Good but cursed, condemned to having a light style which contrasted with the cynicism of mere results. If the history of Inter was a novel, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge would be the antihero. He was one of the strongest players to arrive in Italy during Serie A’s golden years. He was a two-time consecutive Ballon d’Or winner. His experience with the Nerazzurri didn’t leave trophies behind but the affection of the fans remained even if ‘Kalle’ could be distant but close at the same time.
The overhead kick in Inter-Rangers 3-0, October 24th 1984.
The goal against Milan in 1985 derby.
The wonderful goal against Torino, Dicember 8th 1985.
Rummenigge celebrates his goal against Milan.
That was the unique quality of the antihero. The empathy that they can generate in others while also believing that they’re the only one capable of going through the tests that life throws up once in a while. Such as the numerous injuries during his time with the Nerazzurri and that magnificent goal that never stood. In October 1984, Inter were hosting Rangers at San Siro in the UEFA Cup’s last sixteen. Altobelli floated a cross into the area. As if it was the most natural thing in the world, Kalle threw himself at the ball and put the ball in the net with a sort of half bicycle kick with the Scottish defence left helpless. It was a moment of rare beauty which required athleticism and speed of thought.
To disallow such a goal was not just an injustice against a player or a team, but an affront to all of football. But, Kalle got back up and didn’t give up. At the end, that was his destiny and he could take it. Good, cursed but incredibly well-loved. Class and power in a player in search of a happy ending which never came, he was the perfect antihero for the great Inter story.