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Thursday October 12 2017
Milan Derby of Eastern Promise

Not everyone appreciates the Chinese takeover of the Milan Derby, but Richard Hall insists it was the only way to get these clubs back to the glory days.

In a perfect world perhaps, Silvio Berlusconi and Massimo Moratti would be presiding over the Milan Derby. Marco Van Basten said the Chinese influence was “hard to swallow.”  Whilst Chinese may not be Marco’s favourite dish, how else would he have it? Both clubs were in decline and this new injection of Eastern wealth may be able to catapult them back on to the European stage, so is it really that unpalatable for Milan to have foreign investors?

Back when Berlusconi arrived, the sound of ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ blaring out from his descending helicopter, many at the time would have found this ‘hard to swallow’. His big spending on his trio of Dutch superstars (Van Basten being one) would have looked like new money saturating Serie A with expensive foreign talent. Times change and what is new today will soon become the nostalgia of tomorrow.

Inter’s Suning Group and Milan’s Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux group have come in and approached their projects in aggressive yet different ways. This in turn has allowed both Milan and Inter to look credible again. After all, the Rossoneri’s last title came in 2011 the Nerazzurri have been on a downward spiral since the 2010 Treble.

Roberto Baggio gets it, as the Divine Ponytail spent time at both clubs in his career and noted the Chinese have the power to take the city of Milan back to the top of world football. Baggio is correct in that that these projects will need time. Inter have developed an extremely competitive squad, as have Milan, and this has made a huge impact on the mood in the city.

Rewind to 2015, the 0-0 draw in the Derby Della Madonnina in April. This saw one of the most spectacular choreographies in recent times, although it was more a statement of ‘we are still here’ rather than a demonstration of strength. The mood in the city was bleak, as both teams seemed destined to a future of getting nowhere near Juventus, and former European glories were threatened by the simple fact that they would perhaps miss out on the competition altogether. Players they invested in would often be seen leaving for mid-table Premier League teams, this was David Platt in reverse. The mood that night was sombre, but that’s not the case anymore.

Now Milano is excited, the football is again something they can be proud of. The teams boast stars like Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic, Joao Mario, Andre Silva, Gigio Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci and more. There is hope that perhaps not this season, but soon, they will be competing for the Scudetto and then maybe Europe.

Football is fun again, they are no longer embarrassed. This has been seen in the attendances in Serie A again this term: 60,000 saw Milan play in a Europa League qualifier, whilst Inter impressively get at least 50,000. Admittedly Serie A attendances as a whole are up, but everyone acknowledges Italian football needs a strong Juventus and two Milan clubs to be truly back.

Italian football’s failure has often been the resistance to change, admittedly this has also been part of its appeal, but in the right measures it is certainly palatable. Far Eastern owners may not feel the norm in Milan, but they will soon and what they can bring is taking the clubs closer to their past heights. Even the midday kick-off time for the last Derby Della Madonnina had many nostalgically remembering the afternoon games in the early 1990s. This was for the Chinese audience, but still, it had a feeling of grandeur and the match felt enhanced by the atmosphere.

Van Basten may have once said that “two such glorious clubs should remain Italian” and his stance is echoed elsewhere, but could this view be misguided? Is perhaps embracing this change turning them back into something other than a shadow of their former selves? The Derby Della Madonnina may have deep Eastern pockets, but the style and the grandeur is still all most certainly Milanese.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Many of those players didn’t play in the same side and only a few of them were ‘stars’. Albertini was not a star. He was solid. Not a star. Ambrosini was certainly no star. It’s questionable whether the likes of these or even Boban and Savicevic would succeed today. They’d be moved around and rotated and struggle to get established. Ultimately the reason so many players have struggled at milan in recent years is because of bad management. There’s not as many ‘stars’ as the media and fans believe
on the 13th October, 2017 at 11:52am
I was at the San Siro in 2006 watching Inter 4 Milan 3 in a great derby game with all the big names on the pitch.I would love to see that again but although Serie A has some new foreign owners we can't compete with teams such as City and PSG where money is concerned.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 11:05am
Probably when foreign players started coming into Serie A they moaned in Italy but now its accepted.This will happen with foreign owners especially if they put the big teams back at the top.Inter look promising but Milan have alot of work to do and maybe bought too many average players.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 11:03am
@forza need to have some patience the management needs time to grow a successful team it is supreme folly to build a team for instance success.

@maldini heir i beg to think of the 90s milan side baresi maldini albertini savicevic boban van basten rijkaard gullit arguably some of the best players in world in their positions or ancelotti milan kaka sheva pirlo ambrosini nesta maldini cafu poor old serginho who was unfortunate enough to be playing in the same era as roberto carlos.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 8:13am
@ Forza No team, including Milan, has ever had 20 stars. At most the best teams had around 4 stars. You don't win titles with stars. You win titles with teams. The biggest problem with Milan is they tried to sign stars rather than build a team.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 4:18am
Berlusconi made a huge, invaluable contribution to Milan and Italian football but he is a disgraceful human being. If I was prepared to swallow my disgust in the name of footballing success and I can live with Chinese katrillionaires. I am willing to give them and Fassone and Mirabelli the benefit of the doubt since a) they're new and b) they have backed their coach 100%. If things don't improve the coach needs to be the first to go.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 4:16am
Teams of this magnitude NEED to own their own stadia. It's paramount. Watching scrub teams like Spurs build a state of the art facility is disheartening. No other major global sports franchise would go the route these two clubs are currently. This would be like the Madrid teams sharing a stadia, wouldn't happen, and even Atleti built a new stadia.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 10:21pm
I also keep forgetting to not read your posts as you are in the top 3 dumbest people posting on FI .
on the 12th October, 2017 at 9:17pm
Wow 10 whole cl trophies won 10000 years ago. Hahahhaaa oh pls. Please see list of football clubs with the most trophies. Since you are so obsessed with titles. Lets compare and see who has the most. Since that is what makes a succesful team
on the 12th October, 2017 at 9:09pm
First they need there own stadiums and hopefully after that the clubs can grow globally .what is great about the Chinese ownership is that the Chinese will want at all costs do the best for the Milan clubs and if they reach the top they will keep them there . If they can build a wall you can see from space I'm sure they are capable of building the worlds biggest football club. I just pray there will be plenty of Italians playing.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 6:35pm
@ Anon (very brave name choice BTW, how long did it take to think of it?) 10 Champions League in Milan. Nuff said?
on the 12th October, 2017 at 2:36pm
Milan has 39 trophies and inter has even less. Ffp didnt ruin your clubs you idiot you are just little lame clubs that dont win very often. Stop the constant whining and accept you ate just little mediocre teams that won some stuff years ago.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 12:55pm
The decline was due to corrupt Platini's Farcical fair Play. The Milan clubs were the only ones in Europe to really suffer, being forced to sell young talent, and unable to sign players they wanted. Hopefully the corner is turned but watch out for FFP Mark II - I am sure there are men in grey suits already brainstorming how to hamstring the Milan clubs in the future.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 12:32pm
If it was just berlusconi and he was willing to fund milan seriously again he would make a better president than any perspective new owner. it was the combination of his lack of spending and galliani which created a downwards cycle. As for attendances they were dependent on who Milan signed and sold. What should be more relevant is the viewing figures from china they will detail any real growth in the fan base of both milan and inter.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 10:49am
Milan used to have 20 stars, now its just 4 stars and maybe 4 future stars.
on the 12th October, 2017 at 8:37am

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