From Giuseppe Meazza to Mario Balotelli, there is a long list of players who have represented both Milan teams with varying degrees of success, especially in recent years when swap deals between FC Internazionale Milano and AC Milan, or famous returns to the city via another club, have become commonplace. Following former Nerazzurro Balotelli's move to the Rossoneri, UEFA.com picks out five of the most celebrated players to have performed on both sides of the Naviglio river.
Inter 1997–2002, Milan 2007–08
'The Phenomenon' joined Inter from FC Barcelona in summer 1997 and if 25 Serie A goals in his debut season proved insufficient to win the Scudetto, he took consolation in scoring the third in La Beneamata's 3-0 UEFA Cup final victory against S.S. Lazio. Several knee injuries later, he landed at Milan from Real Madrid CF and netted against Inter in a Derby della Madonnina, though his side went on to lose 2-1. "I have great memories of both teams," said Ronaldo at the end of 2012. "I don't regret anything."
Inter 1999–2005, Milan 2005–06
Powerful forward Vieri hit 103 Serie A goals in six campaigns with Inter, but got a pretty meagre return in terms of trophies, with only the 2004/05 Coppa Italia to show for his efforts. Having terminated his Nerazzurri contract in 2005, he signed a two-year deal with Milan. "I hope to finally win something big," he said. "When Milan knocked at my door, I accepted immediately." However, silverware – and first-team football – did not come easily, and he moved on to AS Monaco FC after just six months.
Inter 1998–2001, Milan 2001–11
Swap deals between the two clubs are not uncommon, with Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano switched only last summer. Perhaps the most notable exchange of all was the one that handed the Rossoneri Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf in return for Andrés Guglielminpietro and Francesco Coco. Midfielders Pirlo and Seedorf would help Milan win two UEFA Champions League titles, and Inter owner Massimo Moratti admitted: "Selling Pirlo to Milan was the biggest mistake of my presidency. I liked him a lot."
Inter 2002–03 & 2006–09, Milan 2004–05
Hernán Crespo's two goals were not enough for Milan to beat Liverpool FC in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, much to the Argentinian's chagrin. "It's hard to forget such a game, but now I'm proud to have been part of it," he said much later. On loan from Chelsea FC at the time – the club he had joined from Inter in 2003 – he came back for a second spell with the Nerazzurri in 2006, collecting three league titles and an Italian Super Cup over four seasons before leaving for Genoa CFC.
Inter 2006–09, Milan 2010–12
'Mr Scudetto', the Sweden striker arrived at Inter in 2006 and picked up Serie A titles in three consecutive seasons before departing for Barcelona. A year later he returned to San Siro to sign for the Rossoneri, scoring the penalty that settled the first derby he played with Milan under the Curva Nord, where Inter's most ardent fans stand. "They tried everything to make me lose my focus, but I knew I would score," said Ibrahimović, who promptly helped Milan clinch the championship in his first term.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.