Why is Inter vs AC Milan called the Derby della Madoninna?
Inter and AC Milan meet in the 308th edition of their city derby today, with a place in the Champions League final at stake.
Inter and AC Milan, who face off in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals today, are Italy’s two most successful sides in European competition. From the northern city of Milan, both teams count themselves among the most prestigious in the world and matches between the two are always fiercely competitive.
In Italian the fixture is known as the Derby della Madonnina, meaning the ‘Derby of the Little Madonna’.
It takes its name from a statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral, which is often referred to as the ‘Madonnina’. The statue is one of the most emblematic sights in the city and it is a key source of civic pride.
The first meeting between Inter and AC Milan came on 10 January 1909 in the Italian Football Championship. That day AC Milan ran out 3–2 winners in the first of 307 matches between the two teams. Few of that number, however, will have been played with the intensity and the drama of this year’s Champions League tie.
Which side has had the better of the Milan derby?
Before today’s Champions League return leg, there had been 307 games between the two but 71 of them have been unofficial or friendly matches. The remaining 236 meetings have been proper competitive fixtures and the record is fairly even over the 114 years of their rivalry.
Inter Milan have a narrow lead in historic terms with 88 competitive wins to AC Milan’s 79 victories. They have drawn 69 times.
In terms of Italian league titles they are neck-and-neck in second place behind Juventus, with 19 Scudettos apiece. When it comes to their league fixtures, Inter have the edge with 68 Serie A wins to AC Milan’s 54.
However, in continental terms it is AC Milan who boast the best record. They have been crowned European champions on seven occasions - a haul that is second only to Real Madrid’s 15 tournament triumphs and far outstrips Inter’s tally of three.
Furthermore, the Rossoneri have eliminated Inter in their two previous meetings in the Champions League. They face an uphill battle to knock out their city rivals for a third time, though, after goals by Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave the Nerazzurri a 2-0 first-leg lead last week.