Inter’s most important game from the last twenty years was neither the 3-1 win over Barcelona, nor was it the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Instead, the most important match took place in Kiev’s freezing-cold temperatures on November 4th 2009, with Inter trailing 1-0 and consequently on the brink of exiting Europe. With Mourinho then in charge, he decided to risk everything in the second half. Fortunately, the Nerazzurri successfully staged a successful comeback in the final five minutes and eventually progressed to the next round. Throughout the second half of that game, the only true defender on the pitch for Inter was Lucio. The Brazilian won every single tackle and basically led the defence by himself, as the rest of the team sought to attack. Milito and Sneijder both got on the score sheet, but everyone agreed that the man of the match was Lucio.
Inter’s treble began to take shape on that cold night in Kiev and there was no doubt that the team’s strength had its roots in their defence, which was built upon the foundations of Samuel and Lucio. Many think this was the best central defensive pairing in Inter’s history. Another highlight from that legendary season, and one that is fondly remembered by the fans, was the man-marking conducted on Drogba during the Champions League Round of 16. Nevertheless, Lucio was not just the classic defender with all grit and no technique – he was capable of picking out some great long-range passes, while he also often pushed forward to trigger the start of team attacks. His nickname “O Cavalo” came from his famous runs down the pitch. This vagrant tendency often frustrated his coaches, who more often than not wanted him to stick to his tactical and defensive duties. Legend has it that Lucio and Josè Mourinho finally came to an acceptable compromise.
After spending nine seasons in Germany, featuring for both Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, Lucio came to the city of Milan in 2009. He went on to spend three seasons with Inter and became a key starter for the entirety of this period. However, it was for his first Nerazzurri campaign that he is most fondly remembered, as he became one of the heroes from the Treble and deservedly wrote his name into Inter’s history books.