Inter's academy can rival Barcelona's, claims club CEO ahead of NextGen final
22:31 GMT, 23 March 2012
Inter Milan's CEO believes Claudio Ranieri must blood his youngsters now if the club are to salvage their season and qualify for next year's Champions League.
The Nerazzuri currently lie eighth in Serie A, seven points off third-placed Lazio with ten games to go, and the former Chelsea manager has been told by Inter hierarchy to put his faith in academy stars.
Should Ranieri fail to guide Inter into Europe’s elite competition for their 10th consecutive year, the 60-year-old is under no illusions his job will be on the line.
Jobs for the boys: Inter Milan are through to the NextGen Series Final against Ajax
‘We have two academy players playing now in Internazionale first team – (Marco) Faraoni and (Lorenzo) Crisetig – and I hope that very soon we will have some other players in the first team,’ club CEO Ernesto Paolillo told Sportsmail.
‘I can understand that when the result is very important the coach prefers to play with his very well-known players but I really hope that Ranieri will start to also put in the team other players coming from this primavera (the Inter under-20s side).
‘I appreciate very much what Barcelona is doing now, putting in new players, preparing them for next season.
‘I am sure that our academy is not so far from Barcelona’s academy and Ajax’s academy. So it’s time for the coach to take the best players from primavera and put them into the first team for some games. My personal view is that now is the time.’
Paolillo also confirmed that Ranieri’s position as Inter boss would be assessed at the end of the season but refused to confirm speculation that Andre Villas-Boas had been selected as successor.
‘At the moment all the coaches are candidates because we decide to speak about a new coach only after the end of the season,’ Paolillo said.
Something special: Lorenzo Crisetig has already featured for Inter's first team
‘If I read the newspaper reports, everybody is a candidate. Ranieri knows the situation and he understands it’s better to analyse everything at the end of the season.’
Paolillo was speaking before Inter’s Under 19s beat Marseille’s youngsters 2-0 in the NextGen Series semi-final at Griffin Park.
Bright young thing: Samuele Longo
A sublime free-kick from Crisetig in the first minute and a Marko Livaja tap-in midway through the first half saw Inter through to the final against Ajax on Sunday at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road.
The win provided a modicum of revenge for the Italians after the senior side were knocked out of this season's Champions League by the French club.
Daniel Bessa, the 19-year-old Brazilian, impressed throughout, showing good vision and a quality touch. He also demonstrated he is no pushover physically despite a relatively small stature.
Asked if Inter possess anyone of with the talent of Lionel Messi, a Barca academy graduate, Paolillo said: ‘If I can compare the role, but not compare the players, Bessa is playing at a very great level.
‘Of course Messi is on another planet but Bessa is a very good number 10. He understands very well how to manage the team, to pass the ball very quick. He’s very clever and very technical. At just 19 years old he has time to grow up.’