Derby della Madonnina

Rivalry between social and political classes

The rivalry between A.C. Milan and F.C. Inter have been intense since the first match of the two clubs was played in 1908. A.C. Milan was founded in 1899 by English immigrants, who chose the name “Milan Cricket & Football Club”. A.C. Milan is thus among Italy’s oldest clubs. In 1908, the club experienced an internal fight over the acquisition of foreign players. The discrepancies led to the formation of the F.C. International. As the name suggests, the intention was to create a club which also consisted of foreign players, coaches and managers, which stood in contrast to A.C. Milan, which at that time only allowed players of Italian descent. Historically, F.C. Inter is considered the Milanese middle and upper class club, while A.C. Milan has traditionally been supported by the working class as well as immigrants from southern Italy. Today, the division of supporters into social classes is far from as widespread and strong as before, but both clubs have always had a number of fan groups – “Ultras” – who also express extreme political messages, both right- and left-wing.

Extremely equal competition between two top European clubs

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, built in 1920s fascist Italy and owned by the municipality of Milan, is home to both A.C. Milan and F.C. Inter. For A.C. Milan fans, the stadium with space for 76,000 spectators, will always be called “San Siro” after the district where it is located. F.C. Inter fans, however, prefer the official name after Guiseppe Meazza (1910-1979), who won the World Cup for Italy in 1934 and 1938 and scored 247 goals in 348 matches for F.C. Inter. The Serie A top scorer played for both Milan clubs – 14 seasons for F.C. Inter and “only” 2 for A.C. Milan. The local derby on Sunday is the 229’th official match between the two clubs. The official matches, which include national matches in Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italia as well as international matches (Champions League and Europa League), have always been extremely equal: F.C. Inter have 84 wins, 67 derbys have ended in a draw, while A.C. Milan has pulled victoriously out of the derby 77 times. Also in relation to goals in official matches, the position is exactly the same: F.C. Inter have scored 315 goals against A.C. Milan 304 goals. The intense competition also applies to the number of national titles: F.C. Inter have won the Italian championship – “Il Scudetto” – 19 times, while A.C. Milan has become national champion 18 times. On the European stage, both clubs have also achieved impressive results: A.C. Milan has won the most prestigious European tournament (European Cup for Champions and Champions League) a total of 7 times (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994 and 2003), while F.C. Inter have 3 titles within the same category (1964, 1965 and 2010).

F.C. Inter – the only Italian club to have won

“The Treble” In the 1960s, F.C. Inter are among the world’s best clubs with players such as defensive legends Tarcisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti, midfielder Sandro Mazzola and striker Luis Suarez. Also in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, F.C. Inter several titles – both in Italy and Europe – with goalkeeper Walter Zenga and super defender Giuseppe Bergomi as well as the German trio Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann as the dominant players. The period 2006-2010 with 5 national championships in a row was also a golden time for F.C. Inter. The highlight came in the 2009-2010 season, when the club with José Mourinho as coach – as the only Italian club so far – won “The Treble”: Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League. F.C. Inter’s largest shareholder today is the privately owned Chinese company – Suning Holdings Group – with billionaire Zhang Jindong at the front.

A.C. Milan – the iconic back chain and the Dutch trio

A.C. Milan was bought in the mid-1980s by the controversial billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, who, led by coaching legend Arrigo Sacchi, staged one of the world’s strongest club teams with the iconic back chain: Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti, who did not in their careers played for clubs other than AC Milan. The frightening defense was “supplemented” by the Dutch trio: midfield strategist Frank Rijkaard, creator Ruud Gullit and top striker Marco van Basten. During that period, the club won the Champions League no less than 3 times (1989, 1990 and 1994) and as many as 6 national championships. Berlusconi, who was the Prime Minister of Italy in the period 2008-2011, in 2017 sold the club to one of the world’s largest investment companies – Elliott Management Corporation.

New golden times for the two rivals

Both F.C. Inter and A.C. Milan had difficult sporting and financial conditions over the past decade, where Juventus F.C. from Turin in the period 2011-2020 has won the national championship 9 seasons in a row and also achieved European success with two Champion League finals. Last season, however, was a huge sporting success for both F.C. Inter and A.C. Milan, who became national champion and vice-champion respectively. The top rankings also meant a reunion for A.C. Milan with Champions League after 7 years absence. Also this season, F.C. Inter and A.C. Milan placed at the top of Serie A. Prior to the local derby, A.C. Milan – with defense general Simon Kjær and 40-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic as great profiles – together with S.S.C. Napoli put themselves in the lead of Serie A with an impressive 31 points for 11 matches. F.C. Inter occupy 3’rd place with 24 points, so all indications are that the “Scudetto” will be won by one of the three teams: S.S.C. Napoli, A.C. Milan or F.C. Inter. On Sunday I will – together with my two mates Keld and Torben – enjoy a good lunch in Piazza del Duomi in the center of Milan before we during the afternoon – like more than 70,000 others – find our way to the San Siro for this year’s most important football match : “Forza Nerazzurri” – “Forza Rossoneri”!

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