AC Milan vs Inter Milan: All-time Combined XI
From legendary managers to players, some of the biggest names in football have made their name for these two teams, they are truly pillars of history for Italian Football.
With Milan Derby in the Champions League semi-final around the corner, this fixture does not need any introduction where two rival teams are not only connected by their origins but even share the same stadium, The San Siro. Let’s take a look at our all-time AC Milan vs Inter Milan combined XI. The history of both teams is littered with world-class players in every position and for legendary status, we felt each squad member must have made at least 100 appearances for their team.
AC Milan – There couldn’t have been any other choice other than Carlo Ancelotti as manager after leading the Rossoneri to two Champions League triumphs during his nine-year stint in charge when adopting a 4-4-2 formation. Not to mention the team he had built was the most dominant and fearful squad in the whole of Europe.
Inter Milan – While Nereo Rocco and Arrigo Sacchi managed the same feat with AC, while under consideration from Inter were Helenio Herrera or Jose Mourinho. Jose Mourinho will be our pick for the Manager because his treble with Inter in 2010 is not only an underrated feat but it also put him and Inter on the map of World Football. Not to mention their Champions League campaign which saw them defeat Barcelona with Prime Messi and Bayern with Prime Ribery and Robben.
Goalkeeper: Walter Zenga (Inter Milan)
At the peak of his career, the man known as ‘Spiderman’ was officially crowned the world’s best three years in a row. Blessed with outstanding reflexes and assured command of his area, Zenga had an aura of invincibility, a characteristic that all truly great ‘keepers possess.
For 23 years after joining the youth team in 1971 and also earned 58 international caps for Italy between the sticks. Zenga won the Serie A title with Inter during the 1988-89 season, helping the team to set a then-record for points collected in a league campaign, whilst he also lifted the UEFA Cup twice with the club, in 1991 and 1994.
Right-back: Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan)
Currently being vice president of Inter, the Argentinan defender holds the record for most Serie A appearances by a foreign player after playing 615 times for Inter in Italy’s top flight. Add on 145 caps for La Albiceleste and it is easy to see why Zanetti earned his nickname ‘El Tractor’ for his tireless style of play.
Javier Zanetti led Inter into one of the most successful periods in the club’s long history. From 2005 to 2010, Zanetti captained Inter to winning five Serie A trophies and ultimately led the golden generation of Inter Milan to win the treble, including the 2010 Champions league trophy. Zanetti also went 12 years without collecting a red card and ended his career with just two of those.
Centre-Back: Franco Baresi (AC Milan)
The original one-club man, Baresi was captain for 15 of his 20 seasons with the Rossoneri. A player who would always lead by example and inspire others with his ultra-professional approach both on and off the pitch.
Loyal to the jersey in the difficult years, he was captain of the team that under the guidance of both Sacchi and Capello conquered the world from the late 80’s on. He finished his football career counting 719 official matches, 6 league titles, 3 European Champion Clubs’ Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 3 European Cup Winners’ Cups, and 4 Italian Supercup. AC Milan retired the number 6 jersey in his honor.
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Centre-Back: Giuseppe Bergomi (Inter Milan)
Another commanding figure who brought out the best in those around him as well as playing 758 matches for Inter, Bergomi featured in four World Cups for Italy, lifting the trophy in 1982 and captaining the Azzurri eight years later.
In the midst of all this came a whole career at Inter, a legendary Scudetto, and three UEFA Cups lifted high to the sky. From Altobelli to Ronaldo, with Matthäus in the middle, Bergomi was a true constant for the Nerazzurri for 20 years: always calm, always intelligent, and always with a smile on his face.
Left-back: Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
In 1997 he inherited the captain’s armband from Baresi and lifted new trophies with Zaccheroni and Ancelotti. The apotheosis came on 28 May 2003, when after 40 years after Milan’s first European Champion Clubs’ Cup win, he lifted, just like his father Cesare, the Champions League trophy at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Rated by many as the greatest defender of all time, Maldini could have played in the middle but was simply phenomenal as a left-back. In over 900 games for AC, he secured seven Serie A titles and five Champions League triumphs, consistently starring with his relentless defense and aerial prowess.
Midfield: Frank Rijkaard (AC Milan)
With AC Milan, he had won 10 trophies, including a pair of Scudetti, Italian Super Cups, Champions Leagues, European Super Cups, and Intercontinental Cups. The stylish Holland star did not lack talent in terms of distribution and link-up play, but it is his qualities as a holding midfielder that we’re looking to utilize. Aggressive and athletic, Rijkaard was a force of nature in Milan’s engine room.
Midfield: Lothar Matthaus (Inter Milan)
The epitome of German efficiency, the 1990 Ballon d’Or winner led his country to World Cup glory in Italy that year. For Inter, Matthaus was the complete midfielder, equally adept in his own penalty box as in the opposition’s, Matthäus was a box-to-box midfielder capable of scoring numerous types of goals in the air or with either foot. He was quick, powerful, elusive, and technically supreme.
Midfield: Ruud Gullit (AC Milan)
With his iconic dreadlocks flowing, Gullit was a sight to behold as his speed, strength, and attacking prowess terrorized defenses. Unpredictable, physically powerful, and deadly in the air, he started as a sweeper and then moved forward becoming one of the finest attackers in the world.
The Golden Ball was the first of a series of honors won with Milan, including three league titles, two European Champion Clubs’ Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, two European Super Cups, and three Italian League Super Cups.
Attacking Midfield: Kaka (AC Milan)
The gifted Brazilian playmaker was both physically imposing and blessed with incredible natural talent on the ball. Equally adept at dribbling, providing assists for teammates with his precise passing, and scoring spectacular goals.
The Brazilian’s exponential growth culminated in the extraordinary 2006-07 season, when he scored 10 goals and led the team to the Champions League final victory in Athens, after an unforgettable brace to Manchester United in the semi-final. Before receiving the Golden Ball and FIFA World Player awards in 2007, Kaká also won the European Super Cup and Club World Cup.
Striker: Marco van Basten (AC)
Van Basten joined AC Milan in the summer 1987, along with Ruud Gullit, with the Rossoneri, he won the Serie A title in his debut season. The ‘Swan of Utrecht’ scored goals in all possible ways with astonishing consistency.
In addition to the trophies lifted with the Club, his tally of individual honors includes 3 Ballon d’Or awards and 2 Serie A top scorer titles. Marco Van Basten bade farewell to football in Milan in 1995 at just 33. During his time at AC Milan, he made 201 appearances, scoring 125 goals.
Striker: Ronaldo (Inter)
His first season in Italy yielded 34 goals in just 37 appearances, and his strike in the 1998 UEFA Cup Final against Lazio sealed a comprehensive 3-0 win for Inter. In a league that was renowned for its tight defenses and lack of space, Ronaldo ran riot. Injuries restricted him to a fraction under 100 appearances for Inter, but it is definitely worth making a rule for a talent like Ronaldo.
Labeled a phenomenon due to his amazing pace and power on the ball, Brazil forward’s direct approach would have any defender on the back foot. He was a generational talent who won almost everything he went up against and a role model for players like Rodrygo and CR7.
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