Tribal Football Rivalries – AC Milan Vs Inter Milan (Milan Derby)

The rivalry between Italian clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan is generally referred to as the Milan Derby or Derby della Madonnina.

The Milan Derby is enriched in history and is the biggest local derby in Italian football history. It’s history involves splitting to become two clubs, hooliganism, the rivalry affecting the international team and class division.

Both Milanese clubs play their home matches at the San Siro, despite being fierce local rivals. The Derby della Madonnina is named after one of Milan’s biggest attraction, the Virgin Mary, which is often referred to as Madonnina.

Both teams have won an equal amount of domestic trophies, whereas AC Milan have been more successful in European competitions. However, Inter are the only Italian club to ever win the treble, when they achieved it under Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho in the 2009/10 season.

AC Milan’s greatest era is arguably in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in which they won 5 league titles and 3 European Cups. Inter’s best era is possibly from 2005-2010 when they won 5 consecutive league titles, 3 Copa Italia’s and the Champions League.

The Milan derby is one of the most highly anticipated and most watched local rivalries around the world. The famous fixture between the red and black and blue and black is a historic sight and has produced some of the greatest moments in football history


In December 1899, Alfred Edwards found the Milan Cricket and Football club. The club initially had two departments for cricket and football. They won three national league titles but split in March 1908 due to disagreements on signing foreign players.

This split led to the creation of Inter Milan and this signalled the beginning of one of the biggest rivalries in world football. AC Milan won the first ever Milan derby in January 1909 by a 3-2 score line.

The rivalry intensified during the 1960s with both teams enjoying domestic and European success. This era produced some of the most famous and entertaining Milan derbies in the rivalries’ history.

AC Milan’s best era was arguably the squad managed by Arrigo Sacchi during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their famous squad contained Italian duo Paolo Maldini and Franci Baresi and Dutch trio Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard.

The rossoneri won five Serie A titles, three European Cups, 3 Super Cups and 2 Intercontinental Cups during this period. They also won four consecutive league titles between 1992-1996.

Inter Milan’s best era was probably the team that won 5 consecutive Serie A titles between 2005-2010 and the treble in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. Their team included Javier Zanetti, Lucio, Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder. Inter controversially won the title in 2005 because Juventus having their title stripped of them from the 2005/06 season due to the match fixing scandal.

Both teams met in the Champions League semi-finals during the 2002/03 league season. The two legs ended level but AC Milan went through on away goals, despite both sides playing at the San Siro.

The rivalry turned sour during the Champions League quarter-finals in April 2005. AC Milan led the game 1-0 and the tie 3-0 on aggregate but Inter midfielder Cambiasso had a goal controversially chalked off. This caused mass chaos at the San Siro with diehard Inter fans throwing debris and lit flares onto the pitch.

One of the lit flares struck AC Milan goalkeeper Dida, who was unable to continue after the incident. The chaos continued after the referee attempted to resume the game, this forced the match to be abandoned. ACM were awarded a 3-0 win and Inter were forced to play the first four Champions League games in the following season behind closed doors.

Swapping from AC to Inter has occurred regularly with Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldo being the most famous examples. AC Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko has scored 14 goals in the Milan derby, which is more than any other player.

Tribal History

It’s incredible to think that Inter and AC used to be a joint force in the early 1900s. Known as the Milan Cricket and Football Club, they went onto win 3 national league titles until their split in March 1908.

This was the first disagreement in an intense, incredible and passionate Milanese derby. There was an issue with signing foreign players and this led to the establishment of Inter Milan.

Inter were generally supported by upper and middle class supporters, whereas ACM possessed the following of mainly working class people. Class division or local authority is usually one of the key factors in the history of rivalries between two clubs, for example, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

The rivalry also affected the performance of the Italian national team, especially in the 1970 World Cup. Italy had two very talented attacking midfielder, however, one played for Inter and another played for AC.

AC Milan’s Gianni Rivera and Inter’s Sandro Mazzola rarely played on the same pitch as each other for the Italian national side. In fact, manager Ferruccio Valcareggi fielded Mazzola over Rivera.

The Italians subsequently lost the 1970 World Cup final 4-1 to the famous Brazil team, which included Pele, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino and Jairzinho. It was a very miserable defeat for the Italian’s, who were completely outplayed to the samba passing beat of the yellow shirted Brazilians.


Teams Wins Draws Goals Serie A Titles
AC Milan 75 65 292 18
Inter Milan 77 65 294 18

Inter have won the most Milan derbies with 77 wins compared to ACM’s 75. The score has ended level on 65 occasions, which suggests the closeness in the Milan derby. The biggest margin of victory was AC’s 6-0 win in May 2001.

Both teams have won 18 Serie A league titles but ACM have been more successful in Europe. The black and reds have won 7 European cups/Champions League trophies, whereas Inter have won three.

other inter milan & ac milan news sources:

Rossoneri Blog

The AC Milan Offside

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George Bennett

My name is George Bennett, I'm 19-years-old and I'm the founder and administrator for GB Articles Football Blog. I've been writing from the age of 12-years-old and decided to create my own blog to spread my passion for the beautiful game. The blog was created in May 2016 and I've began to assemble a talented group of writers since April 2017. I mainly cover the Premier League, although I also base some reports on the Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga and more!

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