Inter Milan’s Rivals

The Nerazzuri is the only club to play in every Italian top-flight season since its inception in 1909. Inter also stands out from the rest in Serie A thanks to their treble season in 2009-10. We’ll look at some of the best rivalries involving Inter over the years.

AC Milan

Elsewhere in European top leagues, it’s not common to have a fierce rivalry with the club you shared stadiums with, but here we are. Although they proposed a plan to migrate to new homes a while ago, the two Milan clubs still share the iconic San Siro. 

This made Derby della Madonnina a rare major crosstown derby played in the same stadium all the time.

Why are they rivals?

Milan supremacy. As two of the biggest clubs in the economic capital of Italy, Inter and AC Milan will always thrive both in the domestic and continental sphere for the throne.

How did the rivalry start?

Curiously, the two clubs were one back in the day when Milan Cricket and Football Club ended Genoa’s dominance in Italian football. But, by 1908, a split formed Internazionale, a new Milan-based club.

The 1926-27 Divisione Nazionale, the inaugural season in a new dawn for Italian football, started a true rivalry between the clubs. Further down the line, the 1960s saw this derby played with some of the big names in the land.

AC Milan was the dominant side for decades after that, but Inter now holds the bragging rights as they are the last Italian club to both win and reach the final of the Champions League.

Biggest Games

18 October 1908

AC Milan 2-1 Inter

This rivalry started with a trophy on the line. The first-ever meeting between the clubs was in the final of a tournament played in Switzerland, Chiasso Cup.

6 November 1949

Inter 6-5 Milan 

1949 was one of the worst years for Italian football with an air disaster claiming the lives of the entire Torino squad. A few months after the tragedy that ended Torino’s dominant years, Inter and Milan played out in a high-scoring Derby della Madonnina.

The fantastically named Amadeo Amadei netted a hat-trick for the winners. The two clubs won six Serie A titles in the following decade.

28 October 1984

Milan 2-1 Inter

England international Mark Hateley scored one of the most memorable goals in this fixture. At a time when clubs were only allowed to have two foreigners at the same time on the pitch, the striker leaped the highest to net the winner for Milan.

Milan fans revisited this incident time and again, including before a Madonnina in 2016 with a “Sovrastiamoli” banner which essentially meant “We tower above them”.

11 May 2001

Inter 0-6 Milan 

The Red and Blacks will forever remember this performance as one of their finest in the derby. Andriy Shevchenko was the star man with a brace in their only win out of the last six league games of the season they finished sixth. 

Inter finished one above in the standings, but this solitary result completely changed the complexion. Gianni Comandini scored three goals as a Milan player with a couple of them on this night.

12 April 2005

Inter 0-3 Milan 

In the Champions League quarter-finals, Milan won the first leg by 2-0 with goals from Japp Stam and Shevchenko. The Ukrainian targetman scored again early the next week to extend Milan’s advantage.

But that was it for the action. Inter fans threw flares in frustration after Markus Merk disallowed Esteban Cambiasso’s goal and things got out of control. In particular, one flare struck Milan’s Brazilian goalie Dida.

The German refereed canceled the game after an initial attempt to calm down the fans went astray. At least, the incidents created an iconic image with Marco Materazzi and Rui Costa gazing at the wild atmosphere from afar.

29 August 2009

Milan 0-4 Inter

In Inter’s magical 2009-10 treble season, this was the first big moment. Wesley Sneijder, having joined the club only a few days earlier, was the star of the show with an excellent debut performance.

Diego Milito, who ended the season with a brace against Bayern Munich, was among the goal-scorers.

6 May 2012

Inter 4-2 Milan

When it comes to comeback stories in Derby della Madonnina, this one is tough to beat. After the two clubs dominating in Serie A in the previous years, Juventus won the title at the end of the season.

For that, Inter coming from a 2-0 half-time deficit against Milan played a big part. Milito scored a hat-trick on the penultimate day of the season to deny his fierce rivals defending their league title.

2022-23 Champions League semi-final

Milan 0-3 Inter (in agg)

This time both of their Champions League knockout games played in its entirety. After knocking out fellow Serie A side Napoli in the previous round, Milan couldn’t match Inter’s level in the last four.

Inter scored twice in the first 11 minutes of the first-leg through strikes from vastly experienced duo Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Milan welcomed Rafael Leao in the decisive fixture, but the story was no different. Skipper Lautaro Martinez scored the goal that guaranteed Inter’s first final in 13 years.

It was their respective first semi-final appearance since winning the trophy in 2007 and 2010, respectively. But Inter couldn’t repeat the feat as they lost the final to Manchester City.

Inter won each of the last five Derby della Madonnina fixtures including a 5-1 success in Serie A earlier this season.

Played for both

Hakan Calhanoglu is the latest player to make a direct transfer between the clubs. The Turkish midfielder spent four years at AC Milan before he joined Inter on a free transfer in 2021.

Current AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli had a brief unsuccessful stint at Inter in the 2016-17 campaign. There have been some huge names to play for both teams over the years, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo, Clarence Seedorf, and the legendary Ronaldo. A full list of players who played for both teams can be seen here

Juventus

The name itself tells the story. Derby d’Italia (Derby of Italy) reserved for the clash between Inter and Juventus. Sports journalist Gianni Brera coined the term back in 1967.

Both clubs are from the Northern side of the country. In Turin, Torino couldn’t match Juventus’ stature, making this the biggest rivalry for the Old Lady.

Why are they rivals?

While the two clubs are not far from each other geographically, the main reason was sporting rivalry. Over the different times, the clubs competed with each other to finish top of the pile.

How did the rivalry start?

The 1950s and ’60s were the first sights of a Juve v Inter rivalry. Much of their shared history involves controversial refereeing decisions. And, later, the Calciopoli. Inter were the benefactors when Juventus stripped a league title in 2005-06.

Biggest Games

16 April 1961

Juventus 9-1 Inter

The first controversy started with the two club presidents’ rift. Angelo Moratti accused the Italian football association of favoring Umberto Agnelli’s Juventus for deciding a replay after overflowing stands ended up in a field invasion. 

Moratti’s Inter decided to field a reserve team for the replayed game. The result: Juventus recorded their biggest Derby d’Italia victory with future Ballon d’Or winner Oman Sivori scoring two hat-tricks in a 9-1 victory.

26 April 1998

Juventus 1-0 Inter

With only four games to go, Juventus host Inter with a single point separating the sides at the top of Serie A’s standings. Alessandro Del Piero scored the only goal with a tidy finish in the first-half.

But the sequence of play that remained the biggest Derby d’Italia story appeared after the break. Piero Ceccarini refused to award Inter a penalty-kick for Mark Iuliano’s foul on Ronaldo. The ball was still in play when he gave one to Juventus.

Del Piero missed the resulting penalty, but those two decisions created a huge uproar that even went to the Italian parliament. Those incidents are still mentioned whenever the talks centered on Serie A’s bad reputation for match-fixing.

19 October 2002

Inter 1-1 Juventus

There are times when a game wakes up in the dying minutes. And this one is a perfect example of that. Two goals and red cards arrived after the 89th minute.

Another controversial penalty started the chaos once again. Del Piero converted this one before both teams were reduced to ten men after Antonio Conte and Dominic Morfeo were expelled for their parts in a mass brawl.

Inter dramatically secured a point with the 95th-minute header from Christian Vieri. The assist came from their goalie Francesco Toldo.

2005-06 season

The Calciopoli scandal has shaken up Italian football in the mid-2000s. Inter were awarded the Serie A championship for the 2005-06 season as title-winning Juventus relegated and Milan deducted points for their respective involvements with match-fixing.

5 December 2009

Juventus 2-1 Inter

Not one remembered for its good value, sections of Juventus fans were targeting Mario Balotelli with racial remarks in the buildup to the game. And they pelted Inter’s team bus when it arrived in Turin for the game.

On the pitch, it only took 20 minutes for Jose Mourinho to be sent to the stands for sarcastic applause as a reaction to a free-kick decision that led to Juventus’ opener. At the end of the hotly-contested tie, ten-man Juventus had three points, but their fans left a pretty bleak reputation.

3 November 2012

Juventus 1-3 Inter

Inter knocked out Juventus from Coppa Italia and won the reverse league fixture that season, but Juventus were a dominant force in the next two years, winning each of the last three Derby d’Italia before this meeting.

They were also in a 49-game unbeaten streak in the league when Inter came into town. That run looks to be extended when Arturo Vidal scored 20 seconds after kickoff. But Inter secured their first league win in Turin since 2005 thanks to goals from Argentines Diego Milito (2) and Rodrigo Palacio.

2015-16 Coppa Italia semi-final

Inter 3-3 Juventus (Juventus won 5-3 on penalties)

Inter managed to reverse a 3-0 first-leg defeat at San Siro, but they lost on penalties with Palacio having a night to forget with a glaring miss in extra-time before another one in the shootout.

Leonardo Bonucci, who is a product of Inter’s academy, scored the final kick to send Juventus through to the final.

28 April 2018

Inter 2-3 Juventus

Juventus were in a title race with Napoli when they had to avoid defeat at any cost in San Siro in the penultimate month of the season. Gonzalo Higuain, who was signed from Napoli, scored a late winner as Inter fought hard despite playing more than 70 minutes with ten men.

11 May 2022

Juventus 2-4 Inter

The first Coppa Italia final between the clubs since 1965 was decided by Ivan Perisic’s two goals in extra-time. Juventus lifted the cup in the first two Derby d’Italia finals and they were on course to repeat that trend ten minutes from time.

But, from 12 yards, Hakan Calhanoglu forced extra-time in which the Croat scored from another penalty-kick and a direct free-kick in one of his last games as a Nerazzurri. 

2023-24

Just like the old days, the title race looked set to be between these two rivals once again this season. The last two champions AC Milan and Napoli are having tough times while former Serie A champions Jose Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri are not throwing punches at the Rome clubs.

While Simeone Inzaghi’s side is considered both entertainer and robust in defense, Massimiliano Allegri has his Juventus thriving off of 1-0 wins.

Played for both

It is very common to play for rival clubs in Italy, especially for the best part of the 2000s. Guiseppe Meazza (the reason why Inter named San Siro Guiseppe Meazza), Roberto Baggio, Christian Vieri, Patrick Vieira, Edgar Davids, Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Leonardo Bonucci are among the names who played for all three top clubs – Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.

The most remarkable piece of business between the two clubs was when Inter let Fabio Cannavaro, who ended up winning the Ballon d’Or and World Cup as Italy’s captain, join Juventus for an exchange of reserve goalkeeper Fabio Carini.

 

About Tony 9 Articles
I'm Tony, a football writer since 2005, from Warrington in the UK. I support Liverpool and have done since I was a kid. I've previously ran other footy sites, and have a love for the game overall (not just LFC). Find out more about me & my background on the about page, linked to in the site's main navigation.

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