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Derby Della Madonnina Milan Soccer Derby

Derby Della Madonnina: Inter Milan Versus AC Milan Derby

Often referred to as the Milan Derby, the Derby Della Madonnina is a soccer match between the Italian clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan. Each year, the iconic San Siro stadium will host the latest installment of the Derby Di Milano (a.k.a The Milan Derby).

It’s one of the world’s biggest soccer derbies as both clubs play their home games in the San Siro stadium.

SerieA: AC Milan 2-1 Fiorentina
SerieA: AC Milan 2-1 Fiorentina

Over the years, Inter and AC Milan have faced off 295 times in the Derby Della Madonnina. Inter Milan has the edge in official matches, but AC Milan has won more games overall.

Andriy Shevchenko holds the record for most goals in this fixture with 14 for the Rossoneri, which Giuseppe Meazza closely follows with 12 goals for Inter Milan and 1 for AC Milan. In the Italian soccer league Serie A, this fixture is usually held semi-annually.

However, it has also been played in the Coppa Italia ties, and UEFA Champions League matches.

The name “Derby Della Madonnina” derives from Milan’s most famous sight, the Virgin Mary statue that stands above the Duomo, also known as the “Madonnina.”

picture of the ac milan football team in 1907

Schism And Class Struggle

The Milan Cricket and Football Club were founded by Alfred Edwards and others on December 16, 1899. As the club’s first president, Edwards was a well-known member of Milanese high society and the former British vice-consul in Milan.

Edward Berra managed the cricket section of the team, while David Allison managed the soccer section. Under manager Herbert Kilpin’s guidance, the Milan team quickly gained relevance.

In January 1900, the team won its first soccer trophy, the Medaglia del Re (King’s Medal), and it won three national league titles in 1901, 1906, and 1907.

A special significance of the triumph of 1901 was the end of the consecutive winning streak of Genoa, which had been the only soccer team previously to win the national soccer titles.

Due to disagreements over foreign players, the club split in 1908, leading to the formation of Internazionale Milano. In 1908, following a disagreement on recruiting foreign players, members of AC Milan who were in favor of such transfer dealings split from the club to form a new entity.

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Milan, the Rossoneri, faced Inter, the Nerazzurri, for the first derby match just seven months after the schism in the final of the Chiasso Cup. The Rossoneri ran out 2-1 victors and, consequently, one of the biggest rivalries in football was born now known as the Derby Della Madonnina.

In the years following the breakup of AC Milan, a rivalry between the two cross-town clubs began. AC Milan thrashed Inter Milan with eight goals to one on March 3, 1918, in the most notorious scorelines in this derby match’s history.

Historically, Milan supporters were part of the working class, whereas Inter’s followers were the bourgeoisie. Though the class divide isn’t prominent today, the deep-rooted hatred between the supporters remains.

The gulf between AC Milan and Inter Milan has diminished in recent years since Inter is now owned by Massimo Moratti, a businessman on the far left of Italy’s political spectrum. Two consecutive European Cups and the Intercontinental Cup were won by Inter Milan during the 1960s.

However, the most dominant team during the late 1980s and 1990s was AC Milan, with several victories both in Italy and on the European stage.

Sandro Mazzola inter milan soccer legend

Years Of Mazzola and Rivera

Two of the biggest stars of Italian football met during the Milan derby games of the 1960s. Sandro Mazzola was one of Inter’s most famous players, the son of legendary Torino FC star Valentino Mazzola. He died in a plane crash after dominating Serie A for four years.

Golden Boy Gianni Rivera was his counterpart at AC Milan. In this period, there were many great derby matches and an increasing rivalry.AC Milan won the European Cup in 1962-63, and Inter followed it by winning consecutive cups. In 1968-69, Milan won again.

Milan had Nereo Rocco in charge during this period of success, and Inter Milan had Helenio Herrera at the helm. Both coaches coached many well-known soccer players. However, journalists, rather than their incompatibilities, fuelled the rivalry between the two players.

It continued in the Italian national team, where the two players rarely played together and were usually substituted at halftime by the other. In 1970, Rivera lost his starting place to Mazzola in Italy’s 1-4 loss to Brazil in the final. After Italy had already been beaten, he entered the game in the 88th minute.

Rivera could have changed the tide of the World Cup final, and many coaches and Derby Della Madonnina fans viewed this as a mistake by then-coach Ferruccio Valcareggi.

ac milan versus inter milan

A Look Back At The 1990s And 2000s

In the early 1990s there was a rivalry era in which Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, and Ruud Gullit represented AC Milan, and Andreas Brehme, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Lothar Matthäus represented Inter.

Even though AC Milan dominated Italian and European soccer at that time, this rivalry is mainly remembered for its 1990 World Cup match. Having won the previous European Championship in 1988, the Dutch team entered the competition as one of the favorites.

With back-to-back European Cup titles in 1989 and 1990, the Dutch trio enjoyed great success at AC Milan. Inter won the Scudetto in 1989 after Milan won the title in 1988.

It was viewed as a national team version of the Milan derby when Holland met Germany in the World Cup at the San Siro, the home ground of Inter Milan and AC Milan.

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The Dutch lost the high-spirited game when Rijkaard was sent off after spitting on Rudi Völler. German players Klinsman and Brehme scored in Germany’s 2-1 victory, giving Inter fans a moral victory.

AC Milan continued to enjoy success both at home and abroad. Milan’s invincibles were a team led by Fabio Capello that won the club’s fifth European Cup in 1994, beating Cruyff’s FC Barcelona “dream team” 4-0 in one of the most one-sided finals in European soccer history. Fabio Capello led his team to three consecutive European competition finals.

Similarly, Inter Milan has not won a major championship since 1989. However, the Calciopoli scandal returned the 2005-06 title to the team after Juventus was stripped of it by the scandal. With 17 consecutive victories, Inter won both fixtures against Milan on the way to winning the 2007 Serie A title.

paolo maldini

The Maldini Dynasty

The one player who personifies Derby Della Madonnina more than anyone is Milan legend Paolo Maldini. Now operating as the club’s technical director, the 53-year-old was one of the greatest defenders ever to play soccer.

His illustrious 24-year-long career saw him win five European trophies, seven Scudetti, and countless other cups and personal accolades, all while being the ultimate one-club man.

Paolo’s father, Cesare, a Rossoneri legend in his own right, became head coach following a stellar playing career and led Milan to the club’s biggest ever win against their rivals; a 6-0 beatdown of Inter Milan on May 11, 2001.

Paolo’s son, Daniel, a Milan academy product, made his first-team debut 2019-20 season in a 1-1 draw with Verona. However, the young man will have big shoes to fill if he wants to perform like his father and grandfather in the Derby Della Madonnina.

players watch on as fans throw flares onto the soccer field

2004/2005 UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

The second leg of the Champions League quarter-final between AC Milan and Inter on April 12, 2005, was the most infamous Derby Della Madonnina match between the two Milan clubs in all-time history.

Inter Milan fans became infuriated when a second-half Esteban Cambiasso goal was controversially nullified by referee Markus Merk after AC Milan led 1-0 (and 3-0 on aggregate) following an early Andriy Shevchenko goal. He booked Cambiasso moments later for dissent after whistling an Inter player for a foul on Milan keeper Dida.

Flares were soon lit after bottles and debris were thrown onto the pitch. A flare hit Dida in the back of his right shoulder as he tried to clear bottles to take the goal kick. At 74 minutes, referee Merk halted the game.

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As a result of the fire department being called to remove the flares from the pitch after a thirty-minute delay, the soccer match was resumed. Christian Abbiati replaced Dida, who was unable to continue. As the Curva Nord threw more flares and debris, Merk eventually abandoned the game.

In the end, Milan won 3-0, making it a 5-0 aggregate win. AC Milan was through to the semifinals where they would take on PSV Eindhoven.

Despite suffering bruising and first-degree burns to his shoulder, Dida did not miss any time on the field. UEFA levied a heavy fine of €200,000 (£132,000) on Inter Milan, the largest fine ever handed down by the governing body, and ordered them to play four of their Champions League matches behind closed doors for the 2005-06 season as punishment.

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