In the 2020-21 season, few teams in Europe were quite as intense or as clutch as Internazionale. Then led by the effervescent Antonio Conte, the Nerazzurri were one of the teams to watch across the continent. With an aggressive and brave style of play, they pressed and harried their foes into constant mistakes and typically looked to be one of the fittest teams around.
This was followed up with a well-deserved Serie A title, raising the league banner at Giuseppe Meazza for the first time since Jose Mourinho was the Inter coach.
Part of what made the season so successful was the fitness of players, most especially Achraf Hakimi. The wing-back was signed to much acclaim by Inter and the Moroccan set about showing Real Madrid why the sale of the player was a huge mistake. Owing to financial issues, though, both Conte and Hakimi – as well as a few others – are now elsewhere.
Conte is without a job at present but was quick to return to the press to talk about his success in Milan.
Among various topics that came up during his chat with the press was the future of Hakimi. Despite moving to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, the Moroccan looks set to move on again in the future. The player was expected to return to Real Madrid after his loan at Borussia Dortmund ran out. Without a place in the team and keen to raise funds, though, Madrid sold the player on to Inter.
With the player dominating on the right-hand side for the Parisians, though, there is an expectation that he will soon have suitors again. And, according to Conte, it is the chance to return to the Santiago Bernabeu that excites his former charge so much.
What did Antonio Conte say about Achraf Hakimi?
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Conte made clear that his former player is keen to play for Madrid again, saying: “His dream is to play for Real Madrid again as a key player.”
At only 22, Hakimi is seen as one of the brightest prospects of his generation. Coming through the ranks at Madrid, he was long expected to become a key player for Los Blancos. However, a tactical immaturity and regular defensive lapses when at Dortmund had arguably left some decision-makers in Madrid worries that the player might not be suitable for their style of play.
Conte, though, changed everything with the player, though did admit to some teething issues, saying of the early season form for Hakimi at Inter: “Psychologically, Hakimi suffered a little bit from last year’s games. I remember those two games very well. From that point on, he worked a lot and I saw a young player who wanted to learn how to [improve].
“He understood that what he was doing attacking-wise was not enough; now he is among the best in the world. If he keeps working on his final ball, he can be world-class.”
So, if Hakimi is to leave Paris any time in the future, expect it to be for the white of Madrid.