The curtain is slowly drawing on the iconic San Siro. Both Inter and AC Milan are making inroads on their way to building a new stadium, one that will see their long-time home almost entirely demolished in the process.
It will bring with it exciting new times for both clubs, but it will also be an emotional farewell to one of world football’s most famous venues.
Over the years Italy’s biggest ground has played host to a vast array of exciting and memorable matches, not always involving both clubs, and sometimes not involving either at all.
So let’s take a look back on some of the most memorable games played in this prestigious arena.
This is one of the most famous derby clashes between the two sides, as to this day it remains the highest scoring Derby della Madonnina fixture.
I Nerazzurri found themselves in a precarious position in the match as Milan ran riot to lead 4-1, and as underdogs prior to kick off, it seemed unlikely that any sort of comeback would materialise.
What they pulled off was something quite spectacular, though. A rip-roaring fightback saw Inter not only level the match, but claim the three points with an incredible 6-5 win inspired by Amedeo Amadei’s hat trick.
At a point in history in which Dutch football was gaining prominence due to the fine national side and Ajax’s great team of the early 70s, it was fellow Dutch alumni who would secure the European Cup with a last-gasp victory over their Scottish opponents.
Tommy Gemmel bagged the opener for Celtic – who were looking to lift the trophy for the second time in three years – only for Rinus Israel to equalise shortly after. Neither side could be separated after 90 minutes, and with three minutes left of extra time it seemed penalties would be the deciding factor.
That was before prolific Swedish striker Ole Kindvall had his say, firing home late in the tie to break Celtic hearts and secure Feyenoord their first and only European Cup.
Careca opened the scoring for the hosts with a thunderous 30-yard strike, but Napoli’s joy was cut short after the break when Nicola Berti’s shot took a wicked deflection off of Luca Fusi to nestle into the net and levels matters.
But Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were unstoppable that year. There is a reason that season is know as Inter dei record (Inter of records), because they simply couldn’t stop winning. This was to be their day, and Lothar Matthäus was to be the match winner with a superb 83rd minute free kick.
That goal handed the home side their 13th league title, in one of San Siro’s most memorable clashes.
Despite the magnificence of the Milan side that year, their path to the Champions League semi-finals hadn’t exactly been a smooth one. Sure, they thumped Levski Sofia in the first round, but had to battle their way through Red Star Belgrade and Werder Bremen in the following stages.
So when Madrid were next up it would prove to be their toughest clash of the competition yet. A hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu put them in a great place to reach the final, but the manner in which they did secure victory was spectacular.
Carlo Ancelotti put the hosts ahead on 17 minutes, and then a rampant Rossoneri simply blew Los Blancos away. Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit also struck before the break as Madrid were torn apart, with further goals coming in the second half courtesy of Marco van Basten and Roberto Donadoni.
One of the best nights in Milan’s European history was added to in the final, as they made light work of Steaua București aside with a comfortable 4-0 win.
Another clash that is fondly remembered by one half of San Siro took place after the turn of the century, as I Rossoneri claimed their biggest win over their rivals with an outstanding display.
Neither side was enjoying a successful season, with both tied level on points ahead of kick off and languishing disappointingly in mid-table. The usual, high intensity football was still expected, but never in such a one-sided manner.
Milan claimed an unlikely 6-0 victory aided by Andriy Shevchenko’s brace, in what would become the largest margin of victory ever seen in the derby.
A Champions League final where penalties took centre stage. Bayern were chasing their first European title for 25 years, while Valencia found themselves in back-to-back finals having lost out the year before to Real Madrid.
It was to be heartbreak once more for the Spanish side, as Oliver Kahn proved to be their undoing. Gaizka Mendieta and Stefan Effenberg traded regulation-time penalties to take the game to extra time, but neither side were to break the deadlock and the dreaded shootout was to follow.
Both sides had missed two of their first four spot kicks, but found themselves still level on 4-4 after six taken each. However, Mauricio Pellegrino (former Southampton boss, remember?) was to be denied by Kahn after Thomas Linke netted for Bayern, and the German side claimed their fourth European Cup.
Champions League semi-final and it’s also a derby? What more could you want?
A tense 0-0 draw in the first leg (in which Milan were the ‘home’ team), set up and even more tense second leg, with the ultimate prize of reaching the Champions League final making it all the more engrossing. It was the 255th derby between the two and arguably the most important ever.
Shevchenko had opened the scoring on the cusp of half-time by fending off Ivan Cordoba to clip his shot beyond Francesco Toldo. Christian Abbiati was in inspired form for the visitors, though, fending off everything Inter threw at them until Obafemi Martins struck with seven minutes remaining.
No late winner was to be found for Inter, as Milan celebrated jubilantly at their achievement. The final was mostly forgettable, but Milan secured the trophy with a penalty shootout win over Juventus.
This…this was crazy. When the pair were pitted against each other in the Champions League quarter-finals everyone expected fireworks, just not, well, literally.
Milan had the upper hand with a 2-0 first leg win, and after Shevchenko opened the scoring in the second leg and Esteban Cambiasso had a goal bizarrely disallowed, Inter fans had seen enough. Flares were thrown onto the pitch and missiles came pouring down, with one striking goalkeeper Dida in the head.
The referee halted proceedings before eventually abandoning the match, which resulted in Milan being handed a 3-0 win and Inter being slapped with a large fine and given a four-game European stadium ban. Mad times.
The Nerazzurri have had some fine teams over the years, but Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning side of the 2009/10 season is probably the best of the lot. They were an unstoppable force in every competition they played, with the first derby of the season making that crystal clear.
Milan were simply unable to keep up with the pace an intelligence of their rivals on the day, ending up as 4-0 losers – the damage being done by Thiago Motta, Diego Milito, Maicon and Dejan Stankovic.
Inter secured the league title without much worry, the Coppa Italia followed, and then the season was capped off with a 2-0 victory over Bayern in the Champions League final. Blimey, that was some team.
Remember how I said that this Inter side were really good? Yeah, well if anyone actually needed any more assurances that Mourinho’s men were the real deal, their Champions League semi-final first leg win over Barcelona proved that.
The visitors did go in front, but a majestic Inter performance wasn’t to be prevented as they stormed back to victory with goals from Wesley Sneijder, Diego Milito and Maicon turning the game, and the tie, on its head.
A tactical battle between Pep Guardiola and Mourinho made the clash such an enticing watch, in what was a packed and raucous San Siro. A European classic.
This was just the second time in the Champions League’s history that both finalists were from the same city. The last time? When these same two sides went head-to-head in the 2014 final. Well done to the city of Madrid.
Atletico were seeking revenge this time around after the last minute heartbreak they suffered two years prior, although 15 minutes in, it seemed as if their previous tormentor Sergio Ramos would be the villain once more. His close range finish appeared offside, but the goal stood.
Mere seconds into the second half and Atletico were handed a lifeline, as Pepe clumsily felled Fernando Torres in the box to hand Los Rojiblancos a penalty. Antoine Griezmann crashed his spot kick against the bar, and Madrid were spared. They weren’t spared ten minutes from time, though, as Yannick Carrasco would net after a lovely flowing move to cap a pulsating encounter.
Penalties would ultimately decide the match, with the unfortunate guilty party being Atletico defender Juanfran. Madrid had netted all four of their spot kicks leaving the pressure on the Spaniard, but he was denied by the post. So, as expected, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and, well…y’know, he doesn’t miss those.