Inter's Qatari training camp may have cost them €29 million

21 April at 16:27

Last night signalled the end of Inter's residual hopes of making the Champions League. Whilst Sebastien De Maio fired Genoa into the lead in a rainy Marassi, rivals Roma resurrected departing legend Francesco Totti, who scored a brace to allow them to tie up third place.

Following an exceptional start peppered with 1-0 wins, Inter lost their way in 2016. The decline began in January, a mensis horribilis in which the Nerazzurri only won twice, losing three times and drawing twice in Serie A and Coppa Italia action. A knockout blow for a team whose strong start had left even pessimistic fans confident of qualification to the Champions League.

What happened? A quick leap back to the treble season of 2009/2010 could give us an indication. Back then, Jose Mourinho's league leaders travelled to Abu Dhabi for another lucrative friendly, only to pay it back with interest between mid-February and mid-March, when the Beneamata only won twice, losing once and drawing five times. This allowed Scudetto rivals Roma to overtake Inter in the league, only for the Lupa to blow her lead late on in emphatic style.

Is it a coincidence that the Nerazzurri also chose to travel to Qatar this year to play a friendly against PSG in Doha? Think about it: their recent turnaround came after a week-long camp imposed by owner Erick Thohir, in which the Beneamata squad was mostly focussed on its physical condition.

There are some among you who would argue that the two sides can't be compared... and they'd be right.

Six years ago, Inter had the high-calibre players it needed to rescue points and more or less keep the scoreboard ticking. This time round, the Nerazzurri are still a team in construction. A promising one, but certainly not an established one.

Though they may have earned upwards of one million for their winter troubles, it is likely that this sum has since been offset by the
30 million the club has lost through its failure to earn Champions League qualification.

Though a cash-strapped team, Inter need to think long-term if they're to truly rebuild on every front. This recent
29 million loss will be a genuine headscratcher for Erick Thohir, whose plan is to grow the club's following in Asia's emerging markets.

Emanuele Tramacere
Twitter: @TramacEma, translated by Edo Dalmonte (@edodalmonte)

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