Who can remember Inter chasing an AS Roma side at the top of the Serie A table back in 2010? Few probably. Nevertheless, the Triplete season could have taken a very different turn. It was matchday 34 in Serie A. The Nerazzurri faced Juventus, while AS Roma were ahead of the pack. The game was entertaining, but Inter didn’t seem able to break the Bianconeri’s defences down. With 15 minutes left to play, 0-0 seemed to be the most likely result. But that was when Maicon came up with a Brazilian piece of magic. Amauri could only watch the ball pass over his head, there was then another touch with the thigh and a shot from the edge of the area that was just too perfect for Buffon to keep out.
Inter won that game 2-0, to keep hopes alive before eventually going on to win a fifth consecutive Scudetto. It would go down in history as Maicon’s most beautiful goal for Inter. The Brazilian full-back spent six seasons with the Nerazzurri, scoring 20 goals in 248 games. But Maicon was one of a kind, going beyond mere stats and numbers. Simply put, he changed the perception of what a full-back is and what they do.
Maicon was to first player to defend and attack with the same physical exuberance and intensity. His nickname, the ‘Colossus’, needs no explanation. Certainly not for the Curva Nord fans, who used to sing “How strong is Maicon? How strong is Maicon?” whenever he touched the ball. His pure talent and physical power deeply impressed former President Massimo Moratti too, who once said: “Maicon deserves the Ballon d’Or”. Unfortunately, he would never win it. But that proved to be a meaningless detail for somebody who reinvented the role of full-back.