Derby della Madonnina, or the Milan Derby as it is sometimes known, is a football match between the Italian clubs A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter). It is a hotly contested local derby and is one of the most followed derbies in football world. It is usually a semiannual fixture in the Italian football league Serie A; however, the derby has also taken place in the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League.
It is called "Derby della Madonnina" in honour of one of the main sights of the city of Milan, the statue of the virgin Mary on the top of the Duomo, which is usually called "Madonnina".
On December 16, 1899, Alfred Edwards and others founded the Milan Cricket and Football Club. Edwards, a former British vice-consul in Milan and a well-known personality of the Milanese high society, was the club's first elected president. Initially, the team included a cricket section, managed by Edward Berra, and a football section managed by David Allison. The Milan team soon gained relevant notability under Herbert Kilpin's guide. The first trophy to be won was the Medaglia del Re (King's Medal) on January 1900, and the team later won three national leagues, in 1901, 1906 and 1907. The triumph of 1901 was particularly relevant because it ended the consecutive series of wins of Genoa, which had been the only team to have won the title prior to 1901.
In 1908, issues over the signing of foreign players led to a split and the foundation of F.C. Internazionale Milano. This started a now historical rivalry between the two cross-town clubs, a rivalry especially heated since Inter broke off from AC Milan. The most notorious scoreline in the history of this fixture came in 3 March 1918, when Milan thrashed Inter 8 goals to 1. In the past, Inter was seen as the club of the Milan bourgeoisie (nicknamed bauscia, a milanese term meaning "braggart"), whereas AC Milan was the working-class team (nicknamed casciavit, meaning in the milanese dialect "screwdriver", with both reference to the blue-collar worker, and to "awkward") and was supported mainly by workers, trade unionists and migrants from Southern Italy.. However in the recent years this difference has mitigated, since Milan is now owned by past conservative Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi and Inter is owned by a centre-left businessman, Massimo Moratti.
During the 1960s, Inter was the more successful club, winning the european cup twice in a row and the Intercontinental Cup twice in a row. However during the late 1980s and the 1990s Silvio Berlusconi's Milan was the more dominant team, with many victories both in Italy and in the European competitions.
The Mazzola and Rivera years
In the 60's the Milan derby saw two big stars of Italian football come face to face. One of the most representative players of Inter was Sandro Mazzola, the son of the Torino F.C. player Valentino Mazzola (who along with most of his Torino teammates, died in a plane crash in 1949 after dominating Serie A for four seasons). His Milan counter-part was Gianni Rivera, nicknamed Golden Boy for his talent. This era saw brilliant derby matches and an increasing rivalry: while Milan won the European Cup in 1962-63, Inter followed it up with back to back success in the following years. Milan again won the title in 1968-69. During this successful period for both teams, Milan were coached by Nereo Rocco and Inter were led by Helenio Herrera, both coaching many notable players. However the rivalry between the two players was fuelled more by journalists than by personal incompatibilities.
The rivalry continued in the Italian national team, where the two players would often not play together, with one usually being substituted by the other at halftime. Rivera ended up losing the starting line-up to Mazzola in the 1970 final against Brazil, in which Italy was defeated 1-4 by the South Americans. He would later enter in the 88th minute, after Italy was already crushed. Many coaches and fans saw this as a mistake by the then coach Ferruccio Valcareggi, as the more dynamic Rivera could have changed the shift of the match.
The 1990s and present years
Another notable rivalry era was in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Dutch trio of Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit played for A.C.Milan and the German trio of Andreas Brehme, Jürgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthäus defended the Inter colors. Even though in that period A.C.Milan were dominating Italian and European football, this rivalry is mainly remembered for a famous 1990 World Cup match: the Dutch team had entered the competition as one of the favourites based on the fact that they had won the previous European Championship in 1988, and the trio had enjoyed great success at Milan at the European level with back-to-back European Cup titles in 1989 and 1990. Milan had won the 1988 Scudetto and Inter captured that title the following year.
When Holland met Germany in the World Cup, the match was played at the home ground of Inter and Milan, the San Siro, and for many it seemed like a national team version of Milan derby. The high tempered game ended in defeat for the Dutch as Rijkaard got sent-off after spitting on German forward Rudi Völler. Germany won the game 2-1 with two of the Inter players Klinsman and Brehme scoring, a moral victory for Inter fans.
Milan, however, continued to have success both locally and internationally: they built a squad under Fabio Capello's lead later nicknamed as the invincibles, that won Milan's fifth European Cup in 1994, when they beat Cruyff's FC Barcelona "dream team" 4-0 in one of the most one sided European finals ever. Capello's Milan reached the final of the European competition three times in a row.
On the other hand, Inter's long wait for a major title began after 1989, only to end in 2006, when the Calciopoli scandal stripped Juventus of the 2005-06 title and handed it to the team. Inter has since clinched the 2007 Serie A title as well, with a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive victories, on the way winning both fixtures against Milan. The second Milan derby was notable, as Ronaldo had previously starred with Inter in the late 1990s.
2004/2005 UEFA Champions League
The most infamous of the derby matches between AC Milan and Inter was the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal on April 12, 2005.
With Milan leading 1-0 (and 3-0 on aggregate) thanks to an early Andriy Shevchenko goal, Inter's hardcore supporters became infuriated after a second-half Esteban Cambiasso score was controversially nullified by referee Markus Merk who, moments later, booked Cambiasso for dissent, due to the fact that he had just whistled an Inter player for a foul on Milan keeper Dida. Bottles and various debris were subsequently thrown onto the pitch, but soon escalated to lit flares. As Dida attempted to clear bottles in order to take a goal kick, a flare hurtled down from the upper deck and struck the Brazilian on the back of his right shoulder. Merk halted the match at the 74th minute. After a thirty-minute delay in which firefighters were called in to remove the burning flares from the pitch, the match was restarted. Dida, however, was unable to continue, and was substituted by Christian Abbiati. Less than a minute later, though, Merk finally abandoned the match after more flares and debris rained down. The match was awarded as a 3-0 victory, totaling a 5-0 aggregate, to Milan.
Dida suffered bruising and first-degree burns to his shoulder, though he did not miss any game time. Meanwhile, Inter were fined €200,000 (£132,000) - the largest fine ever handed down by UEFA - and were ordered to play their first four Champions League matches behind closed doors in the 2005-06 season as punishment.