Serie A: Milan-Juventus is Light Years Away From Historic 2003 Champions League Clash

By Riccardo Di Julio
Picture provided by Paolo Maldini’s official Facebook page

The appointment is for tomorrow night at the Giuseppe Meazza in San Siro. Valid for the Week 26 into the season, Serie A will feature what perhaps represents Italy‘s greatest clash, between the country’s most successful domestic team, Juventus, and the one that has the most victories at the international level, AC Milan.

Without a doubt, each have their own identity and it’s very clear to everyone’s eyes. Not in vain, in fact, the Bianconeri are once again comfortably dominating the league, while the Rossoneri, despite the many difficulties, are the only Italian team still participating in the UEFA Champions League.

However, these clear identities do not hide the fact that, today, neither of these two sides is at its historical level and prestige within the soccer world. Perhaps, only the Old Lady is finally picking up its relevance thanks to the great managerial planning at the corporate level, which has been able to put the club back under its feet after the dark years of Calciopoli.

On the other hand, Milan, who was also partially involved in the scandal, is an evident representation of the strong crisis that has hit the entire country. For the club, it has been extremely difficult to cope with the economic struggles in the attempt of maintaining a competitive level.

For these reasons, Milan-Juventus might have lost a significant degree of appealing  for the fans and media. Ironically, however, it is the same clash that only 11 years ago dominated the the entire world by starring the 2003 Champions League final, won by the Lombardians in penalty kicks.

Even more, despite the great sense of rivalry between each other, those two generations significantly provided the most important component for the the Nazionale in the 2006 World Cup triumph. As a matter of fact, there were eight Azzurri who played the final three years before: Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi.

Furthermore, their relevance might have reach its peak between the 80s and 90s, when both clubs represented the strongest teams of the league that unquestionably dominated the world for numerous years. During those times, both Juventus and Milan achieved so many legendary accomplishments that still remain unbeaten today.

On one side, Juventus is still the world’s only club in history in having achieved at least one of every single official international tournament, such as the Champions League, Uefa Cup, Cup Winners Cup, Uefa SuperCup, Intertoto and Intercontinental Cup. A record that will never be tied, since two of these competitions don’t exist anymore.

On the other, Milan made up for what many argue it has been the best team in the history of the sport, under the command of the innovator Arrigo Sacchi, who, at that time, completely revolutionized the game from a tactical perspective. Thanks to his victories, followed by the ones of Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti, Milan is today the world’s most titled club, only tied with Boca Juniors.

Moreover, Sacchi’s generation is still the last team in having been able to win two consecutive Champions League titles, in 1989 and 1990. A record that not even Pep Guardiola‘s Barcelona was able to achieve and maybe only Bayern Munich will do so this year. The closest to this record, however, was reached in 1997 by no other than the Juventus of Marcello Lippi, an unfortunate generation that also dominated the world.

Riccardo Di Julio is a Soccer Writer for Follow him on Twitter @Italcatenaccio and add him to your network on Google.

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