Derby Della Madonnina - Inter vs Milan

Internazionale vs AC Milan
Serie A
The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Sunday, 14th November 2010
19:45 BST (+1 GMT)

In 1899, AC Milan was founded by a small group of men, led by Englishmen Herbert Kilpin and Alfred Edwards. Nine years later, a dispute within the club about the purchase of foreign players erupted. A group of Swiss members of the club were upset with the number of Italian players in the club. They split and formed FC Internazionale Milano. With the founding of Inter and their immediate success as well as the continued success of AC Milan, added in of course with the bitter split, one of sport's greatest rivalries was born.

For over 100 years, the Derby della Madonnina, the bitter matchup between AC Milan and Inter Milan, has been one of the most anticipated, highly contested and entertaining rivalries in football. Very few can match their intensity. The Curva Sud and the Curva Nord are separated by a pitch. Supporters are sometimes separated by nothing more than a wall in a house, or even a couple inches on a bed. This game pauses friendships, divides families, splits offices. This is what derby is all about. The rivalry has no shortage of history and meaning.

In addition to the breakup and the fact that they share a city (and since 1947, a stadium), there is also the baggage of AC Milan representing the working class and Inter having more support from the bourgeoisie; the fact that the rivalry divides families, friends, and colleagues; and the long list of talented squads they constantly threw at each other. Many of the world's best players have worn the colors of both teams at one point or another in their career. Giuseppe Meazza, Christian Panucci, Clarence Seedorf, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Roberto Baggio, Patrick Viera, Andrea Pirlo, Dario Simic, Ronaldo, and Hernan Crespo, among others, have all worn both the red and black of AC and the blue and black of Inter.

Add in the 17 Italian titles for AC and 18 for Inter, the occasional matchup in the Champions League, and all the other thrilling matches and title fights head to head, this is truly one of the greatest rivalries in any sport. This Sunday, the Derby della Madonnina returns to be the jewel of the Italian football for a night, as two of the world's greatest clubs will meet on their home ground to mark their first meeting in 2010/11 season.

Milan comes in on a high, as Massimiliano Allegri seems to have finally figured out how to manage his Rossoneri, as they are in first place for the second time this season, the first time since their opening win over Lecce, after Round 11. Newcomers Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kevin-Prince Boateng, and Mario Yepes have been crucial to the Rossoneri of late, as each has stepped in and played very well. Massimo Ambrosini, Mathieu Flamini, Clarence Seedorf, Alexandre Pato, Filippo Inzaghi, Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonini, and Thiago Silva have all been in top form of late.

Inter and new manager Rafael Benitez may only be three points off the pace, but the quality is not what it has been from the five-time defending champions. The Champions League winners are plagued with injuries as well. Walter Samuel is now out for the season. Julio Caesar, Esteban Cambiasso, McDonald Mariga, Thiago Motta, Dejan Stankovic and Sulley Muntari have also been affected by injuries as of late. AC seems to be clear of injuries for the moment, as Massimo Ambrosini, Thiago Silva, Luca Antonini, and Ignazio Abate are all healthy despite recent injuries that have forced them to leave matches. Mathieu Flamini has returned to play very well since being injured in the summer. However, both Alexandre Pato and Filippo Inzaghi are still doubtful for the clash.

For both coaches, Massimiliano Allegri of AC Milan and Rafa Benitez of Internazionale, this will be their first Milan Derby. Three players are expected to play for Milan who have worn both the red and blue. Clarence Seedorf (1999-2002), Andrea Pirlo (1998-2001), and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2006-2009) all spent a portion of their career at Inter. Milan will be certainly looking to break a cold streak against their bitter rivals. They have not defeated Inter since September 2008, with Inter winning the last three and last season, the Rossoneri were humiliated with 4-0 and 2-0 respectively.

Milan may have played second fiddle to Inter in the Serie A for the last five years, but things are different this season. This time round. Milan will actually enter the derby ahead of Inter by a margin of three points. Not only are the Rossoneri ahead of Inter on points, but things are much more rosy in the red half of Milan compared to the blue half where coach Rafa Benitez has outspokenly commented on his current Inter. Inter have only managed one win in their last four Serie A matches, drawing the other three. The goals have also dried up for Inter this season as the last time the Nerazzurri scored more one than one goal in Serie A match was back on September 22nd.

It will be an extremely intriguing affair and whoever comes out on top in this contest will be making a loud claim for the title. One thing we can expect is that there will be a winner when final whistle is blown on Sunday night. Since back in 2001, Milan derbey never ended in stalemate. Milan have a golden opportunity to silence their critics on Sunday and a chance to prove they are the worthy contender. On the other hand, despite lack of form in recent matches. Inter could show the pedigree of European champions.

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