The 2008 summer transfer window had just closed since two minutes before and Lega Calcio’s business was basically finished. However, that was until an agent sent in the very last sheet of paper. It was Diego Alberto Milito’s contract, an Argentinean striker who moved to Genoa from Real Zaragoza after long-winded negotiations. The chain of events that shaped his destiny would ultimately lead to him deciding the 2010 Champions League final and playing a key part in the most glorious chapter of Inter’s history. The player arrived in Milan in the summer of 2009, demonstrating undisputed technical skills. However, he had still yet to make his breakthrough at the highest level. Despite showing sprinklings of class during spells in both Italy and Spain, he had yet to be picked up by any of the biggest clubs in Europe. Notably by the age of 30, Milito had yet to make his debut in the Champions League, nor had he won any trophies outside of Argentina.
He was called El Principe because of his physical resemblance to Enzo Francescoli, but also because he battled relentlessly out on the pitch. He was a firm fan favourite wherever he played, although he had yet to compete for any elite silverware. He would eventually make up for this, doing so in great fashion and whilst wearing the Nerazzurri shirt. It was as if he was inspired by the football gods during the entire 2009-2010 campaign. He never seemed to make a mistake, with almost every shot followed by a celebration. All of his thoughts were successfully implemented out the pitch. Milito could force his way through the tightest of on-field alleyways, seemingly in a footballing trance that allowed him to excel in every situation. This was on top of his goals, which came in abundance.
His final tally that season was 30, all impressive and often essential. His goalscoring input was key for the Nerazzurri, notably bagging two braces in both Cagliari and Madrid. His name ended up on the scoresheet in 28 games out of the 52 matches played that season. During a magic 18-day interval, Diego scored against Roma in the Coppa Italia final and against Siena during the last, decisive Serie A matchday. The Champions League final was scheduled for the 22nd of May, which was also the same number on the back of his shirt. He scored two goals, one each in every half, giving the Nerazzurri fans their greatest ever footballing memory. The Santiago Bernabéu was the perfect location for his coronation: Milito’s right foot provided the happiest of endings, as the Principe became King.