Rodrigo Palacio always gave his all for Inter. He featured for the Nerazzurri during the best years of his career and played in every thinkable position: forward, No. 10, winger and … even goalkeeper. This unusual event took place on 18th December 2012 during a Round of 16 match in the Coppa Italia. Playing at the San Siro, the hosts were leading 2-0 against Hellas Verona when keeper Luca Castellazzi had to leave the pitch due to an injury. Then coach Andrea Stramaccioni had already made his three changes, so it was Palacio’s turn to wear the gloves and defend Inter’s goal for the final 15 minutes, who were playing with ten men. Supported by his teammates and applauded by the crowd every time he touched the ball, he made a great save from a dangerous header, as he turned it out for a corner kick.
Despite his versatility, it is also worth noting that he was incredibly good at the main job expected of him – scoring goals. Among his many strikes for the Nerazzurri, his triumphant efforts against Juventus, both in Turin and Milan, come to mind. His precise goal against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League is also worth a mention, when Inter almost completed an epic comeback. However, in his opinion his most important goal was the winner in the 2013-2014 derby, when Inter secured all three points in the final stages thanks to his successful back-heeled effort.
Because of his tendency to bag such great goals, he was known as ‘La Joya’ in Argentina. In Italy, he was called ‘El Trenza’ (the braid) due to his distinctive hairstyle. During his time at Huracán, Rodrigo, who used to have long hair, decided to grow a long braid for good luck. Years went by but the braid always remained, even when he decided to shave his hair off. After countless refusals to cut the braid, Palacio finally promised to do so in 2015 should Inter win the league title. It would ultimately remain just a dream, although it’s a tangible sign of how dear the Nerazzurri colours are to him.