Derby Di Milano: How has it shaped over the years?

Has the history, ownership, managers or the city itself shaped what Milan Derby is?

Home of Milan football, San Siro is always the place to be in when Inter and Milan square off. The Milan Derby was first played in 1908 after the split of the two clubs which Milan won 2-1. 

In 1926, Milan Derby was first played in the Italian top flight and as of today, both the clubs have similar records in the fixture. Milan has been more successful in Europe with 7 Champions League to their name and Inter with only 3. The impact of the derby goes way beyond these numbers and is always a matter of pride and valour for the teams and fans being fans they always look forward to the fixture when the schedule for the new season comes out.

Has the past played its part?

For Inter, the golden era of the 60s under Helenio Herrera was similar to what AC Milan achieved in the initial years of the Berlusconi regime. The involvement of people like Moratti, Capello, and Mourinho added more spice to the fixture. 

AC Milan became serial winners under two of their former players, Capello and Ancelloti. A succession of title wins for Inter during the noughties has made them restore parity with their neighbours. Feist has never faded away between them nor hatred. Either want to get over the other and paint the city with their colours. 

How did the mighty fell?

May 22, 2010, probably goes down as the greatest day in Italian Football, as Inter Milan lifted the UEFA Champions League Cup and became the first Italian team to treble. As Inter Milan reached the zenith of European football, maintaining that status was something Inter just couldn’t live up to. An ageing squad and mismanagement of funds set Inter on a downward trajectory. 

As the core of the squad retired or moved on from the club in the next three years and manager Jose Mourinho departed for Real Madrid, Inter found themselves in the phase where they needed a rebuild but could not successfully orchestrate it. While Inter were dealing with the rebuild their city rivals AC Milan were gradually moving along the same path that Inter Milan took and their on-pitch performance deteriorated massively. Silvio Berlusconi, the man behind the making of great AC Milan, was ultimately the reason they moved from centre stage to the shadows. Berlusconi was caught up in many investigations of tax evasion and a staggering 532m Euro lawsuit against his holding company “Fininvest.”

As the finances dwindled, star players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Andrea Pirlo were sold to be replaced by Duvan Zapata, Philipe Mexes and many more. The once fearful AC Milan side was now struggling to finish in European Places with a revolving door of managers. Even though both Milan clubs suffered on the pitch for the best part of the last decade, the Milan derby was always a spectacle to behold for the local and visiting fans.

Resurgence in Milan 

This season however both AC Milan and Inter Milan started with their foot on the accelerator. Heavy spending in the summer by Inter Milan to boost their squad and astute transfer and loan signings by AC Milan, seemed to do the trick, as both the clubs went toe to toe for the Scudetto this season. The Derby di Milano had implications on the league table this season in a very long time when AC Milan hosted Inter with a point separating them at the top. Sadly due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans were not allowed to witness the derby in the stadium, but it was watched by the fans worldwide with sheer excitement. 

Over the years the Milan clubs have battled their hearts out for the bragging rights to the city and like all great clubs, they have had their ups and downs. But after ending Juventus’ dominion over Serie A, Inter is now the team to beat in Italy. The Milan clubs locked the front seats in the table last season, but surely AC Milan would not be happy seeing the Scudetto in Blue and Black and would fight tooth and nail to win the title from their neighbours. As the new season dawns, the fans are back in the stadium harbouring new hopes of glory for these great clubs from the city of Milan, now whether they live up to the expectations of the fans or not, the Derby di Milano would be a red-letter day this season for the fans across the globe.