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Derby d’Italia: The Inter v Juventus Rivalry

inter-juveThe rivalry between Internazionale of Milan (Inter) and Juventus of Turin is the most intense football competition in Italy between two teams from different cities. The clubs reinforce that rivalry by playing a biannual football fixture known as the Derby d’Italia. Located in Northern Italy, which traditionally has been a powerhouse for Italian football, the two teams lead all other Italian football clubs in wins and goals scored, making them the perfect candidates for such an ongoing rivalry.

It was 14 November 1909 when the two clubs first met. Juventus had been in existence since 1897, while Internazionale of Milan, which had broken off from A.C. Milan, was in its second year. Since then they have met 223 other times. Over the course of more than 100 years, Juventus has 99 wins, Inter 69, and there have been 56 ties.

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Statistics and Records

Along with leading in face-to-face meetings, Juventus leads Inter in Serie A titles 32-18, Coppa Italia trophies 11-7, and Supercoppa Italiana crowns 7-5. The Vecchia Signora also possesses more international titles than Inter, outdistancing them 11-9. Total titles won by Juventus stands at 59, while the Nerazzurri hold 39.

In head-to-head competition, Inter has scored the most goals and produced the largest victory margin. Both of these records were established when they beat Juventus 11-1 on 22 October 1924. On 10 June 1961, the Vecchia Signora beat their rivals 9-1, marking their biggest victory margin and most goals against Inter. Overall goals scored in 224 derbies by each team has Juventus at 319 and Inter at 278.

Important Games, Players and Managers

The Juventus and Inter rivalry is an unusual one and because of that some odd and unique scenarios have developed over the years. The football clubs are from the two biggest cities in the Northwest region of Italy. Plus, both Turin and Milan are regional capitals ruled by opposing parties. That means at times controversial games become part of Italy’s political debate. That occurred after a fixture in the 1997-1998 season.

The game, which was played at the Stadio delle Alpi, became famous for a non-call. Although it appeared as if Juventus player Mark Iuliano committed a foul against Inter striker Cristiano Ronaldo, referee Piero Ceccarini did not acknowledge the foul despite protests from the visitors. However, with Juventus on top 1-0, forward Alessandro Del Piero was awarded a penalty. Although he missed the shot against Inter, the seeming favoritism by the referee caused outrage.

Intense debate regarding the game and officiating followed in the Italian parliament. This occurred in April 1998 during a broadcast “question time” session. The session soon got out of control with politicians grandstanding. One representative, Domenico Gramazio of the National Alliance, screamed, “They are all thieves!” He did not indiscriminately make the claim; he clearly focused his remarks at former Juventus player Massimo Mauro, who was serving in the legislative body as a member of the ruling Democratic Party. The session erupted.

With that Chamber of Deputies member and Deputy Prime Minister Walter Veltroni admonished his colleagues by saying, “We are not at a stadium. This is a spectacle that is unworthy, embarrassing and grotesque…” With that the session was terminated and various politicians were fined and admonished.

Many people believed that the derby scheduled on 5 December 2009 in Turin would be contentious. This was due to fear that some of the home team’s ultra groups would get involved in hurling racial slurs at Inter’s Italian striker Mario Balotelli. Balotelli’s ancestry is connected to Ghana. There was already a history of abuse by fans who took exception to the player’s race. The game was an important one due to the fact that Inter was looking at the possibility of winning their 18th Serie A crown. With that very much on the line, it seemed as if Balotelli would be a prime target for racists.

Fearing the worst, Juventus chairman Jean-Claude Blanc with Mirella Scirea, widow of Juventus legend Gaetano Scirea, asked ultra groups and fans to not chant racist remarks at the game. However, upon arrival at Turin things quickly turned sour as Inter’s team bus was egged.

The derby was contentious. There were seven bookings, a red card, and various intense arguments and exchanges on the pitch. These included altercations between Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon and Nerazzurri midfielder Thiago Motta.

During the first half, visiting manager José Mourinho was sent off the field and into the locker room for getting into a dispute with the referee. Inter lost the derby in the second half, making their table position vulnerable. Despite the wild game and the loss, Inter did win Serie A that season.

Longtime Rivals

The rivalry between Juventus and Inter is alive and well. Born from a tradition that includes football excellence, loyal and passionate fans, and regional pride, when these two clubs meet you be assured that they will leave everything on the field.

 

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