Strikers such as the Brazilian Derlei and his compatriot, then 19-year-old Carlos Alberto, were unheralded as were Benni McCarthy and Dmitri Alenichev.
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So when Mourinho looks at his hand tonight when he can field Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito or Goran Pandev ahead of Wesley Sneijder he must think it a good one.
Mourinho last month called this Inter Milan line-up 'my team', because he feels he has added attacking intent since Inter's meek exit at the hands of Manchester United this time last season, when 36-year-old Luis Figo went on as a substitute in the second leg.
Figo replaced teenager Mario Balotelli, whom Mourinho clearly distrusts but has had to acknowledge as a rising talent, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the line.
Ibrahimovic's sale brought Eto'o to Inter last summer and the Cameroonian has since scored 10 goals for the team, although only one in the Champions League.
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Chelsea, and certainly John Terry, know Eto'o well after last season's semi-final in the competition. He has been away at the Africa Cup of Nations and has not scored this year for Inter.
It is possible that Mourinho will decide to have Milito and Pandev up front and use Eto'o as a key substitute.
Milito is the club's top scorer, with 18 goals this season, while Pandev arrived only in December after a long and bitter contractual dispute with Lazio.
Mourinho rates Milito, despite the 30-year-old's peculiar career. The Argentinian was prolific with Genoa and Real Zaragoza in La Liga, but this is his first Champions League season. He has made 21 appearances in eight years and is not certain to go to the World Cup.
Varied career: Milito
Inter spent £22million on taking Milito and defender Thiago Motta from Genoa. The striker scored 24 league goals for Genoa last season, as they came fifth.
Milito has not been overawed at the San Siro, but nor has Pandev, who scored three times in his first five Inter matches and was lethal against AC Milan in his first Milan derby. The Macedonian's pass set up Milito for the opening goal and Pandev then bent in a beautiful free-kick for the second.
Eight years after he first joined the club, having been loaned out and sold, Beardsley-esque Pandev was able to say he belonged to Inter.
Dutchman Sneijder is the fourth player in his first real Inter season and the former Real Madrid man will be expected to start and to do for Inter what Deco did for Mourinho's Porto.
Mourinho was often pragmatic at Stamford Bridge, but his creativity at Porto and now with Inter must also be acknowledged.
Chelsea could be in real danger tonight and even Italians could find themselves praising Mourinho.
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