Inter have dominated Italian football in the last few years, but nobody can say they didn't pay their dues – in cash and in time. Owner and president Massimo Moratti had thrown anywhere up to half a billion pounds at the club in a chase for success that seemed largely fruitless until outside forces intervened.
Moratti had been mocked for trying to live up to the legend of his father Angelo, the oil magnate who built 'la grande Inter' in the 1960s. But then, at the end of 2005-06, came Calciopoli, the match-fixing and doping scandal which saw titles taken from their main rivals - and therefore, by default, Inter made champions for only the second time in a quarter of a century.
If that title was tainted, Roberto Mancini's men had the monkey off their back and retained the league in 2007 (by 22 points) and 2008. Jose Mourinho's side won it for the next two years, finally adding the Champions League in 2010 – ending a 35-year wait for Europe's top prize.
Prior to that long-awaited success, Inter's fanatical support were especially galled by recent European progress twice being blocked by Milan. An away-goals semi-final defeat in 2003 was bad enough, but then came referee Markus Merk's decision to disallow a perfectly good goal by Esteban Cambiasso with Inter already trailing 3-0 on aggregate in 2004-05's quarter-final first leg. The decision prompted the hardcore Interisti in the Curva Nord to start their own fireworks display on the pitch, hurling flares at the players below; one struck Milan keeper Dida on the shoulder and the match was abandoned.
Inter's fans have previous: in 1983 they rained objects into Real Madrid's penalty area, in 2001 it was Atalanta, in 2003 Alaves and a 2004 derby was also halted temporarily. The large right-wing element among the Interisti – which traditionally claimed much support from the city's well-to-do – have few friends in Italian football, aside from similarly-minded Hellas Verona and Lazio fans.
Still known as the San Siro despite being named after one of the few players admired by both sets of fans, the 86,000-capacity Giuseppe Meazza is accessed by buses from the Lotto M1 metro station, 15 minutes from downtown Duomo. Buses stop by the Bar Stadio and the Biglietteria Nord, one of two main ticket offices. Tickets are colour-coded: pricier red and orange along the touchlines, blue for Milan's Curva Sud, green for Inter's Curva Nord.
Club address Via Durini, 24 - 20122, Milan
Telephone 0039 02-77151
For regular updates on the crazy world of Italian football, see our blog Serie Aaaargh!
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