Lothar, Ballon d’Or forever

MILAN – 10 March 1991 must have been a day like the one yesterday that saw the Nerazzurri beat Torino at home. A calm, sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze hinting that spring is on the way. When Milan is beautiful, it’s gorgeous.

Anyway, back to 10 March 1991. In Milan down on the stage of “La Scala del Calcio”, history was being made, something that had never happened before then. The sun decided to stop for a few minutes and light up one person. He obviously was wearing a Nerazzurri shirt, and carried with him an aura of pure charisma, to go with an unforgettable face and a memorable smile.

It was 10 March 1991 and Lothar Matth�us, the leader of a dominant Inter side in Europe – who just a few months later would hold aloft the UEFA Cup in Rome – was ready to drive his team-mates into yet another battle, towards yet another win. Who better than he, the captain and icon of the West Germany side crowned world champions the previous June?

That day Inter beat Juventus 2-0, and he scored the first goal with a thumping drive from outside the box, just to confirm he was the best around, not just there that day, but all over the world. Because before that match one of the best-loved number 10s of all time shared the ultimate individual prize for a footballer with his fans: the light struck him just as he brandished the Ballon d’Or. He was the first ever Inter player to win it.

He will always have a place in Nerazzurri hearts. It was 10 March, 23 years ago. But to us, it really does seem like yesterday.