To paradise…and back. From a tactical perspective, Goran Pandev was the key man during Inter’s treble. His signing in January 2010 allowed for Josè Mourinho to make the tactical change he’d longed hoped for. He could switch his formation to a 4-2-3-1, with Goran occupying the spot on the left flank, guaranteeing both quantity and quality in terms of attacking play. To appreciate his ability, you only need to watch the magnificent burst of pace that left the Barcelona defence for dead and created the numerical advantage for Maicon’s goal, which consequently helped change the game’s eventual outcome.
It is now amazing to think that Pandev’s arrival in Italy was almost by chance. Pierluigi Casiraghi, who was one of the secret tools at Inter’s Academy, had previously gone to watch the Under-17 Macedonia teamto scout Ako Stojkov, a promising young striker who eventually failed to cut it at the Nerazzurri. However, Casiraghi also picked up on Goran and returned to Milan with a positive view on both players. The following deal was soon finalised for a few thousand euros.
The rest is history, with Pandev initially shining with Obafemi Martins for the Primavera side and winning both the Viareggio Cup and the Scudetto. Then came loan spells with both Spezia and Ancona, before he joined Lazio and became one of the strongest second strikers in the league. He eventually returned to Inter just in time for the Treble. The following year he then kept up his first-rate performances, scoring in the final of the Club World Cup and also netting the goal that helped eliminate Bayern Munich from the Champions League. A scout’s intuition helped mould Inter’s history, which is testimony to the great work that goes on behind the scenes at the Nerazzurri Academy.