For the very first time in over a decade, two legendary Italian clubs are reunited among Europe’s top.
Since losing as the reigning champion at that level in 2011, Inter Milan has not advanced past the quarterfinals of the “Champions League.” Last reaching the last eight was city rival AC Milan in 2012.
Since then, both clubs’ ownership has changed multiple times, and trainers have changed even more often. There have also been slumps on the field and unrest off it. But both teams ultimately returned to the pinnacle of European football after protracted droughts without a Serie A championship.
No Italian team has won the Champions League during their absence, despite Juventus’ two-time runner-up finishes.
On Wednesday, the day after Inter travels to Benfica, Milan will face Napoli, who are currently leading the Serie A standings.
When “Inter” accomplished the League, Italian Cup, and Champions League trebles in 2010, under José Mourinho, it was the last Italian team to hoist the trophy. Milan had previously claimed its final seven championships in 2007. Real Madrid will play Chelsea this week, and Bayern Munich will play Manchester City in the other two quarterfinal matches.
Massimo Moratti and Silvio Berlusconi Milan’s longtime owners were in charge of the clubs when they were at the pinnacle of “European football.”
In 2013, Erick Thohir’s Indonesian-led consortium purchased most of Inter from Moratti, who had owned the team since 1995. Three years later, the retail behemoth Suning gained control of the organisation just before Chinese investors also purchased Milan.
Prior to selling in 2017 to a Chinese group, the former Italian prime minister Berlusconi had owned Milan for more than 30 years. The following year, “Elliott Management,” a U.S.-based hedge fund, gained control. The club was sold to “RedBird Capital Partners,” another American financial company, last year.
Inter won their first Serie A championship in more than ten years in 2021, snapping Bianconeri’s dominance of the league. Conte, a former coach of Juventus and Italy, led Inter to victory. Inter had not won a trophy or a league championship since 2011, respectively. That year, Milan came in second, and the next year, it came in first, ending its own 11-year scudetto drought.
During the previous campaign, Inter made it all the way to the round of 16 in Europe. Even though it triumphed at Anfield, Liverpool knocked it out in the 16th round. It fell to Seville in the 2020 Europa League final.
Milan returned to the “top club tournament” in Europe last season for the very first time in eight years, but they were ousted in the group round.