Ahead of last night's UEFA Champions League victory against AFC Ajax, supporters of FC Internazionale Milano joined UEFA in paying tribute to several members of 'la Grande Inter' - the Nerazzurri side that won the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1964 and 1965.
The Inter legends gathered to receive a special plaque recognising the contribution their coach Helenio Herrera, who died in 1997, had made to 50 years of European Cup football. The former Inter captain and current president Giacinto Facchetti and right-winger Luís Figo - a UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid CF in 2001/02 - also received a plaque.
Sandro Mazzola, who claimed four Serie A titles in addition to those European successes, told uefa.com: "It was an emotional moment to receive the award at the San Siro, and it was fantastic to meet up with my former team-mates as we don't have too many chances to get together now. We were a great side and Herrera was a superb coach with revolutionary ideas for that time. I think most of the coaches today still use elements of his technical innovations."
Herrera's Inter defeated Madrid in the 1964 final, and SL Benfica the following year. Former Inter playmaker and Ballon d'Or winner Luis Suárez told uefa.com of those triumphs: "The first one against Madrid was special for me. First of all, because they had a legendary team packed with great players who had already won the competition five times, but mainly because I used to play for [FC] Barcelona."
Inter owner Massimo Moratti, whose father Angelo presided over those halcyon days of the 1960s, added: "It was a special team with special players. The current Inter squad will have to have similar ambition and a willingness to work and make sacrifices if they want to achieve the same success." Roberto Mancini's side eliminated Ajax 3-2 on aggregate to advance to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Villarreal CF.
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