Saturday October 14 2017
Milan Derby personality swap

Going into the first Derby della Madonnina of the season, Milan and Inter have swapped their traditional characteristics, writes Susy Campanale.

Milan and Inter share a city, a stadium and a common dialect, but the similarities used to end there. Now both clubs are ruled by faceless Chinese corporations who are rarely even in the country, farming off the day-to-day work to relatively interchangeable directors. How interchangeable? Milan CEO Marco Fassone and director of sport Massimiliano Mirabelli used to work for Inter.

Even with the summer memes on Fassone’s “let’s get on to the formal matters” catchphrase in transfer presentations, he and the likes of Piero Ausilio cannot aspire to the kind of iconic status held by Adriano Galliani or Marco Branca. Yonghong Li and Zhang Jindong are no Silvio Berlusconi or Massimo Moratti.

The clubs have lost their identity within the club infrastructure, but that’s not the only situation that has been transformed over the last few months. It used to be Inter who famously spent inordinate amounts of money every summer, bringing in relatively big names without particularly knowing how they would fit into a coherent team unit.

They were the ones who transformed the roster wholesale each campaign, then wondered why it took several months to start gelling and putting together results. It was the black and blue side of the city that couldn’t seem to comprehend why it couldn’t just buy instant success, then ran to find a scapegoat, starting the whole process over again.

The Nerazzurri were well known for keeping their Coaches on the brink from even before a season began, now Milan have Vincenzo Montella dealing with sack rumours from August. Internazionale lived up to their full name by packing the squad with foreigners, but it’s the Diavolo who look more like a patchwork quilt of nationalities now.

Anyone who is on Twitter – and I realise that mercifully few of you are in real terms – will know that something changed this summer in the Derby della Madonnina dynamic. A certain sect of Milan fans have earned themselves the reputation of being the worst kind of troll. Any suggestion that perhaps they should wait before counting their chickens was met with insults, outright abuse and even death threats. I’m not exaggerating, sadly.

My original criticism of the Milanisti on Twitter was that they were behaving like Inter fans of old: talking about their inevitable Scudetto victory or at least Champions League qualification, belittling the opposition, assuming everything would go their way without casting an even slightly objective eye on the situation. You cannot buy success. Even a group of talented players do not make a team, and certainly not within a couple of weeks. Had we Rossoneri supporters not learned the lessons of our cousins by watching them make these same repeated mistakes over the years? Apparently not.

Instead, Inter are learning from Milan. They made relatively minimal changes to the squad, as new Coach Luciano Spalletti tried to focus on getting the best out of his current players and resisting the siren calls for Ivan Perisic, Antonio Candreva and Joao Mario. They spent most of the money on reinforcing the defence with Milan Skriniar, who might not have been the biggest name, but has definitely been their best purchase.

The fans have also watched across the city divide and recognised how not to start a season. Even though the Nerazzurri are still unbeaten and favourites going into the derby, you’ll find very little talk of the Scudetto among their supporters. They acknowledge the team is a long way off Juventus and Napoli, that this is a long-term project and above all their performances have not really been that good. Luck is something every successful side needs and Spalletti has enjoyed a fair share of it so far, though it could of course be argued that results from middling games are thanks to the kind of determination and grit that Inter sorely lacked in the past.

Inter used to be blown up full of hot air like a balloon, then at the first sign of trouble whizz around without direction, turning all the positive momentum to negative in an instant. If any of this sounds familiar to Milanisti, then they’d do well to learn from their cousins.

Whatever happens in the derby on Sunday night, that won’t change the situation I have outlined here. It’d be a mistake to assume it would. 

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Have your say...
I knew Mirabelli scouted and followed Ricardo Rodrigez for many years and I was kinda dissapointed when milan signed him. But after this derby, I am not worried any more - he`s not smart enough for INTER`s ambitions.

on the 19th October, 2017 at 3:08pm
@beppe rossi

never lose hope hahaha
on the 16th October, 2017 at 11:16pm
here goes the milinista again. what 'football italia'? its more like football ac milan. serie a fans should look for more unbiased site where the writers are neutral and only speak the truth. I cant believe inter haven't sued football italia for defamation!
on the 16th October, 2017 at 11:09pm
@ Paolo

Susy is a well known Milan fan.

You would notice that if you weren't so blinded by your pathetic and comical hate for Juve.
on the 16th October, 2017 at 4:24pm
"Beppe Rossi" thank-you for the response, I truthfully understand Inter's history and am aware, but I think the explanation is misplaced. Inter have a wonderful history of Italian players, no? Why is this forgotten, because of their name? Why have Inter guided so far-off, why the hatred to Italian player's. In Spain, we would consider this an embarrassment. I use to think Serie A problem was attendance, then the stadium's, now its I think much greater, clubs and fans in Italy who hate their own.
on the 16th October, 2017 at 1:37pm
Barcelona the Best - Those clowns support a team who were built on a foundation of foreigners. It's their M.O. Inter are to Lega Calcio what Napoli is to the rest of Italia.
on the 16th October, 2017 at 3:25am
I, as most people who cares, predict this is the real beginning of the rise of both Milanese clubs back to the top.

That's if Milan don't mess up coz they are taking a huge financial and compliance risk with their strategy in trying to do so.

This seems to be the most anticipated derby in quite some time but if things goes to plan, the next one could be even more 'important'.

I hope it will be an open game. Both could win it but advantage Inter.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 2:52pm
Pathetic article, at least do some basic research...
- Suning's CEO son is stationed in Milan at Inter full time and is member of board of directors.
- Name at least one Inter fan who will call Branca iconic... His name is associated with worst transfers and huge debts. Orialli was iconic, Fachetti was iconic.
- For the past 6-7 years its Milan who brings in Ronaldinho, Balotelli and few other passed it players who they did not know how to fit into. Inter was buying mainly mediocres.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 7:18am
If this article was written 20 years ago in the time of Vieri et al there would be some truth to it but with the exception of Summer 2015 and last years Gabigoal story, Inter have only been buying 2/3 expensive players each years with a long time. Sometimes they are successful sometimes not. Stereotyping individuals or clubs is unhelpful and unfair - Italian football should know that. BTW what about Gullit, Lentini, Papin etc. were hughe deals in their day.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 6:58am
I went to watch an Inter Milan game at the San Siro, and I witnessed a group of Italian Inter Milan fans (local) burning the Italian flag, screaming they wanted no Italian ever on there team. I was completely shocked. Why do Milan fans (who are Italian) hate Italian players, then make excuses to defend such hatred. As a Spaniard, I hate to say it, I fear there is something fundamentaly wrong mentally with Inter Milan fans, more patriotic Italian team needed my brothers.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 1:28am
Written about teams from the only city to have two Champions League winning teams and the only city in Italy to have won a european trophy in 22 years.

Have some respect Juve Susy, you of all people should know how hardd winning in Europe is.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 5:04pm
@Beppe Rossi

"lose to Inter in the Derby, and it will only get worse for Montella and company"

One can only hope right..
on the 14th October, 2017 at 10:18am
Susy, we all new a section of Milanisti were delusional to start the season. I will continue to say that their squad is mediocre at best. They're going to lose to Inter in the Derby, and it will only get worse for Montella and company.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 5:11am
It allowed the other team to re-group. The defender who had watched the ball for one second has recovered his man. The striker has made his run. And it's here we see the real shame of the likes of Calabria, Locatelli and Cutrone. These players were all set to step up to the next level but then Milan signed Conte, Biglia and Kalinic and their progress was blocked. Sure they'll play every 2nd or 3rd game. But they'll struggle to get into their groove and will need to take every single opportunity.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 4:16am
How boring would it be to be a 28 year old professional footballer? Your technique is close to perfect. Why would you ever hit a simple 5 yard pass along the ground with the inside of your foot? One that has a 95% success rate. Why not lift it a little or maybe take an extra touch or use the outside of your foot or a rabona or hit a harder pass? Be the hero in front of all of those fans. After all of these years you deserve. And it's here that the game breaks down. That delay was lethal.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 4:12am
Not to read too much into the U21s but one thing that really stood out was how quickly they moved the ball, particularly Locatelli. And the beauty of Cutrone is his simplicity. I remember against Cagliari when he cleared the ball from a corner and just kept running into the other box looking for the tap in. So many of his goals have come from quick, decisive movement and one and two touch play. Young players tend to bring a simplicity and hunger that can really give a team the edge.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 4:05am
Goodness me Susy, you are so full of yourself it's not even funny.

Talking about objectivity and all that in this piece you couldn't remain objective yourself whilst writing it.

I wonder at what point people decide that they aren't going to take pride in their work anymore. It has been quite obvious to me you gave up a long time ago with all the pathetic excuses for articles you've churned out in succession over the last few years.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 2:17am
Suning are far from faceless, have a presence in Milan, a big plan, and business acumen.

I hope for Milan fans that Yonghong Li is no worse than Thohir who, what ever his initial motive, passed the club on at the right time to the right kind of investor.

I also hope Milan make it into Champions League, but only because it'll be very messy financially otherwise (though Andre Silva, Kessie and Donna can fetch over £180m).

First goal wins, 3-1, my money is on Inter and hope to see Karamoh who
on the 14th October, 2017 at 1:42am

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