Handanovic at Inter: From undisputed starter to selflessly playing coach’s role – a sign of his retirement plan?

Having been dislodged in goal by Andre Onana, Inter's Samir Handanovic has assumed the role of coach from the sidelines for the Nerazzurri this season, perhaps hinting at what lies in the near future for him.

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Samir Handanovic has lost his place in between the posts at Inter to Andre Onana, but there are signs that the veteran goalkeeper might be ready to coach once he has retired from playing.

The 38-year-old featured in the first eight rounds of the 2022/23 Serie A season, but he was dropped after the 2-1 defeat to Roma on Matchday 8.

However, this has allowed Handanovic to play a more motivational role from the sidelines instead of him barking instructions on the pitch.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Onana had shared a story on Instagram with Handanovic giving him instructions like he was the coach instead of Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.

There were other moments throughout the 4-3 win against Fiorentina on Matchday 11 of Serie A action such as when the Slovenian was advising Denzel Dumfries before replacing Matteo Darmian, and when he was having tactical discussions with Inzaghi, he would place a hand over his mouth so nobody could lipread what he was saying.

Handanovic has not been as reliable as he has been in goal in previous years. Despite the odd good performance, the 38-year-old has shown to be erratic at times, either by mishandling the ball or failing to read the play properly.

Onana has taken his place on the pitch, but the Slovenian has not treated this situation like he knows his playing career will end. Instead, Handanovic has treated this like an early start to a potential coaching career, motivating and advising his teammates in the best way possible without undermining Inzaghi.

Inter goal posts in safe hands with Onana

Andre Onana has featured for Inter in all four Champions League matches so far but he had to wait for Matchday 9 to earn his Serie A debut.

Although the Cameroonian has kept just one clean sheet in the Italian league so far, the Nerazzurri have won all three matches in which the former Ajax goalkeeper has featured in. When Handanovic was in goal, the Biscione won four matches, but also lost four in Serie A.

Handanovic is an old-style goalkeeper who can make fantastic saves and he is more comfortable when he is on his line, whereas Onana is a much more modern practitioner of the role, a goalkeeper who can make great saves and loves to play with the ball with his feet as well.

With Onana being a ready-made replacement in goal, this should make any potential transition into coaching easier for Handanovic, knowing that his place in the Inter squad is taken, and the club do not have to rush out to find another experienced goalkeeper once the Slovenian retires.

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