The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, or more commonly referred to as San Siro, was erected nearly a century ago in the 1920s, with a string of periodic renovations since then to ensure the structure remained intact and suitable enough for modern football.
With a capacity exceeding 80,000, it is the largest ground in Italy and serves as the home of both Milan and Inter who, with their history of success and winning tradition, have turned the stadium into the hallowed ground we see today.
An architectural wonderland with its perimeter beams and signature spiraling staircases, San Siro remains a mecca of world football, despite its outdated facilities and need for improvement. It is one of the few in Italy that avoided the plague of athletics tracks and remained purely constructed for Calcio.
However, here in 2019, with state of the art stadiums being constructed and serving as money-making machines for top clubs all around Europe, perhaps there is no better time than now to discuss the future of San Siro and whether or not its two tenants should push for a new place to call home.
Multiple reports around Italy insist demolishing the Stadio Meazza and replacing it with a €600m, 60,000-capacity venue similar in design to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is more than just an idea at this stage.
As things stand, it seems as though Milan and the local council have given the go ahead, with Inter to follow suit. But, the thought of tearing down La Scala del Calcio and breaking ground in the same location is something that seems to have divided many with devotion to either one of the clubs.
Many opposed to the idea of departing San Siro are likely thinking nostalgically and visualizing the structure they built a life around turning to ashes. These individuals understand the commercial opportunities and benefits that come along with erecting a brand-new venue like the Juventus Allianz Stadium, or what Roma have in the pipeline with the Stadio della Roma. But there is something to be said about the nostalgic value, tradition and aura around San Siro and seeing its awe-inspiring presence in the distance; that is awfully difficult to replicate.
Reports also add that along with a new ground, the project would include a 5,000-capacity for concerts and events, as well as a shopping mall surrounding the area, which would drive even more revenue.
Now if you are a football fan who can look beyond all of these factors and see the bigger picture in a major commercial opportunity, building a new stadium over the current one is the sensible way forward.
Opting for additional renovations and additions instead of a complete teardown is probably the most conservative approach. But the reality is with both Silvio Berlusconi and Massimo Moratti out of the equation, and new ownership groups having the long-term gain in mind for the clubs to effectively generate the revenues of Europe superpowers, a new stadium becomes a formality – even if it will divide many in the process.
Could we be witnessing one of the last Milan Derbies in this iconic venue? Let’s appreciate it all the more.