RIVALRY SERIES: INTERNAZIONALE vs. A.C. MILAN, DERBY DELLA MADONNINA
Updated: Feb 12
This article was originally published on February 12th, 2020.
Internazionale launched a superb second-half comeback at the weekend, coming from 2-0 down to stun rivals AC Milan and go top of Serie A.
The 4-2 victory for Internazionale was the latest edition of the colorful 112-year rivalry, that has captured the imagination of sports fans across the globe.
Milan Cricket and Football Club
In December 1899, a number of English ex-pats along with some local Italians decided to found the Milan Cricket and Football Club.
Initially, the organization was run with a cricket section and a soccer section. The soccer side would find success early on winning their first trophy the King's Medal, in January 1900, and would go on to win three national leagues, in 1901, 1906, and 1907.
In 1908, Italian soccer authorities would decide to set up two different national championships. The Italian Championship would be the main league, however only Italian nationals would be allowed to compete, and the Federal Championship would be created as a secondary league, which would allow foreign players to participate.
This division caused disagreement within the organization on which league the club should participate in. Alfred Edwards, who was the club chairman, recommended that the club should aim for the Italian Championship, as the club was designed to be for the local Milanese people.
However, the decision for a club created largely by English ex-pats to join the Italian Championship would leave a number of the club's non-Italian players ineligible to play.
The club initially decided to choose to join the Federal Championship but ended up withdrawing from the competition a few weeks before their first game, due to infighting within the club.
On March 9th, 1908, the infighting reached boiling point, causing the club to split. Creating the foundation for Internazionale Milano, a club that would welcome international players into their club.
Internazionale founders would proclaim "This wonderful night bestows us with the colors 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 game between the two Milanese rivals would be held in Chiasso, Switzerland, on October 18th, 1908, in the final of the Chiasso Cup, with Milan winning 2-1.
Following the split, A.C. Milan would have to wait until the 1950/51 season to win another domestic title, lead by famous Swedish trio Gre-No-Li, made up of Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl, and Nils Liedholm.
This would kick-off one of Milan's most successful periods, as they went on to win the Scudetto in 1951, 1955, 1957, 1959, and 1962.
In 1963, Milan would win its first European trophy, defeating Benfica 2-1, in the European Cup final. They would repeat this feat again in 1969, with a 4-1 defeat of Ajax. Furthermore, Milan would collect two European Cup Winners' Cups in 1968 and 1973.
After winning their tenth Serie A title in 1979, the club went into a period of decline. Including being involved in the Totonero match-fixing scandal, in 1980, which lead to the club being relegated to Serie B.
The club would immediately win promotion back to Serie A at the first attempt, but would again be relegated a year later. In 1983, Milan won the Serie B title for the second time in three seasons to return to Serie A.
In 1986, Milan would be saved from bankruptcy by future Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, when he acquired the club.
Berlusconi would appoint Arrigo Sacchi, as the new Milan manager. Under Sacchi, Milan would win its first Scudetto in nine years, in 1987/88, assisted by the signings of three Dutch internationals Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, and Frank Rijkaard.
The following season, Milan would defeat Steaua București 4-0, to win its first European Cup in two decades. Milan would go on to retain their title by defeating Benfica for the second time in a European Cup final, the Italian media would nickname the 1989/90 Milan team as the "Immortals."
After Sacchi left Milan, in 1991, he would be replaced by Fabio Capello, who would deliver three consecutive Scudettos between 1992 and 1994. This included a 58-match unbeaten run. Capello would also take Milan to three consecutive Champions League final appearances during this time, including the famous 4-0 win over Barcelona, in 1994.
After a few stagnant years, Milan would be rejuvenated under new manager Carlo Ancelotti. Winning their sixth European Cup in 2003, with a Champions League final a penalty shootout victory over Juventus. Before winning their seventh in 2007 with a 2-1 defeat of Liverpool.
Despite hosting a number of world-class players such as Kaká, Alexandre Pato, and Zlatan Ibrahimović, Milan has moved into a period of decline since the 2007 Champions League win, with one Serie A win in 2010/11, the only success. Much of this can be blamed on the poor management from the numerous investment companies who have taken control of the club in recent years.
Inter would find success early on after splitting from Milan, winning its first title in 1910. Inter's title-winning captain Virgilio Fossati would be killed while serving the Italian forces in World War I. After the war, Inter would go on to win their second title in 1920.
During the 1920s however, the Italian Fascist government began meddling in the Italian soccer league. This would see Inter forcibly merge with Unione Sportiva Milanese, to create the team Società Sportiva Ambrosiana.
The new club would lose the blue and black striped kits and replace them with a white design, emblazoned with a red cross. The new name would only last one year before club chairman Oreste Simonotti changed the club's name to Associazione Sportiva Ambrosiana.
Club supporters would still refer to the team as Inter, leading for new Ferdinando Pozzani to again change the name to Associazione Sportiva Ambrosiana-Inter, in 1931.
Inter would win their first Coppa Italia in 1939, led by the now-iconic Giuseppe Meazza, the player who the San Siro Stadium is officially named.
It wouldn't be until after the end of World War II in 1945 would the club be renamed back to Internazionale Milano.
Inter would see one of their most successful periods come in the 1960s after they hired Helenio Herrera as manager. Herrera's innovative tactics along with his new signing Luis Suárez transformed Inter into one of the greatest clubs in Europe. In 1964 and 1965 Herrera led Inter to back to back European Cups, as well as reaching the final in 1967.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Inter would see some success, with three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias.
During the 1990s the club would slump domestically and would almost be relegated during the 1993/94 season, finishing only one point ahead of the relegation zone. However, on the continental stage, Inter would end up winning the Uefa Cup on three occasions during the '90s, in 1991, 1994, and 1998.
After a club take over in 1995, by Italian businessman Massimo Moratti, Inter would break the world transfer fee on two occasions. Paying $27 million for Ronaldo from Barcelona in 1997, and $51.13 million for Christian Vieri from Lazio, in 1999.
Despite the heavy investment, Inter's fortunes failed to improve moving into the 21st century. This included a 6-0 at the hands of rivals Milan. Supporters began to get restless during this period which led to players such as Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro, restaurants in Milan being vandalized.
Inter would have to wait until the 2005/06 season before they found Serie A success again. Due to the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, which stripped Juventus of their title and Milan of league points, Inter was retrospectively awarded the title.
The following season a record-breaking run of seventeen consecutive victories would help Inter win a second consecutive Scudetto, adding a third title in a row in 2007/08.
In 2008, Inter would appoint José Mourinho as their new manager. In his first season, he would win Inter's fourth consecutive title. The following season Mourinho delivered a treble to Inter Milan with a fifth Serie A title, a 1-0 defeat of Roma in the Coppa Italia, and a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Mourinho would leave after his treble-winning season, starting a decade of decline for the club.
In 2012, Moratti would sell his interest in the club to a Chinese consortium. This would only last one year before an Indonesian consortium signed an agreement to acquire 70% of Inter shares. The uncertainty in the boardroom made its way on to the field, with Inter finishing the 2013/14 season in 8th.
Further changes would come in 2016, with a Luxembourg-based company acquiring a majority stake in the club.
Until Inter's return to Champions League soccer in the 2018/19 season, the mismanagement had meant that the club had gone 6 seasons without competing in the Champions League.
Historically the clubs have found their fan bases from different economic backgrounds.
Inter, as the club that originally accepted international players, had early access to the wealthy ex-pats living in Milan. As wealth attracts more wealth, Inter were seen as the team of the upper-class. Fans even earned the nickname "motoretta", due to their ability to drive to the stadium on motorcycles.
Milan fans generally came from the more blue-collar workers around the city of Milan. This would see Milan fans earn the nicknames "casciavid", which means "screwdriver" in the local Lombard language or "tramvee" due to fans using public transport to get to the stadium.
The Derby della Madonnina, named after a golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the Milan Duomo, is generally not a fiery rivalry, especially when compared with other Italian derby matches. Often this is explained as in other cities such as Rome, Roma, and Lazio fans don't win as often so a derby victory becomes more important. However, Milan and Inter fans focus on winning titles which is a priority.
Despite this, there has been a number of famous events including the 2005 Champions League quarterfinal. When Milan goalkeeper Dida was showered with flares thrown by Inter fans, after disagreeing with a decision made by the referee. The goalkeeper would suffer bruising and first-degree burns, because of the incident.
In recent seasons both Milan clubs have languished behind Juventus. Something that the clubs are focusing, in a bid to compete is demolishing their shared home of the San Siro.
The Giuseppe Meazza, more commonly known as the San Siro, has been home to both teams since the 1920s, receiving little in terms of updates across its 90 plus year history.
Upgrading the stadium is an easy way for the clubs to increase revenue moving into the future as they look to compete for Serie A and European titles. To be successful fans of both Milan clubs may have to accept the loss of their nostalgia for the stadium.
The two clubs released potential new designs for the stadium in 2019, tentatively named the Nuovo Stadio Milano.