The youngest president in the history of the Lombardy club has been educated in the best business schools

Zhang, the home appliance guru who has brought Inter back to European glory

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PHOTO/EMILIO ANDREOLI/ANSA via AP - Zhang Jindong and Erick Thohir

Gone are the days of Massimo Moratti at the helm of Inter Milan. The son of Angelo, who his father put at the helm of the Italian club from 1995 to 2013. The petrodollars of Saras, the family business, left Inter to Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, who left Moratti as honorary president of the club for life.  

But Thohir did not end up becoming part of the Neroazzurri family and resold 70 % of the shares to Zhang Jindong, the owner of the Suning group dedicated to the sale of household appliances. At that point, his son Steven, born in China in 1991 and educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Morgan Stanley, took over the club.  

In 2016 he joined the board and in 2018 he became the Lombardy outfit's youngest ever president at 26. Quite an achievement in a competition led by true dinosaurs on and off the pitch.  

Zhang combines Asian and European culture and is a huge football fan. Perhaps, that perfect blend is what Espanyol's Asian managers, so far removed from the fans and with the team on the brink of the second division, do not have.  

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With Asian money as his punishment, Zhang is aiming to take Inter Milan to the top of European football. He came close in 2020 but his team lost the Europa League final to Sevilla 3-2 in a final played in August in Germany and marked by an empty stadium due to the pandemic.  

Inter's president set out to grow the club in every aspect, not just sporting. His business value has risen by 40% and Zhang has joined the select club of the ECA, the European Club Association, as a member of the Executive Board, the first of Chinese origin in the association's history.  

His management has already enabled him to lift a Serie A in 2021, a Coppa Italia and an Italian Super Cup in 2022. Lautaro Martinez, Dzeko and Lukaku are the front line with which he will go to Istanbul on 10 June to lift the Champions League again 13 years after Mourinho did it with Inter at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Barella, Dumfries and Acerbi, along with the veteran Mkhitaryan, have not been enough to win the Scudetto, but Simone Inzaghi has managed to make the team outweigh the individuals and the name of Internazionale Milan is once again ringing out in Europe.  

Zhang is the architect of Milan's madness. He has put the Madonnina derby on the map of world football with a thrashing of Milan, who were barely able to defend themselves. From selling household appliances in the family business to reigning supreme in European football.