Internazionale won two consecutive European Cups in 1964 and 1965, with the latter victory against Benfica at San Siro being the first and still only time that a club had won the trophy on home ground (though Inter played in their white change shirts to aid viewers on black-and-white television).
However, apart from 1967 and 1972 final defeats to Celtic and Ajax respectively, the Nerazzurri struggled to contend for the continent’s top prize. That would finally change in 2009-10 when, fittingly, they wore first and second kits by Nike that definitely ticked the ‘classic’ box, but notable mashups would be seen in big games en route to glory.
José Mourinho’s side shared a group with Barcelona, Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kyiv, with a record of two wins, three draws and a defeat at the Nou Camp sending them through to the last 16.
There, they would face Chelsea, with a 2-1 home win over coach Mourinho’s former club putting them in a potentially precarious position ahead of the second leg in London. With the hosts preferring white socks with their blue shirts and shorts, Inter wore the black home socks with the white change shirts and shorts and Samuel Eto’o got the only goal at Stamford Bridge to send them through to the quarter-finals.
A pair of 1-0 wins over Lokomotiv Moscow in the last eight set up a renewal of acquaintance with Barcelona in the semi-finals. The ash cloud in the wake of the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull meant that the competition holders Barça had to travel to Milan by road for the first leg and Inter won 3-1. Clad in all-white in the Camp Nou for the second leg, the Italians lost 1-0 on the night but sufficiently frustrated their hosts to advance to the decider.
Bayern Munich would provide the opposition in the final and, under normal circumstances, their all-red kit wouldn’t be a cause for any issues against Inter’s stripes. However, they opted to showcase their new kit for 2010-11 in the final in Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, home of Real Madrid. Tying in with the club’s 110th anniversary, the motif for the new strip was ‘Legenden und Loyalität‘ and it took inspiration from the red-and-white striped shirts of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The knock-on effect for Inter was that it had black socks and, as Bayern were the ‘home’ side, they would have to change.
Reversing the permutation used at Chelsea, they used the white socks with the home shirts (note the reversed striping on the back, with blue in the centre) and shorts – used in the Milan derby on occasion when required – while there was commemorative text beneath the Scudetto on the front.
On the night – the first time the final was played on a Saturday – the change didn’t knock Inter out of their stride as a pair of Diego Milito goals gave them a 2-0 win.