AC Milan and Inter meet this Sunday in a highly anticipated 174th Derby della Madonnina, occupying the top two spots in Serie A for the first time in a decade.
Stefano Pioli’s Rossoneri earned a 2-2 draw away at Red Star Belgrade – or Crvena zvezda for you cool kids – in midweek, having made a number of changes for the Europa League clash with this weekend’s heavyweight clash in mind.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the star attraction who will be returning to the starting XI, but who should join him? Here, 90min dives in and predicts the 55-year-old manager’s team selection.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – The 21-year-old has arguably been Italy’s best goalkeeper this season – which is perhaps why he wants the financial rewards to go with it. A strong, consistent performer who is undisputed number one.
Davide Calabria (RB) – Has started 95% of Milan’s Serie A fixtures this season and is a key cog in a settled back four.
Simon Kjaer (CB) – Rested for the trip to Belgrade, it’s fair to assume Pioli was saving the Dane for this match and that he will come into the team in place of Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori.
Alessio Romagnoli (CB) – The club captain is without question Milan’s best central defender and is one of – if not, the – the first name jotted down on the whiteboard.
Theo Hernandez (LB) – A real threat going forward, Hernandez has contributed an impressive four goals and four assists this season. Arguably the club’s most valuable player, he’s a nailed-on starter.
Sandro Tonali (CM) – The young Italian was absent for the win over Crotone earlier this month, and was only fit enough for a watching brief in the defeat to Spezia. His cameo appearance in midweek suggests he’s ready to return from the start.
Franck Kessie (CM) – Another first team regular who was given a rest in midweek, Kessie has scored seven goals from midfield this season and is undoubtedly one of Milan’s most important players.
Hakan Calhanoglu (AM) – The Turkish attacking midfielder is the creative spoke in Milan’s attacking wheel, and has nine Serie A assists to his name.
Alexis Saelemaekers (RW) – The talented Belgian’s signing from Anderlecht was viewed as a long-term investment, but he’s already prospering in Milan and deserves his regular starting place.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (ST) – He may be 39, but Ibrahimovic is still one of the best in the business. 14 goals and counting, the Swede loves the big occasion – and a ruck, should the opportunity present itself.
Ante Rebic (LW) – Has been in good touch this season, and his early withdrawal against Red Star indicates he’s in line for a more prominent role here.