By Paolo Menicucci
Juan Sebastián Verón and FC Internazionale Milano have a similar hunger for success. The Argentinian midfield player is keen to prove himself having returned to Italy after three disappointing seasons in the English Premiership, while the Milan club have not won a trophy since lifting the UEFA Cup in 1998.
Inter started their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win against Werder Bremen on Tuesday, with Verón marking his group stage debut with his new club by providing the ball that set up Adriano for their second goal, it seems like the wandering 29-year-old may finally have found an ideal home.
Verón is certainly eager to impress in his season-long loan at the San Siro, telling uefa.com: "The club has invested a lot of money in winning important trophies and we have to do everything we can in order to repay their trust.
We are eager to write our names in Inter's history book."
Inter coach Roberto Mancini has always been a huge fan of Verón, but player now has a new fan in Inter owner Massimo Moratti. "On the pitch he's like a ballet dancer," said the former club president. "He's pure class. When you watch him, it looks like the other players are playing a different sport."
Unfortunately for Verón, that often seemed to be the case during his ill-starred three seasons in England. Having failed to find the form he showed at S.S. Lazio in his first two seasons with Manchester United FC, injury ruined the player's chances of impressing following a transfer to Chelsea FC.
However, Verón is back on familiar territory under Mancini, his former team-mate at Sampdoria and Lazio. "I already knew many of my new team-mates," he said. "In a great team like Inter you always know every player. However, Adriano is the player who's impressed me the most. He's a fantastic striker and confirmed everything good I thought about him."
'Work in progress'
Adriano scored both goals against Bremen to give Inter a morale-boost following a 2-2 draw in their first Serie A game against AC Chievo Verona at the weekend. However, Verón insists that his side are not yet the finished article. "We are still a work in progress," he said. "We have played some good games like the two in the Champions League third qualifying round against [FC] Basel , but we have plenty of work to do. We are already thinking as a team but we are still looking for our own playing style."
Certainly, they seemed to have begun to forge a style in the game against Bremen, but Verón was well aware that, with RSC Anderlecht and Valencia CF still to face in their group, great challenges lie ahead. Inter may be one of the biggest clubs in the tournament, but reputation counts for little.
"Every team taking part in the Champions League is a great team," said Verón, nicknamed 'Brujita' - 'the Little Witch'. "Maybe there are some with a more impressive tradition than others but every team is difficult to beat."
However, Inter's illustrious name, and their desire to win a first European Champion Clubs' Cup since their second triumph 40 years ago, will not place any added burden on Mancini's squad. "It's only an extra motivation," insisted Verón. "Obviously there is pressure, but not regarding the past. The pressure is because we are sure that we are a great side. Now we want to prove it on the pitch."
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