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The Derby della Madonnina is here - who have you got?

The Derby della Madonnina is here - who have you got?

Wed, Oct 14, 20

The Derby della Madonnina is here - who have you got?

The Derby della Madonnina is one of the biggest matches in world football. Every year when the Serie A fixtures come out fans look for the AC Milan v Inter Milan dates. Even this year during crazy COVID times, which will prevent many passionate fans from filling the San Siro stadium, the interest around the globe is massive.

This season’s Derby di Milano is one of the most intriguing and anticipated ones in recent memory. Why? Because Inter should and must challenge for the Scudetto this season under Antonio Conte, and Milan have changed their fortunes ever since Stefano Pioli took the side on a stellar run of form at the back end of last season, thanks largely to the impact veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has had on this young Milan side.

Once again the two Milan clubs are playing at the top levels we have associated them with in the past. Facing off in a derby that will mean even more this year, given both are in the mix for the top places come the end of the season.

First let’s take a look at the history of the Derby and the two clubs, which you may not have known existed as one club once upon a time. Crazy, right?

The history

AC Milan was founded as Milan Football and Cricket Club in 1899 by English expatriates Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin. Milan won their first Italian championship in 1901, followed by two more in 1906 and 1907. To honour the club’s English origins, it retained the English spelling of the city’s name, rather than Milano.

In 1908 things became rocky though. Disagreements began within the club regarding the signing of foreign players. A group of Italians and Swiss members were frustrated with the domination of Italians within the team and broke away to create their own team – FC Internazionale Milano. The name Internazionale (International) was decided on due to the wish of the founding members to accept players from all over the world, not just Italians like their past club, AC Milan.

"This wonderful night bestows us with the colours of our crest: black and azure against a gilded backdrop of stars. It shall be called International, because we are brothers of the world."

The first derby match between these two new rivals was in 1908, when the two sides met in the final of the Chiasso Cup, a tournament played in Switzerland. AC Milan were the victors on that occasion, winning 2-1. The Derby della Madonnina gets its name from the iconic virgin Mary (Madonnina) statue that sits proudly in gold on the top of one of Milan’s biggest cultural landmarks, the Duomo di Milano.

The two clubs have played many games ever since that first encounter, with 225 official matches so far in their history. Inter Milan have the most wins at 82. While AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko has the most goals (14).

Both clubs have been massively successful since they began, with many a great team and legendary managers having produced football the world had never seen before. Most notbaly AC Milan’s incredible team managed by Arrigo Sacchi - featuring the likes of Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and of course Franco Baresi. Sacchi, an up and coming surprise hire by now former President Silvio Berlusconi back in 1986 has inspired many a manager to this day, with the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp massively influenced by Sacchi’s methods - just to name a few. 

The fans



Being two of the biggest clubs in Italy means that both have two massive supporter bases. Historically, fans of both teams have had a generally good relationship within the city. You won’t find as much, if any, violence during these games which is in stark contrast to other derbies, such as the Derby della Capitale (Rome derby featuring Roma vs Lazio).

This coexistence and acceptance was solidified with a peace pact made back in 1983 after violence was deemed not good for anyone – especially given that within any Milanese family, it isn't uncommon for the family to be split into two in terms of who they support. Because of this, both sets of fans decided that there was to be a guarantee of safety in and around the stadium. If families wanted to go to the game and enjoy themselves, they could do without any threat of violence. To this day fans of both teams can walk side by side to the games with their colours proudly on display.

This peace pact certainly doesn’t take that Ultras edge off the game though. What is absolutely allowed is for both sets of fans to go at each other in the stands on match day with chanting, tifos and displays. Nothing if off limits. That means on matchday the Curva Nord (north curve) which is home to the Inter Ultras and the Curva Sud (south curve) which is home to AC Milan's are usually packed to the rafters with colours, flares and insulting displays aimed at their rival. It all makes for one hell of a spectacle.

Derby della Madonnina

Sometimes this passion can spill onto the pitch, like the infamous 2004/05 Champions League quarter-final which was abandoned after 72 minutes with Milan leading 1-0, due to flares thrown onto the pitch by Inter supporters - one of which hit Milan goalkeeper Dida. UEFA awarded the win to Milan when went on to make the final, only to lose on penalties to Liverpool in the thrilling 3-3 Final in Istanbul.

Obviously due to COVID there will be no fans in the San Siro this time around, but you can be sure living rooms around Milano and across the world will be as passionate as ever. Let’s hope by the time the second derby this season comes around, fans will be allowed back in the stands.

The players



There have been so many phenomenal players to play for both Milan clubs. Two though stand alone for their respective clubs in terms of impact, through the sheer number of games they played and the legacy they have left.

Javier Zanetti played 858 times for Inter Milan between 1995 and 2014. The Argentine legend played in defence and midfield and his versatility and work ethic went hand in hand with Inter Milan’s ethos. A club of hard work and dedication. Zanetti would have been a perfect player for Antonio Conte in terms of the sheer devotion and the hard work he put in to drive the club to success, success which included 16 trophies – most notably the 2010 Champions League win under Jose Mourinho.

Then you have Paulo Maldini, arguably the greatest defender of all-time and in the mix for the greatest player ever when you consider the 5 European Cup/Champions League titles he won. Amazingly, he won his first European Cup for Milan back in the 1988/89 season and his last in the 2006/07 season. It should come as no surprise to read that he played a staggering 902 games for the Rossoneri. Think about the players that came and went during those years under Sacchi, Capello and Ancelotti. His longevity to stay at the top of his game for that long and not only hold his position in the team, but be so crucial, is a testament to the individual. He did have good genes after all, with his father Cesare being another Milan legend who played over 300 games for the club.

The Maldini name looks set to continue at the club into the future as well with Paulo’s son, Daniel, now in the first team. Having followed in his grandfather and fathers’ footsteps, the 19-year-old will do well even if he plays a fraction of the games they both played. We’re hoping it works out well.

Both Maldini and Zanetti are still involved with their respective clubs, with Maldini the current technical director at Milan and Zanetti the current vice-president at Inter. Both still as passionate as ever to help guide their clubs to the heights they both reached as players. One recent little win for Maldini was the signing of Sandro Tonali who looked destined for Inter – a signing we may well be talking about as a legend in years to come.

The jerseys

Talk about iconic. Both Milan clubs have unmistakable jerseys. The famous red and black and black and blue jerseys are instantly recognisable around the world, traditionally both in their stunning striped designs.

Inter Milan and AC Milan Football Jerseys

This season though, things are a little bit different – especially for Inter. Inter have followed Juventus of late by making serious inroads in their attempts to modernise the club. They haven’t changed their logo like Juventus did, but they have completely ramped things up across all their marketing platforms to take the next step – and it doesn’t get any more modern than their wavy new Nike 20/21 home jersey. The thought of wavy stripes might seem shocking to the most devoted of Inter fans, but it goes to show just how far Inter are going to shake things up as they launch an attack on the top of the table and across the world as a global brand.

Over at AC Milan, Puma have really pulled out something special as well this season. Milan’s glamour and creativity is on display on the Puma 20/21 home jersey, inspired by the elegance and grandeur of the city and it’s breathtaking structures and architecture – most notably the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which sits right in the heart of town. We think it’s a tough call, but we actually lean towards AC Milan as having the better of the two, only just!

The result?

It’s actually so hard to say, which makes this game so much more mouth-watering. Milan have made a perfect start with 3 straight wins this season, while Inter have drawn at Lazio and conceded 3 against Fiorentina at home. A matching in which they only just managed to scrape away with a 4-3 win.

Milan have conceded no goals so far and with Zlatan Ibrahimović, a man who has starred for both Milan clubs, having given the Rossoneri belief and a real threat up front – they seem destined to have a good season after hitting the ground running. Welcome news for Milan fans who have seen their side really struggle since winning the last Scudetto in the 2010/11 season under Massimiliano Allegri - the last any other team has won since the Juventus juggernaut of 9 straight titles, spearheaded by now Inter manager Antonio Conte.

We're predicting Milan will finally concede goals and end up with a 2-2 draw. Inter will probably end up having the better season, potentially even winning the Scudetto, but there’s so much to like about both teams and their futures ahead.

Who do you think will win? Let us know in the poll below for your chance to win a jersey of your choice!


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