In his second spell as Inter Milan coach in 1999, Hodgson – who took charge of the Italian giants for six games as a favour – did not want to take any money from his friend Massimo Moratti, the club’s president.
But Moratti insisted on remunerating the Englishman for his time, so the cultured Hodgson asked for an unusual form of payment – opera tickets for the venue where Luciano Pavarotti was singing.
“The second time Roy came to Inter as manager for a few weeks he did not ask for money but instead asked for tickets at (famous Milan opera house) La Scala,” Moratti said in a Sun interview.
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“He didn’t want to be paid, and it was for one month or something. He told me ‘no, no, no, I don’t want to be paid by you. I do it because we are friends and you need me.
“I asked him ‘please, I don’t want you to do it without anything from my side. I insisted, and he told me ‘if you (insist), I have to say that I will have tickets for La Scala.
“We went together, of course.”
Hodgson originally managed Inter Milan between 1995 and 1997, leading a side which had previously struggled in mid-table to a top-three Serie A finish and the UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Schalke.
The Englishman, who spent most of his career abroad before joining Fulham in 2007, resigned his post at Inter after that UEFA Cup defeat so that he could return home with Blackburn. That did not work out and he was back at Inter soon afterwards, albeit on a temporary basis.
Moratti, who is renowned for being trigger-happy with coaches, said that Hodgson quit his first job at Inter in an honourable fashion – while he had clearly improved the team’s fortunes, a demanding supporter base abused him for failing to overcome Schalke in that two-legged final.
“He became friends with me and my family. He is the only coach that I know that told me ‘maybe you’re not happy, Mr Moratti. I know it’s a problem for you to finish our working relationship, so I’ll tell you I want to leave Inter whenever you want’.
“Normally coaches stay until they are fired, it’s difficult to finish things. But Roy was fantastic.”
Hodgson's working relationship with Moratti did not end there though - in the months before he took the Fulham job, Roy was working as a director of football for Inter.
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