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Clarence Seedorf Reveals Why He Left Real Madrid for Inter Milan in December 1999

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Modern Serie A legend Clarence Seedorf has recalled how his transfer from Real Madrid to Inter Milan came about in late 1999, revealing that he jumped at the chance and cut short a winter-break holiday when the offer from the Nerazzurri came through.

Seedorf is better known for his lengthy and trophy-laden spell with city rivals AC Milan, but the move to Inter marked his return to Italy after an earlier spell with Sampdoria. After that, he didn't leave Serie A for 12 years until the twilight of his career was briefly spent with Botafogo in Brazil.


The Dutch midfielder had been a Champions League winner with Real in 1998, his second success in the competition after helping Ajax to victory as a teenager in 1995, and was thriving. But financial trouble at the Bernabeu saw him sold to raise funds.

Narrating a social media video chronicling the transfer to Inter, Seedorf explained, "I heard that the club was discussing my transfer with some other clubs - Roma, Arsenal and Manchester (United).

"The club needed money and I was the highest ticket for them to sell, so we decided to [part] ways," he added.

"I got the phone call from Marcello Lippi. I was in Rio de Janeiro (on holiday) at that point - he woke me up actually - I said, 'Hello, who is this?'."

Unlike today where the Premier League and La Liga dominate, Serie A was the most revered league in the world at that time, and Seedorf had little doubt in his mind he wanted to go when he heard what Lippi had planned for him at Inter.


"He said, 'I want you to come to Inter and play behind Ronaldo and (Christian) Vieri.'

"I said, 'Can you say that again? Give me just five minutes, I will pack my stuff, I am coming.'

"I accepted; I went to Italy a few days later and started my journey with Inter. It was short, but amazing."


By the summer of 2002, Seedorf had switched sides inside the San Siro, heading to Milan in a deal that promising full-back Francesco Coco head to Inter in the opposite direction.