Inter Milan’s 5-3 aggregate victory over Benfica has paved the way for a Milan derby in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 18 years. The highly-anticipated match-up between the two Italian giants is scheduled for May 10 and 18.
While the two best teams in the competition might be on the other side of the draw, the drama, tension, and atmosphere belong solely to the Milan pair. Inter and AC Milan have a rich history, and their rivalry is considered one of the biggest in football. The upcoming match is set to reignite that intense rivalry, and both teams will be keen to claim bragging rights over their city rivals.
Inter’s run to the semi-final has been financially rewarding, with the club earning around €82m ($89m) from their campaign so far. However, the club’s debt levels are still at a staggering €350m ($383m), making it crucial for them to secure a place in the competition to ensure the club’s future. On the other hand, Milan has earned €85m ($92m) from their run to the semi-finals, and their finances are in much better shape than their city rivals.
Milan currently sits in fourth place in the Serie A standings, and their place in the Champions League next season is secure. However, Inter is sitting fifth, and winning the competition is the only way for them to qualify. The importance of the upcoming match cannot be understated for Inter, as it represents their last chance to secure a place in next year’s competition and avoid financial meltdown.
The situation becomes even more complicated as the shadow of Juventus looms large over both teams. Juventus is currently serving a 15-point deduction in the Serie A table, but there is a chance that it could be overturned, which would push both Milan sides out of the Champions League places. The semi-final, therefore, becomes even more crucial, and the tension and pressure on both teams become almost unbearable.
Despite the concerns over finances and the pressure on both teams, the upcoming Milan derby promises to be an exciting affair. Inter, in particular, has the better players and has transformed into a great cup side under the guidance of Simone Inzaghi. The team’s inconsistency this season has been a concern, but they have proven that they can deliver against top-quality opposition, as evidenced by their victories over Barcelona, Porto, and Benfica.
While both Milan sides could be embarrassed by the likes of Real Madrid or Manchester City on the grandest stage, the upcoming derby match promises to be a spectacle that football fans around the world won’t want to miss. For now, all eyes are on May 10 and 18, when the biggest Milan derby in 20 years will take center stage and bring the city to a complete standstill.