After only one weekend of action in the Serie A the very first Derby della Madonnina of the season is already upon us, one of the most followed football derbies in the football world. Having collected their fourth consecutive title last season, their first under manager Jose Mourinho, it seems the Nerazzurri are once again favourites to win the Scudetto for the fifth season in a row. While the Rossoneri go into this season having not won the Scudetto since 2004, when Inter began their dominance of Serie A.
During the close season Inter have lost last seasons capocannoniere Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as the Swede was finally granted his dream move to Spanish giants Barcelona. Inter did however get £45million in an exchange for Ibrahimovich, which saw Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o moving the other way from the Spanish champions. A very smart move if you ask me, one goalscoring sensation replaced with another, but ultimately Eto’o’s record speaks for itself, two goals in two Champions League finals. He will be cited as the man to end Inter’s 44 years of pain in Europe.
City rivals Milan have also suffered a loss of their own during the summer break, with Kaka moving to Real Madrid for a record-breaking £56millon, a record which in turn was broken again when Cristiano Ronaldo joined Madrid for £80million. In recent seasons Milan has struggled in the Serie A, and now with the loss of Kaka they will be weakened yet again.
The Ancelotti era is over, Maldini has retired, and Beckham has returned back to Galaxy. And so a new era begins for the Rossoneri with former Milan legend Leonardo(left) taking charge. Having not won a major title in 5 years, it will be sink or swim for Leonardo in this his first season in charge. The supporters will no longer settle playing second fiddle to their city rivals. Yet, it doesn’t bode well for the Brazilian after a dismal pre-season Milan look like a legend in decline.
This season Inter will be finally able to implement the 4-3-3 formation Mourinho had in mind last summer, now he’s assembled the squad that should challenge for domestic and European glory. Along with Eto’o joining Inter, the former Chelsea manager has also secured the signatures of Lucio from Bayern Munich, Diego Milito and Thiago Motta. Wesley Sneijder has also joined up from Real Madrid in recent days.
Milan’s newly built squad will be centred on Ronaldinho. The Brazilian will be the focal point of the team in his role of lying behind the two main strikers, in Milan’s 4-3-1-2 formation. Having gained £56million from the sale of Kaka, Milan has failed to invest the money in fresh blood.
They have however secured the arrival of Dutchman Klass Jan Huntelaar, who evokes memories of Marco Van Basten in the minds of the Rossoneri support.
They have also signed Oguchi Onyewu and Thiago Silva. Not marquee signings by any means, also no commendable replacements to fill Kaka’s boots. Huntelaar looks set to make his debut tomorrow night, after missing last weekends win over Siena through suspension.
Defending champions Inter will be looking to clinch their first win after dropping two points last week against newly-promoted Bari. Inter fans will be in the minority in this derby as they are officially the away team. Unlike city rivals Inter, the Rossoneri enjoyed a fine start to the campaign with two goals from Alexandre Pato firing them to a 2-1 win at Siena.
The derby will most likely set the tone for the coming weeks and with Inter already on the back foot having lost 2 important points in the opening fixture, the pressure lies on the Italian champions to deliver a positive result. A defeat, however, could see the gap grow to a possible five points only two games into the new campaign.
Will Mourinho still be the Special One in the Italian capital, or will Leonardo and Ronaldinho give Inter a Brazilian? Time will tell it’s too early in the season to be talking about the title but Milan is in decline, while Inter are flying high.
The Nezurri have the squad capable of winning their fifth Scudetto in a row while also challenging in Europe, sadly, Milan don’t. It’s the Milanese derby, so it will be unpredictable, but one thing is for certain, there will be fireworks, and that will just be Jose Mourinho’s pre-match press conference.
Touchline Views says – Milan 1 – 3 Inter