Sunday’s 217th Derby della Madonnina summed up everything once synonymous with Italian football. A 2-2 draw full of intensity, passion and last minute drama. A 77,000 strong crowd under the San Siro floodlights brought memories of days where Italy was a European powerhouse. However, the lack of quality was a reminder that Serie A is a still a long way from those days.
ACMilan’s downfall was signalled by the inability to replace a team of aging world-class stars. Legends such as Seedorf, Nesta and Pirlo were alienated by the club in order to save money. The river of cash from the 90’s had dried up. Milan’s demise was summed up by club president, Silvio Berlusconi’s reasons for selling key players, Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva – “We save €150m over two years.”
Inter too fell victim, their finances with losses between 1995-2011 totalled over €1bn. As other leagues flourished with TV deals, Inter’s revenue fell. President Massimo Moratti’s flamboyant spending was now impossible. Financial Fair Play meant they faced sanctions if they continued in this way,and so Inter quickly became a selling club.
However is there light at the end of this five-year tunnel?
Both clubs have overturned their philosophies, with Inter now under the eye of Chinese investors and Milan following suit. Milan’s Primavera is producing first team talent with Donnarumma and Locatelli teenage regulars. Under Montella’s wing, Milan finally have a style worthy their predecessors. Inter too, now have a stable financial platform to propel themselves. It seems it won’t be long before the two forgotten powerhouses are back in Europe’s elite.
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