He followed his uncle as a child to the San Siro, today he drags him on and off the pitch. And after the goal in Riyadh he has the opportunity to repeat himself
Federico Dimarco is not an Inter fan, he is something more. Since he was a child the mood of his days, even the color of the sky, changed based on the result of the Nerazzurri. Imagine now that those colors, loved above all things, wear them as if they were a sacred garment. With Milan then the interism of “Dima” multiplies: it would be enough to see him again in Riyadh, megaphone in hand, singing and bobbing along with the ultras who arrived as far as Arabia for the Super Cup. But in addition to being a reference outside, for the long years of training in the youth sector and in the curve, it is in the field that Dimarco is marking the path.
The first trophy of the season, right against his cousins, he addressed himself, scoring the 1-0 goal that opened the waters. Scoring would not be his main job and, in fact, in Inter’s other great match in 2023, Federico used his left foot in the most congenial way for him: a cross came out from his left foot as sharp as a blade and Dzeko just had to put the head to stop the leaders. In the Italian Cup the number 32 gave way to the willing Gosens, who tried to make sense of this season as a supporting actor. At the end of the match, however, the German himself spread his arms and recognized the hierarchy: “Yes, Dimarco is in great shape…”. In short, there is only one leader on the Inter left: he will return to his lands on Sunday, in the most important challenge for a Milanese from the Calvairate district. On the same wing, on the other side, he will meet the captain of the Devil, who gave him a toothache two weeks ago. But with Davide Calabria the relationship goes far beyond the city rivalry: the two met in the youth national teams and have common memories that they will cherish for a long time. In the final tournament of the 2015 U17 European Championship in Slovakia, one was at left-back and the other at right-back. Their joy stopped on penalties, in the final they lost against Russia.
To explain what it means for him to dress in black, play a derby and even solve it, we need to go back to the early 2000s: he wasn’t even in elementary school and Federico was already trying to hit with his left foot like Vieri. And he already frequented the North curve, a ritual for Uncle Sergio when he wasn’t with his father Gianni in their historic fruit and vegetable shop in Corso di Porta Romana, now a pilgrimage destination for romantic nerazzurri. Goals and memories are concentrated there, on the concrete pitch in front of the family shop. Federico known as “Whiskey” considered San Siro home, far from the real one in the Calvairate area, between Viale Molise and Piazzale Cuoco, where his parents still live. It seems that with every play by Dimarco the neighbors explode again.
At the age of eight, Federico entered the youth sector for the first time, welcomed by Giuliano Rusca, a football master and still today the manager of the Nerazzurri’s grassroots activity: physically he didn’t seem suitable, but it was enough to see him kick to change his mind. In the journey through the youth teams, “Dima” smoothed out the excesses, transformed himself from a shy playmaker into a courageous sidekick. He went through the whole process with another Federico kissed by talent: with Bonazzoli, now at Salernitana, he was cannibal of youth titles. He won an Under 15 championship, an Under 17 championship, a Viareggio tournament and a Coppa Italia Primavera. Those two together made sparks, even if sometimes two balls would have been needed. The rest, then, is history, really common to many kids from the big teams: first at 17, in December 2014, the debut in the Europa League with Mancini, then the Odyssey of loans. A lot of bench in Ascoli, Empoli, Sion plus a bad foot injury. With Parma at San Siro in 2018 came the luxury of the first goal in Serie A to tell the grandchildren: left at the crossroads against Inter, sometimes fate can be mocking. In Verona with Juric he added the last pages of the book and for two years there he was, finally returning home. Last season he still took the plate of Perisic, in this one he made Ivan Terribile forget. Inside the locker room, he is the only true Milanese and guardian of Interismo. In addition, he has become Romelu Lukaku’s best friend: the rebirth of the Belgian, perhaps already from the derby, also passes through Dimarco’s qualities as a motivator.
February 3 – 07:54
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