some time, but Diego Milito had other ideas, and probably much to his own team's surprise, carried the ball on his own with no support into the opponent's penalty area, before dazzling his way past opposing centre-back Daniel Van Buyten and rifling an expertly-taken effort into the far corner past a helpless goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt.

It was a goal that epitomised Milito's man-of-the-match performance; a Dimitar Berbatov-esque classiness combined with the workmanlike Carlos Tevez style of play.

Milito showed great acceleration, stamina, and determination to burst with the ball into Bayern's penalty area, before displaying perfect technique, creativity, flair, composure, dribbling skills, and shot accuracy to score a deserved second goal of the game.

A piece of play it was from Milito that most likely brought smiles not only to the die-hard Inter fans, but also the hundreds of millions of onlooking neutrals around the world.

That was after he scored the opener for Inter in the first-half with a goal very much against the run of play.

But it was a goal that emphasised just how efficient Inter Milan, and more specifically Diego Milito, were when in possession of the ball.

And another interesting fact is that Diego Milito did not get tackled at all; he was the only attacking player on the pitch not to get tackled.

So yes, Jose Mourinho organised his players well, got the tactics spot on, and man-managed his players brilliantly, but at the end of the day, there's nothing he can do when his players step over the white line and take to the world's stage.

At that point, it's up to the Gods to ensure his players deliver the goods and keep his reputation intact.

And thankfully for him, his ego remains unharmed and massively boosted, courtesy of the man-of-the-season for Internazionale, Diego Milito.

Mourinho might be the world's best manager, Argentine teammate Lionel Messi might be the world's best player, but on a hot Saturday evening in Madrid, only Diego Milito could do what was needed to win a UEFA Champions League title.