The arrival of each season brings with it dreams, expectations and desires. The fans begin to imagine the destiny of their team, and in doing so they dream with they mark certain dates with a red circle, those most anticipated fixtures. For a Rossoneri fan, one of these dates, each year, is the Milan Derby. AC Milan v Inter is the only same-city matchup between two Champions League winners and is one of those matches that attracts spectators and interest from all over the world. In the history of the Rossoneri, there have been countless unforgettable derbies, whose memory is inextricably linked to the season in which they were played. In this episode of Time Machine, five have been chosen and here they are.
20 MARCH 1994: BACK TO THE "PROVIDENTIAL AREA"
There is considerable distance between the two teams - the Rossoneri are 16 points clear of the Nerazzurri - but it is war nonetheless at San Siro. AC Milan is battling for the Scudetto (it would be the third in a row), Inter lags behind in the rankings for honour. The Diavolo went ahead through Bergomi, who deflected a Savićević finish into his own goal, but it risked a mockery with Schillaci's equaliser four minutes from the end. In heroic fashion, in the 89th minute, after having already done so two years prior in the race for another Tricolour, local boy Daniele Massaro scored the winner at the dawn of a magical spring that would see him play a major role in the Champions League as well.
23 NOVEMBER 2002: SERGINHO KING OF THE DERBY AGAIN
One of the most unforgettable derbies at San Siro is the 6-0 win in 2001, a match that saw the great Serginho register a goal and three assists. The then Rossoneri number 27 also scored the following year in AC Milan's 4-2 victory, serving Shevchenko the assist for the momentary 4-1 win, and confirming that there really is no two without three. In the first meeting with Inter in a season that would see three more, Serginho scored after 13 minutes, picking up an assist from his compatriot Rivaldo to beat Toldo and score the winner in a 1-0 finish. Thus confirming himself as a true 'King of the Derby'.
21 FEBRUARY 2004: A COMEBACK FOR THE SCUDETTO
To come back and win is a beautiful thing. To come back and win a Derby is an unforgettable one. To do it in a Scudetto-winning year, well... In February 2004, AC Milan are first, five points clear of Roma and six clear of Juventus. The first half is difficult, Inter is 2-0 ahead with goals from Stanković and Cristiano Zanetti. Ancelotti, at the break, substituted Rui Costa for Tomasson to bolster the Rossoneri attack and the Dane rewarded him immediately, playing a one-two with Kaká to score the leveller in the 57th minute. In the 80th minute, to decide the game ending 3-2, was a classical goal: a splendid Seedorf finish, setting the crowd alight and launching AC Milan towards the trophy.
30 SEPTEMBER 2008: DINHO'S FIRST
Scoring your first AC Milan goal in a derby has only been managed by a select few. Among this group there is a special player, whose Rossoneri career was brief - two and a half seasons - but certainly intense, and full of spectacular moments. Ronaldinho became a Rossoneri in July 2008, and 28 September that year he appeared early (only his fifth day with the club) in the Milan Derby. A match he decided himself, when in the 41st minute he connected with a cross from Kaká and scored, with a header, the first of his 26 goals in the Milan shirt.
31 JANUARY 2016: A TRIO OF APPLAUSE
The magic of a derby, especially if it is won in an authoritative manner, is capable of making even a forgettable season with few highlights somehow one to remember. This is the case in the AC Milan v Inter game played on 31 January 2016, which brought us a comprehensive victory not seen in five years. Alex, Bacca, Niang: three players who, that night, scored their first and only career goal against Inter, to bring unexpected and memorable joy to all Rossoneri fans, even in a season where they finished in 7th place.
Tickets are available for AC Milan v Dinamo Zagreb: see you at San Siro!