Alessandro Diamanti expects Inter to stroll to the Scudetto this season and to finish comfortably ahead of both AC Milan and Juventus.
The Nerazzurri currently boast a nine-point lead over city rivals Milan, and the former Italy international predicts that the gap will only increase as the season progresses.
“Inter, easy,” he told The Italian Football Podcast when asked who he thought would win this season’s Scudetto. “I said five or six weeks ago that Inter would win the Scudetto with a 10-15 point gap at the top.
“Now the gap is nine points, so remember what I said? And I said it when they were still behind Milan.”
Diamanti, in an extended interview, continued to explain how he had come close to joining Inter on more than one occasion. The ex-Bologna star admitted that Massimo Moratti was a big fan of his, but Jose Mourinho wanted the Nerazzurri to sign Deco instead, before the club eventually landed Wesley Sneijder.
Having played with Andrea Pirlo for the Azzurri, Diamanti expects his former teammate to achieve big things as a coach.
“It is his first experience as a coach,” he said of Pirlo’s time at Juventus so far. “You cannot refuse Juventus.
“He is a very clever, smart man. He knows football very well. I think he will do very well at Juventus.”
Pirlo and Diamanti both featured at the 2012 European Championship with Italy, and each scored from the penalty spot in the shootout defeat of England.
Pirlo’s panenka penalty over Joe Hart is still remembered fondly in Italy, and Diamanti recounted the story of how the now-Juventus boss urged him to try a similar spot kick.
“Nothing,” he said when asked how he felt ahead of the penalty in the shootout. “No nerves or pressure. Many people ask me this question. They say: ‘You walked so far, what were you thinking?’
“But what can you think? You don’t have time to think because the penalty spot is very close. I get the ball, I want to score, if I don’t score I did my best. What can I do?
“But I was sure that I would score. Because the second-choice goalkeeper was Robert Green, who I played with at West Ham.
“And I know what Robert Green said to Joe Hart because at West Ham I took six penalties and I shot them all in the same spot. So I just changed sides and put it the other way.
“However, after Andrea Pirlo did his chip against Hart, when he returned to the halfway line, he said: ‘Alino do another chip!’.
“But I said: ‘no I won’t chip again, I’ll play it simple. If I make a mistake I can’t go back to Italy’”