Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why The Milan Derby Is So Special--football at last

First and utmost, sorry girls, this one for the football fan.

Last weekend, Inter thrashing AC Milan by 4 goals and Mourinho men had did it again in the Derby like none other in the world of football.Although people talk about the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid (Two powerhorse not only in Spain but Europe with all the galacticos), Manchester United and Liverpool (2 most successful English clubs and have millions of fan around the world), River Plate and Boca Juniors ( the teams that define the world of Argentina), none of this derby can compare with Derby of Italia.Perhaps the derby of Rome between Roma and Lazio define the meaning of derby by sharing the same stadium but the intensity between them are not like the teams from Milan.First of all the success that these two clubs had achieve all these years.

So why does the Milanese Derby is so special?

Christ is on the cross when Moratti passes by. "Help me, help me," screams Christ. "Please pull out the nails from my hands." Moratti pulls one nail out and then Christ thanks him. "Please, the other one, the other one." Moratti obliges. Immediately, Christ claps his hands together and laughs. "Non vincete mai," he sings with joy. "You lot never win".

The above somewhat loosely translated joke illustrates how low Inter have had to stoop between 1989 and 2006 when they failed to win the Scudetto even once. The Nerazzurri did triumph in the UEFA Cup thrice during this period but without winning the European Cup or Serie A they had lost their sheen and had become a joke among the anti-Interistas. And among the Milanistas.

Since 2006, though, things have changed somewhat. Now Inter cannot stop winning and Milan cannot stop not winning. Three successive Scudetti (on the pitch) have made Inter the undisputed force in Serie A and although they have consistently failed in Europe, at least they are dominating Italy these days. As for Milan, even a Champions League conquest in 2007 cannot eclipse the mess they are in.

When on Saturday evening Milan 'host' Inter at the San Siro, the often misused area-name for the stadium the duo has shared since the 1940s, with the former having the opportunity to go five points clear of the latter in the table, the aforementioned point would come into play. So would several other factors, one of which is the history and rivalry between the two clubs.

Milan Cricket and Football Club was established in December 1899 by English immigrants. Initially it had a football section and a cricket section and the football department grew popular and successful very soon. But in 1908 there was a dispute regarding the signing of foreign players and FC Internazionale Milano was established, a club that would openly welcome foreign players. Perhaps this (partly) explains why Inter often have no Italians in their starting XI.

The rivalry that gained birth then has magnified over the years. Unlike some other derbies or rivalries in Italy and in Europe, the Milanese derby is a rivalry 'of equals': both Milan and Inter are powerhouses of Italy. Even during Inter's dark days of the 1990s and early 2000s, there has never really been a doubt on the balance of the Derby della Madonnina, so called because of the golden statue on the spire of the Milan Cathedral.

Inter And Milan Fans On A Derby Day

Which is perhaps why the Milanese clubs have always had something of an 'evenness' about themselves. Both Milan and Inter have won the Scudetto 17 times and the Coppa Italia five times, although Inter would take more than two decades at least to match Milan's European Cup record.

And this 'evenness' stretches to the supporters as well. It's generally believed that in the initial stages Inter supporters came from the bourgeois class - the more well-to-do people in the city of Milan - while Milan fans descended from a working class background. In recent times, however, such distinctions, if ever present, have been blurred as now there is little social or economic differences between the two sets of supporters. Politically too, both sets have right-wing and left-wing followers.

The clubs cannot be differentiated on the basis of their ownership either. For decades the Moratti family has controlled Inter whereas since the 1980s Milan have come to be identified with the colourful and politically shrewd Silvio Berlusconi. These days Massimo Moratti, son of the famous Angelo Moratti, looks after the Nerazzurri while Berlusconi and his aide Adriano Galliani take care of the Rossoneri.

No, all this is not to suggest that Inter and Milan resemble one another completely. And they really don't.

Inter's former legendary coach Helenio Herrera was a Catenaccio God and Inter do not boast the playing of pretty football but rather the old stereotyped hardliner game that Italy is famous for. Milan, on the other hand, pride themselves on glorious, attacking football, Berlusconi himself instructing his coaches to play the beautiful game beautifully.

Inter's most productive period was in the 1960s when they won the European Cup two years in succession and the Scudetto thrice in four years while Milan's best period was in the 1950s and 1990s.

Eventually Moratti's Investment Is Paying Off

The Milan derby has the reputation of being friendly with even reports of members of the same family supporting opposing sides, although both clubs have had their respective 'ultra' groups since the late 1960s. Of course, this 'friendly' notion was shattered during the second leg of the 2004-05 Champions League quarter-final when Inter supporters decided to rocket bottles and coins onto the pitch and also hit Milan custodian Dida with a flare, but the point that the rivalry between Inter and Milan is not intrinsically volatile with a shade of dark antagonism is not lost. Actually, Inter and Milan fans hate Juventus more than they hate each other.

Which perhaps explains the player movements between the two clubs. Roberto Baggio, Fulvio Collovati, Ronaldo, Clarence Seedorf, Giuseppe Meazza are just a handful of those who were brave enough (or perhaps too stupid) to play for both Inter and Milan but often with contrasting results.

It would perhaps be an exercise in futility to encompass the essence of the Derby della Madonnina within the restricted boundaries of words. After all, it is one of the biggest and most passionate derbies in the world and as they say, you have never lived until you have gone to a Milan derby at the San Siro.

p/s.. I miss last weekend derby but I made up by watching the replay match and I tell you it was satisfied. Hopefully inter will retain the serie A title and conquer Europe this year.


  1. memang aku d0p taw n0k k0men per..

  2. jaa - hahaha..puas hati aku menulis pasal nie..


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