If Marco Van Basten says that you are one of the toughest players to play against, then it is highly unlikely that you are just an ordinary player. Riccardo Ferri was no ordinary player. Gifted with great technical and sporting ability, he had a strong attachment to the Nerazzurri shirt – one which he wore on a total of 418 appearances for the club. Ferri joined Inter very early in his career, joining the club’s youth ranks from a Cremonese amateur side called Capralbese when he was just 14.
He then made his first-team debut just a few years later, already securing a starting spot by age 20. From then on he went on to create a formidable defensive partnership with another Nerazzurri legend, Beppe Bergomi, becoming one of the most solid pairings in Italian football. Playing once again with the ‘Uncle’, Ferri also featured for the National Team at the 1988 European Championship and the 1990 World Cup. However, Ferri is also remembered for his own-goal record in Serie A, one that is shared with another icon of Italian football, Franco Baresi. In total, he scored eight times in his own net, something which has been noted in a song by rocker Luciano Ligabue: “A che ora è la fine del mondo”: “La borsa sale… Ferri batte il record di autogol”.
“In life, you achieve some things that are great and others that are not so much,” said Ferri. “And what annoys me is that only the negative part of my career is focused on. I played for 15 years in Serie A and scored six goals. I also made 45 appearances for the National Team and scored on four occasions.” Since 1998, one of the things altered by FIFA is the new regulations to push own-goals in favour of goal scorers. However, if you are ever in doubt of how good Riccardo Ferri actually was, then just ask Van Basten what he was like to play against in the Derby della Madonnina.