WASHINGTON, DC – You’re tired after the long flight and the clock is lying to you: it says you’re six hours behind. Your body is telling you the same thing. But when you arrive in Washington, DC, you instantly realise that you’ve landed in a different world. This is America: that place you’ve always seen on TV.
You take a bus through town and recognise the White House and the other monuments. You’ve seen them in films, heard them in songs. This is the heart of the United States. And when Inter descend on the US capital, something happens. That faraway world from the big screen and your mp3 player is suddenly right there before you. And it comes with two beautiful colours: black and blue.
It’s warm in DC, and so is the reception Inter are given by the US fans. There are lots of them too, all smiling despite the searing temperatures and clammy air. All here for the Nerazzurri.
Mazzarri’s boys only touched down a few hours ago and already they have a workout here at the Catholic University of America: Inter’s training base for their Guinness International Champions Cup preparations; a place Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2008 and Pope Francis is due to visit next year, around about this time.
It’s a huge campus, just as the spaces around it are huge. But the fans are right up close to their heroes, just a few metres away. So it’s easy for them to see club captain Andrea Ranocchia waving at the youngsters. Or Mauro Icardi, who before leaving Italy admitted that “no one likes losing, not even in friendlies”. That’s the right spirit. The sporting spirit, here in the land of fair play.
Yes, you’re tired. But you don’t mind because you’re here with Inter: brothers in the world. And ready for the International Champions Cup.