The season's first Derby della Madonnina was decided by former FC Internazionale Milano employee Zlatan Ibrahimović, the AC Milan striker scoring the only goal to leave his old team floored back in November.
The Swedish international will be unable to repeat the feat on Saturday as he will miss the return encounter through suspension, and this time it will be Internazionale hoping for a telling contribution from one of their rivals' former stalwarts.
Nerazzurri tactician Leonardo represented Milan as player, director and coach and will be up against his former club for the first time since replacing Rafael Benítez in December – when he became the seventh man to coach both San Siro sides after Giuseppe Bigogno, Luigi Radice, József Viola, Giovanni Trapattoni, Ilario Castagner and Alberto Zaccheroni. With Inter now just two points off the Serie A leaders, UEFA.com recalls five Milan derbies starring famous renegades.
Inter 2-2 Milan
9 February 1941
After failing a trial with Milan as a youngster due to his slight frame, Meazza became an Inter legend, scoring 245 goals for the Nerazzurri, including a record 19 in derbies against Milan. A renowned ladies' man who loved dancing the tango with a white gardenia tucked behind his ear, 'Pepin' also won two FIFA World Cups with Italy before a blocked vein damaged the blood supply to his foot, keeping him out of action for over a year. When he resumed playing, he moved to Milan and even though his best days were behind him, he still had a last word to say in the Milan derby, scoring an 83rd-minute equaliser in this 1941 edition.
Milan 1-1 Inter
26 January 2000
Il Divin Codino (the Divine Ponytail) arguably spent his finest hours elsewhere, but he represented both Milan sides, scoring 12 goals in 51 games for the Rossoneri before leaving the club under a cloud in 1997. The No10 relaunched his career with Bologna FC before joining Inter, and while his relationship with coach Marcello Lippi was troubled, Baggio at least made the difference against Milan in the 1999/2000 Coppa Italia quarter-finals. The Nerazzuri enjoyed a 3-2 lead after the first leg, but Andriy Shevchenko scored in the return fixture to put his side ahead on away goals before Baggio's smart, close-range finish propelled Inter into the semi-finals.
Milan 3-2 Inter
21 February 2004
Inter and Milan have traded players more frequently in recent years, with Seedorf's 2002 switch to Milan in exchange for Francesco Coco considered one of the Rossoneri's better deals. The Dutch midfielder has twice won the UEFA Champions League with Milan and also scored the winner in this 2004 derby. Inter went 2-0 ahead thanks to goals from Dejan Stanković and Cristiano Zanetti, but Jon Dahl Tomasson and Kaká replied after the interval before Seedorf's long-range shot four minutes from time gave Milan victory. Milan went on to clinch the Scudetto that season, something they have not done since, and Saturday's meeting could prove similarly telling. "I think this derby will be decisive for the title," Seedorf said of the upcoming encounter.
Inter 2-1 Milan
11 March 2007
Long-serving former Inter vice-president Giuseppe 'Peppino' Prisco had only two photographs of Inter players on his desk: one of Meazza and one of Ronaldo. "I have two teams in my heart," he used to say. "One is Inter; the other is the one playing against Milan." Prisco died in 2001 and so did not see Ronaldo wear the Milan shirt in 2007. The Brazilian, who scored 49 goals in 68 league games for Inter between 1997 and 2002, joined their eternal rivals from Real Madrid CF in January 2007. A few weeks later, he faced the Nerazzurri, scoring a wonderful opener to silence the Inter fans booing him from the stands. His strike was not enough to prevent Inter winning 2-1, however, with Julio Cruz and Ibrahimović replying. "Inter will win this derby because they have more confidence," said Ronaldo of Saturday's match.
Inter 0-1 Milan
14 November 2010
Like Ronaldo, Ibrahimović also had a spell in Spain – with FC Barcelona – between Inter and Milan, and, like Ronaldo, he did not waste time silencing the Inter faithful on his return to San Siro. Only five minutes had passed when the Swedish striker was fouled in the penalty area by Marco Materazzi, stepping up to convert the penalty right under the Curva Nord, where the most passionate Inter fans converge. The goal proved decisive as Milan held on despite being reduced to ten men following Ignazio Abate's dismissal with half an hour to play. "It's a pity to miss the derby," said Ibrahimović. "It's a special game. I think we are the best team in Italy this season and if we don't win the Scudetto, we will only have ourselves to blame."
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