10 FOOTBALLERS THAT CROSSED THE MILAN DIVIDE

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Loyalty is one thing that fans demand from footballers. Supporters of various teams expect their major players not to leave their clubs. They definitely do not get what they want as the transfer of players is a constant in football. However, fans get disappointed when a player from their team to a rival team. It is even more disappointing when the player joins a city rival. A popular one was Sol Campbell’s move to Arsenal from Tottenham Hotspur in 2001. The former England center back moved across North London having promised Spurs fans he was staying. They are yet to forgive the big man till now.

Milan, a city in Italy serves as the home of two of Italy’s biggest clubs- AC Milan and Internazionale. The two teams clash every season in what is known as the Derby della Madonnina. The intensity of the rivalry might have reduced but it is still a bitter one nonetheless. As fierce as the rivalry is, some footballers have dared to star for both teams in the Milan derby. Here are some of them.

  • #10. Patrick Vieira

Vieira is mostly remembered by many for his exploits at Arsenal where he marshaled the midfield and won lots of trophies. Vieira was actually signed by Arsenal from Milan in 1996 as a 20-year old with just two appearances to his name. Vieira moved to Juventus in 2005 but soon found himself in Inter after Juventus were demoted because of the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. He won four Scudetti with Inter before returning to England with Manchester City.

  • #9. Edgar Davids

Only a few footballers have a definite appearance when they entering the football pitch. Edgar Davids was one of the few with his characteristic glasses. He began his senior career at Ajax before moving to Italy with Milan in 1996. He moved to Juventus a year later where he had a 7-year spell before moving across the city to play for Inter in 2004. He spent one year with them as well.

  • #8. Ronaldo Nazario

Many footballers regard Ronaldo as the most natural number nine of football’s modern era. The Brazilian who is remembered for starring for both Barcelona and Real Madrid actually had a 5-year spell at Inter Milan whom he signed for from Barcelona in 1997. After 49 league goals, he was snapped up by Real Madrid before he returned to Italy with Milan in 2007. He spent just a year there before moving to Brazil.

  • #7. Taribo West

The footballers produced by Nigeria in the 90s were so good they played for the top teams in Europe then. One of them is the hard-tackling Taribo West who played for the two Milan teams. He was first signed by Inter from Auxerre in 1997 and by the end of the season, he had lifted the UEFA Cup. He crossed the divide moving to Milan in January of 2000. West left after a disappointing 1-year with just a goal to his name.

  • #6. Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo’s journey in Italy began with Brescia as he rose from their youth system to become a first-team player. His eye-catching performances in the midfield saw Inter sign him in 1998. Pirlo somehow could not settle into the team as he spent he was sent on loan twice before moving to Milan in 2001. He spent a decade with Milan winning lots of trophies the UEFA Champions League before leaving for Juventus.

  • #5. Christian Vieri

Vieri played for a whopping 15 club teams during his career but none enjoyed the goal poacher like Inter. The Nerazzurri signed him from Lazio in 1999 aged 26 years. They were his ninth club in his ninth season as a professional footballer. It was Inter that Vieri first spent more than a season with any club team (6) and he scored over 100 goals for them. He moved to Milan in 2005 but by then, the goalscoring touch was gone.

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  • #4. Clarence Seedorf

There are many records for footballers to hold. Seedorf holds an enviable one as the only player to win the UEFA Champions League with three different teams. He arrived in Italy in 1999 after leaving Real Madrid for Inter. He went on to sign for Milan three years later making over 300 appearances and winning his third and fourth Champions League trophy before moving to Botafogo in 2012.

  • #3. Hernan Crespo

Crespo’s journey with the two Milan clubs is somewhat strange.  Crespo had joined Inter in 2002 from Lazio after a good goalscoring record. He somehow was unable to settle with Inter and was sold to Chelsea in 2003 with whom he spent five years. During that period, he spent about four years on loan playing for both Milan and Inter. In 2008, he signed a permamnent deal with Inter Milan the second time.

  • #2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Like Pirlo, Ibrahimovic is one of the few footballers who have played for Juventus, Milan, and Inter. The first team he played for in Italy were Juventus before Inter signed him in 2006. Barcelona secured his signature in 2009 but he could not settle in Camp Nou because of his relationship with Guardiola. He was loaned to Milan in the 2010/2011 season before making the deal permanent the following season. After starring for PSG, Manchester United, and LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic is now back with Milan again.

  • #1. Mario Balotelli

Balotelli will definitely go down as one of many talented footballers who never fulfilled their potential. He played for Inter from 2007 to 2010 winning the UEFA Champions League in his final season. After a forgettable spell with Manchester City, he was signed by Milan in 2013 with whom he spent one year before moving to Liverpool. He is currently with Brescia in the Serie A.

Tags: Footballers