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7 world-class players sold far too early by Milan and Inter

The San Siro in Milan is one of football’s great amphitheatres.

It houses AC Milan and Inter Milan, two of football’s traditional giants who boast ten European Cups between them.

Therefore to play for either Milan or Inter you have to be a special player. You also have to hit the ground running.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Through the years several magnificent players simply haven’t had the time to show what they can truly do.



1 Roberto Carlos

If rumours are to be believed then both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough came close to signing Carlos when he was at Palmeiras, only for the Brazilian to move to Inter in 1995.

By that time Carlos was already a Brazilian international, but his one and only season at Inter, where he was managed by Roy Hodgson, was a disaster.

The left-back played 30 times as Inter finished seventh. With Inter unsure whether he was a defender or a winger Carlos was sold to Real Madrid, where he proved to be one of the best left-backs of his generation.



2 Patrick Vieira

Five first-team appearances, spread across all competitions, is all Vieira had to show for the year he spent in Milan, between 1995 and 1996.

Vieira had captained Cannes at the age of 19 but the move to a star-studded Milan side, who won Serie A that year, was too much too soon for the Frenchman.

In the end Arsenal paid just £3.5million to bring Vieira to England, edging out competition from Ajax. Money well spent.



3 Roberto Ayala

Ayala, arguably the last great Argentinian centre-back, moved to Milan in 1998 and settled in as part of a cultured back three alongside Alessandro Costacurta and Paolo Maldini.

But he only lasted two seasons in Milan, playing just 24 league games, before he was sold on to Valencia for around £6million.

The Argentine went on to win two league titles, a UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his seven years in Valencia, as well as being named the Defender of the Year by UEFA in 2001.



4 Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo was never a main feature at Inter, spending time out on loan at Reggina and Brescia before crossing the divide to join Milan in the summer of 2001.

What Inter didn’t realise at the time was that they’d sold one of the best deep-lying midfielders in modern football to their arch-rivals.

While Inter cursed their luck Pirlo spent ten seasons at Milan, winning three league titles and two Champions League trophies.

Milan then inexplicably made the same mistake Inter had done and allowed Pirlo to join Juventus, where he won another four consecutive league titles.



5 Leonardo Bonucci

Bonucci made just one appearance for Inter, in 2006, before being sold to Treviso in the second division of Italian football.

He’s since worked his way back to the club, through spells at Pisa and Bari, and can now legitimately claim to be one of the best defenders in world football due to his form with Juventus and the Italian national team.

The 29-year-old is exactly the type of calming influence Inter have been crying out for in the heart of defence ever since Lucio and Walter Samuel departed.



6 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang was allegedly referred to as ‘the boy with square feet’ while at Milan, according to his agent Yvan Le Mee.

That would explain why he never made a senior appearance for the club in the three years leading up to a permanent move to Saint-Etienne.

The boy with square feet has developed into one of Europe’s most fearsome strikers at Borussia Dortmund, and could have his pick of clubs this summer.

Let’s hope Milan included a heft sell-on fee when they let him go.



7 Philippe Coutinho

Inter make no attempts to hide their anger at allowing Coutinho to join Liverpool for £8.5million in 2013, with sporting director Piero Ausilio describing it as one of his ‘greatest regrets’ in over 20 years at the club.

He was never really given an opportunity by Rafael Benitez after a long-awaited move from Vasco da Gama, despite chairman Massimo Moratti labelling him the ‘future of Inter’.

As with Aubameyang, if Coutinho were to leave Liverpool in the summer he could walk into almost any squad in world football.