The Derby della Madonnina is always filled with drama, intensity and usually one or more sending offs. Personally, I blame Inter. Ever since they were a part of our club they’ve been pissing us off like the snakes that they are. Well us and everyone else. No one likes Inter. And while their history is filled with lengthy spells of losing, it wasn’t until they took matters into their own hands and shaped Calciopoli that they finally found another helping of success. A treble purchased with what was left of their souls and the decency of all of Serie A. But on Sunday, we can help break that curse. Defeating them will almost certainly guarantee no Champions League for them next year, and will keep our slim Scudetto hopes alive. Break the curse.
But breaking the curse will not be easy. Moratti has brainwashed his fifth coach in two years, only this one has actually managed to revitalize their ridiculous season. Stramaccioni, who is younger than some of his players, has managed to find not only the individual talents but the teamwork and drive that this squad had been comically missing all year. His resumé includes six years coaching Roma youth teams, then this past year coaching Inter’s Primavera. After winning the NextGen tournament, Moratti wisely replaced Rainieri with him to suck the life and potentially every last ounce of win out of him. Of course, I’m not sure who is the evil genius here. Stramaccioni got his degree in law after all, he is the perfect snake without Moratti’s evil influence.
I must digress here and say that I was slightly disillusioned after reading Ibra’s book. I have always viewed Moratti much like the picture above, or maybe a little more sinister. And yet Ibra painted him as a really nice guy, a total pushover, someone who is very good to his players. But I have long since convinced myself that Ibra was just trolling us, because it’s hard to hate a good guy. So evil it is.
|This looks like a moment for Ibra to show him some "love"|
Speaking of evil, how about that Diego Milito? He won the Bidone d’Oro award (“Golden Trashcan”) in January of this year. Then he struck back and scored the single fatal goal against us in the derby. Now he’s suddenly got 20 goals in Serie A and is trying to chase down Ibra’s Capocannoniere. Damned snakes. The venomous ones are the worst. And grass snakes are not supposed to be venomous. Must. Break. Curse.
Sunday will be one of the toughest derbies we’ve seen since Mourinho’s Inter. Stramaccioni was undefeated since taking over at the end of March, but Parma tasted first blood with a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday. I’ve always liked that Parma club. Stramaccioni faced off with Cesar; Samuel, Lucio, Nagatomo, Maicon; Stankovic, Obi, Cambiasso; Milito, Sneijder, and Alvarez. I am certain he will be flushing out every snake possible for this one, and with their Champions League hopes hinging on 2 wins and some cooperation from other teams, they will take no prisoners. His Inter have averaged an incredible 3.9 goals per game since taking over, and I’m sure Moratti has emphasized to Stramaccioni just how much money is involved in Champions League play. And even if he is perhaps a decent guy, money speaks loudest to every businessman. Break the curse.
|Break the curse, keep the coach. Win-win.|
Allegri, having just been “guaranteed” his job by Berlusconi this week (Italian for you’ll be sacked shortly,) has his season and likely his job riding on this one. Not only to restore the pride lost to Ranieri’s derby win in January, but also literally our last hope of silverware in this injury-plagued season. Speaking of injuries, it is hoped that Thiago Silva, snakehunter, will make it back for Sunday. He is supposed to be tested later today to see if he is fit. If there are football gods, this would be the time to start praying to them.
So… let’s imagine for a second that everyone is healthy, and ask ourselves, “What would Allegri do?” I say Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Silva, Antonini; Aquilani, van Bommel, Nocerino; Boateng; Ibra, Cassano. That squad would be full of win, and brings matchups like van Bommel and Sneijder, worth the price of admission all by itself. And off the bench we could see our il Faraone vs. Faraoni , the fake Italian pluralization of our Egyptian El Shaarawy. So many great story lines, but nothing so important as the breaking the curse with the win. Because if we can’t reclaim Serie A, then you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it…
Normally, pride is the biggest factor in the derby. Especially after losing in January. But this time there is so very much more. Even some Juventini will have a hard time rooting against us, even after this horrible season of acrimony. This match is bigger than them all, a must win for both sides. And no, that doesn’t mean we get an unsavory draw. That means it’s time for Milan to break the curse that Inter have had on Serie A since 2006. It’s time to break our injury curse and field a team of true starters. It’s time to make sure Ibra gets his scoring title, and it’s certainly time to do what we can to win the Scudetto. If we can eliminate those cursed snakes and keep them from reaching 3rd place, we will be heroes even if we fall just short of being crowned champions. Let’s be heroes. And maybe champions, too. Let’s break the curse.
Il Derby della Madonnina
Inter vs. Milan
Sunday, May 6 • 20:45 CEST (2:45 EDT)
This match will be shown on FSC, RAI International,
and ESPN3 in the U.S.
and ESPN3 in the U.S.
This post inspired by U2’s “War” album