From Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Andrea Pirlo: Meet the players who played for both AC Milan and Inter
The Derby della Madonnina, also known as the Milan Derby, is a feisty encounter played between AC and Inter Milan, two of Italy's most successful clubs. Over the years, this derby has provided fans with memories of a lifetime, not just in their domestic league but also while competing in Europe.
It is on the continental stage where the latest chapter in this rivalry will be written, as the Rossoneri take on the Nerazzurri in the semi-finals of the 2022-23 Champions League, with the prize for the winner a place in the final on June 10 in Istanbul.
Their iconic stadium, San Siro, is shared between the two clubs, and this derby is the only major rivalry in football that has a common stadium. But while the rivalry is quite intense, more than a century of players have featured for both clubs in their careers ever since the early 1900s.
Who are those players? GOAL takes a look:
The greatest Inter legend of all time is undoubtedly Giuseppe Meazza. Such is his impact on the club that the San Siro stadium's actually name is named after this legend as the "Stadio Giuseppe Meazza".
A prolific striker between the 1920s and 1940s, Meazza made 409 appearances for Inter between 1927 and 1940, scoring 284 goals, winning the Serie A title three times and the Coppa Italia once.
After injury issues in 1938–39 and 1939–40, he moved to cross-town rivals Milan in 1940 and stayed with them for two seasons, scoring 11 goals in 42 games.
Meazza moved to Juventus, Varese and Atalanta later in his career before returning home to Inter for one last season in 1946-47 as a player-manager. He played 17 games, scoring the last two goals of his career to save his Inter team from relegation that season.
He then retired from the game. What a story!
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One of the all-time Inter greats, goalkeeper Giorgio Ghezzi joined the club from Modena in 1951.
He spent seven years with Inter, made 186 appearances between 1951 and 1958 and won back-to-back Serie A titles in 1952-53 and 1953-54.
Genoa came calling and signed him in 1958, but he could only feature for one season there before Milan signed him in 1959 as a replacement for Lorenzo Buffon, who had joined Genoa.
Ghezzi went on to be Milan's number-one goalkeeper with over 120 appearances between 1959 and 1965.
With Milan, Ghezzi won another Serie A title in 1962 as well as the 1962–63 European Champions Cup.
Considered one of the greatest deep-lying midfielders of all time, Andrea Pirlo was a treat to watch when he was in full flow.
Pirlo would dominate midfield proceedings for his team with such ease, that it would almost seem impossible for any regular footballer to replicate.
After rising through the ranks at Brescia, Pirlo joined Inter in 1998 and made 22 appearances in his three-season spell, which included two loan deals.
In 2001, Milan signed Pirlo for €17.04 million and thus began the story of the rise of one of the classiest midfielders in modern-day football.
Pirlo spent 10 years at Milan, made 401 appearances, scored 41 goals, and won two Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues, a Coppa Italia, a Supercoppa Italiana and two Uefa Super Cups along with Milan's first-ever Fifa Club World Cup.
In 2011, Pirlo left Milan to join Juventus as a free agent.
The greatest striker of his generation, Ronaldo was a treat to the eye in his prime.
After lighting up the Dutch league with PSV and scoring over 30 goals in a season with Barcelona in 1996-97, Ronaldo Nazario joined Inter in 1997 for €26.50 million in a world record transfer at that time.
Ronaldo immediately adapted to Serie A as if he was meant to play in that league. In his five-year spell with Inter, the Brazilian maestro scored 49 goals in just 68 games, however, he was unlucky not to win any titles except the Uefa Cup in the 1997-98 season.
In 2002, after winning the World Cup with Brazil, while at the peak of his footballing prowess, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid as a Galactico and went on to spend five seasons there, scoring 83 goals in 127 games and winning two La Liga titles, an Intercontinental Cup and the Spanish Super Cup before returning to Italy, joining Milan for the 2007-08 season.
He made just 20 appearances in his last spell in Europe, scoring nine goals before joining Corinthians in 2009 and ending his career two years later.
This all while sustaining two serious knee injuries during his time at Inter.
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Winner of the Champions League four times with three different clubs, two of which came during his stint at Milan, Clarence Seedorf is one of the biggest legends at the club.
After starting his career at Ajax, Seedorf moved to Sampdoria where his class attracted Real Madrid. He spent four years with Los Blancos, making over 100 appearances before joining Inter in 2000.
Seedorf couldn't win silverware in his time at Inter, despite his two years being considered successful in terms of how he elevated the level of that team between 2000 to 2002.
In 2002, Milan signed Seedorf in exchange for Francesco Coco. This move changed the midfielder's fortunes as he went on to become one of the greatest players in the history of I Rossoneri.
Seedorf made exactly 300 appearances for Milan, spanning a decade, winning two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, two Supercoppa Italiana trophies, a Uefa Super Cup, a Club World Cup and the prestigious Champions League two times (2002-03 and 2006-07).
He was the glue that held Milan's greatest squad in the club's history together.
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After attaining greatness in the early days of his career at Parma, Hernan Crespo joined Lazio in 2000 for a then-world record fee before arriving at Inter as Ronaldo's replacement in 2002.
However, he spent just one season at the club, scoring seven goals in 18 games.
Chelsea signed him in August 2003, and after an underwhelming one season followed by the arrival of Jose Mourinho, who didn't want him, Crespo was loaned to Milan for the 2004-2005 season.
Mourinho, however, recalled Crespo for the 2005-2006 season after failing to sign a big-name striker and wanted him to provide competition to Didier Drogba. The Argentina forward won his first Premier League title that season.
Although he scored 13 goals in all competitions and won the 2005–2006 Premier League, Crespo requested a return to Italy in order to rejoin Milan, but he was offloaded to Inter on a two-year loan instead. He was released by the Blues in 2008, after which he signed a one-year deal with Inter.
Crespo ended his club career with stints at Genoa and an emotional return to Parma.
The talented forward won seven trophies in Italy with his four clubs Parma, Lazio, MIian and Inter.
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One of the few players who has played for three of Italy's biggest clubs, Inter, Milan and Juventus, Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in the country for the first time with the Old Lady in 2004.
In his two seasons at Juve, he scored 23 goals in 70 appearances before joining Inter in 2006. In his three-season spell at Inter, Ibrahimovic elevated himself to one of the best strikers in the world as he scored 57 goals in 88 games.
His performances were so good that Barcelona were tempted into bringing him to Camp Nou to play alongside Lionel Messi.
However, that didn't quite go well and returned to Italy and joined AC Milan on loan in 2010 before permanently joining them in 2011. After one season at the San Siro where he scored 28 goals in 32 games, newly cash-rich PSG signed Ibrahimovic in 2012.
The Swede created history at PSG, scoring 113 goals in 122 appearances over four years before joining Manchester United. In his 33 appearances for United, Ibrahimovic led them to Carabao Cup and Europa League glory.
Injuries curtailed his progress at Old Trafford, but he recovered and joined LA Galaxy in the MLS in 2018. In his one season there, Ibrahimovic netted an astonishing 53 goals in 58 games.
He returned to Europe and Milan in 2020 and has since then made over 60 appearances and scored over 30 goals for the club in his second stint.
Italian striker Mario Balotelli made a name for himself quite early in his career. After rising through the ranks at Inter, he made his first senior appearance at the club in 2007.
In his three years there, Balotelli made 59 appearances, scoring 20 goals and winning the treble of the Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League with Inter in 2010.
His performances caught the eye of Manchester City, who signed him for big money later that year. He scored another 20 goals in 54 appearances for City before returning to Italy, this time with Milan in the 2013-14 season. Balotelli was a hit in his one season with Milan, scoring 26 goals in 43 games.
He moved to Liverpool in 2014 and everything went downhill from there, barring a good spell at Nice in France.
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Italy's 1982 World Cup-winning defender with over a century of appearances for both Milan and Inter, Fulvio Collovati joined Milan in 1976 and was immediately touted to be the great Roberto Rosatto's heir. But he was more than just that!
The defender won four titles at Milan.
However, after the World Cup win, Collovati joined Inter in 1982 and became their most important defender of the mid-1980s.
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A full-back who could also play as a sweeper and slot into midfield, Sergio Battistini was one of the most versatile Italian footballers of the 1980s.
After starting his senior career with Milan in 1980, Battistini established himself as a legend at the club, making 162 appearances, and also scoring 29 goals. He helped Milan win two Serie B titles in 1981 and 1983.
An interesting fact about Battistini that links him to one of the greatest Milan legends of all time is that on 20 January 1985, in a league match against Udinese, he got injured and had to be substituted at half-time. Guess who was his replacement? The great Paolo Maldini, who made his Milan debut in that game!
Fiorentina signed him in 1985 and in his five-year spell with the club, Battistini reached the 1990 Uefa Cup final.
He joined Inter in the summer of 1990 and won the Uefa Cup twice in his time there.
One of the most versatile forwards of his generation, Roberto Baggio was a master tactician and a technically gifted footballer.
He could score all kinds of goals, the spectacular, free kicks, penalties, tap-ins; everything!
With over 200 goals in Serie A, Baggio is famously known as "Il Divin Codino" - meaning "The Divine Ponytail", for his hairstyle for most of his career.
Baggio was established at Juventus when Milan signed him in 1995. In his two seasons with Milan, the striker scored 12 goals in 51 appearances before moving to Bologna in 1997. In his one season in North Italy, Baggio received nominations for both the Ballon d'Or and the World Player of the Year due to his performances for Bologna and Italy. He was also nominated for the 1998 Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year and Serie A Footballer of the Year awards.
After the 1998 World Cup, Inter signed him. He played there for two rather underwhelming seasons before moving to Brescia.
One of the greatest strikers of the early 1900s, Aldo Cevenini joined Milan in 1909 and made 42 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals.
After three years at Milan, Inter signed Aldo in 1912. He played a further three seasons with Inter, scoring 42 goals in just 51 games.
Milan came back for him in 1915 and this time Cevenini stayed for four seasons at the club, scoring 48 goals in 42 games.
In 1919, he returned to Inter for two seasons before joining Novese. He ended his career back at Inter in the 1922-23 season.
With over 190 career appearances with Inter in three different phases of his career, Luigi Cevenini also moved to Milan for a couple of short stints.
The Italian striker played one game for Milan in the 1911-12 season before moving to Inter in 1912 with his brother Aldo. Three seasons later, he returned to Milan and made seven appearances until 1919.
In 1919, he came back to Inter, this time, making 40 appearances and scoring 54 goals. He then moved to Novese in the 1921-22 season and won them the Scudetto before returning back to Inter, making 94 appearances and scoring 72 goals between 1922 and 1927.
Cevenini also went on to play for Juventus later in his career.
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Lorenzo Buffon started his career at Portogruaro in Italy before moving to Milan in 1949.
The goalkeeper played 10 seasons at Milan, making 277 appearances between 1949 and 1959, claiming the Scudetto four times.
Buffon first joined Genoa for a season in 1959, and subsequently moved to Milan's arch-rivals Inter in 1960. On both occasions, he was signed as a replacement for his goalkeeping rival Giorgio Ghezzi, who had instead joined Buffon's former club Milan in 1959.
At Inter, Buffon won one Serie A title.
Known for his fearless attitude in a physically challenging era, Buffon once suffered a broken nose while going into a do-or-die challenge in a game against England in 1961.
The rest, from Hakan Calhanoglu to Christian Vieri
A look at the timeline and the players who crossed the Milan divide to play for both clubs in their history:
1900 to 1930: Mario Cevenini, Pietro Bronzini, Eugenio Negri, Luigi Binda, Antonio Da Sacco, Orlando Bocchi, Enrico Rivolta, Hugo Rietmann, Carlo Hopf, Arnaldo Woelkel, Franco Bontadini, Gustavo Carrer, Giuseppe Rizzi, Julio Bavastro, Marco Sala, Cesare Cevenini, Carlo Cevenini, Francesco Soldera, Guglielmo Gajani, Giovanni Bolzoni, Alessandro Savelli
1930 to 1960: Renato De Manzano, Elpidio Coppa, Carlo Villa, Umberto Garnieri, Celso Battaia, Enrico Candiani, Narciso Soldan, Antonio Angelillo, Giovanni Bolzoni, Emilio Gattoronchieri, Bernardo Poli, Oliviero Mascheroni, Savino Bellini, Romano Penzo, Sergio Marchi, Lino Grava, Bruno Mazza, Celestino Celio, Eugenio Rizzolini
1960 to 1990: Aldo Bet, Egidio Calloni, Massimo Silva, Giorgio Morini, Oscar Damiani, Adelio Moro, Tiziano Manfrin, Nazzareno Canuti, Giancarlo Pasinato, Aldo Serena, Gaetano Salvemini, Victor Benitez, Dario Barluzzi, Aquilino Bonfanti, Nevio Scala
1990 to 2010: Maurizio Ganz, Georgio Fezzolini, Pierluigi Orlandini, Taribo West, Ronaldo, Cyril Domoraud, Dario Simic, Marco Veraldi, Christian Vieri, Luca Ceccarelli, Salvatore Ferraro, Giuseppe Favalli, Atilla Fikor, Cristian Daminuta, Mattia Destro, Mancini, Sulley Muntari, Leonardo Bonucci, Fabrizio Ferron, Francesco Toldo, Christian Panucci, Cristian Brocchi, Stefano Lombardi, Francesco Coco, Edgar Davids, Patrick Vieira, Guly, Domenico Morfeo, Thomas Helvig, Drazen Brncic, Umit Davala, Matteo Darmian
2010 to 2022: Atilla Fikor, Cristian Daminuta Mancini, Sulley Muntari, Giampaolo Pazzini, Andrea Poli, Matias Silvestre, Diego Laxalt, Leonardo Bonucci, Antonio Cassano, Matteo Darmian, Hakan Calhanoglu, Raoul Bellanova, Francesco Acerbi