International Champions Cup Singapore

Inter get into the swing of things

Cup Tweetbits: Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara (left) watching the Bayern-Chelsea ICC friendly on TV at home after pulling out from the club’s summer tour last week to recuperate from a thigh injury.
Cup Tweetbits: Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara (left) watching the Bayern-Chelsea ICC friendly on TV at home after pulling out from the club’s summer tour last week to recuperate from a thigh injury. PHOTO: TWITTER/THIAGO6
Cup Tweetbits: Diehard Blues fans from Malaysia making their way down the North-South Expressway to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur to watch the game at the National Stadium.
Cup Tweetbits: Diehard Blues fans from Malaysia making their way down the North-South Expressway to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur to watch the game at the National Stadium. PHOTO: TWITTER/ IMOUTMOFOS
Cup Tweetbits: A true blue Chelsea fan bar none: “I know it looks like prison, but it wasn’t. Met the man behind the title, manager Antonio Conte”.
Cup Tweetbits: A true blue Chelsea fan bar none: “I know it looks like prison, but it wasn’t. Met the man behind the title, manager Antonio Conte”. PHOTO:TWITTER/LIQOTINEE

Italian Serie A side are the last team to arrive but their own fan base are no less passionate

Groups of eager fans had gathered at their fellow competitors' hotels, cheering their heroes' arrival wildly when Chelsea and Bayern Munich flew into Singapore on Sunday.

In contrast, Inter Milan, the third and final team to arrive for the Singapore leg of the International Champions Cup (ICC), touched down yesterday to a far more low-key welcome just before dawn.

The team flew in from Nanjing after they edged Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 on Monday and were greeted by a handful of Inter Club Singapore fans among others at Changi Airport and their hotel.

One such fan was Malaysian Asyraf Aziz, who had made the trip from Kuala Lumpur solely to catch his favourite team in action.

The die-hard Inter Milan fan of 15 years was among the first few to reach the team's Mandarin Oriental base at 8am.

His 13-hour vigil was duly rewarded when he managed to snap selfies with numerous Inter Milan players such as Eder, Stevan Jovetic, Gabriel Barbosa and Roberto Gagliardini as they came and went throughout the day.

STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF

I feel like it's a dream come true that I got so many photos with them. They've not been to Malaysia so... I still get to see them live for the first time.

ASYRAF AZIZ, Inter fan from Malaysia, admits things can't get any better for him.

"I feel like it's a dream come true that I got so many photos with them," said the 28-year-old, who revealed that he preferred pictures to autographs because they were more sentimental.

"With pictures at least I can remember," he added.

Asyraf, who will be attending Inter's first match on Thursday against Bayern Munich, is well aware of the Nerazzurri's decline in form over the years.

The team finished seventh in the Serie A last season, a far cry from their treble-winning season seven years ago.

Nonetheless, Asyraf was still keen to make the trip to Singapore.

"I'm hoping for a positive result. They've not been to Malaysia so no matter what, I still get to see them live for the first time," he said.

Following their arrival, Inter launched their new Nike home kit for the upcoming season at Weston Corporation's Kallang Wave mall outlet with Gagliardini, Milan Skriniar and Borja Valero gracing the event.

The trio signed autographs and memorabilia for fans after the unveiling.

Gagliardini also entertained the 50-strong crowd by taking on Singapore Under-20 player Armin Maier in a "One v One" challenge which the Italian international won.

Inter will kick off their ICC Singapore campaign tomorrow when they face German champions Bayern Munich at the National Stadium.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'Inter get into the swing of things'. Print Edition | Subscribe