COLLOMOSSE: Champions League semi could be final fling for San Siro

TOM COLLOMOSSE: The Champions League semi final between AC Milan and Inter Milan could be a final fling for the San Siro… Huge doubts remain over the future of one of world football’s most evocative stadiums

  • AC Milan face Inter Milan in the Champions League semi final on Wednesday
  • It is the first clash between the Milan sides in Europe since back in 2005
  • TOM COLLOMOSSE: Giroud and Lukaku were both discarded by Chelsea 

Perhaps the world’s most evocative stadium is gearing up for another great European occasion – although the Champions League semi-final between AC Milan and Inter Milan could be the last of its kind to take place at San Siro.

On Wednesday night, nearly 76,000 supporters will climb the spiral staircases to watch these rivals fight for a spot in club football’s ultimate fixture – the first time they have met in European competition since 2005. 

Yet with both clubs getting itchy feet, the future of San Siro is in real doubt.

San Siro – or Giuseppe Meazza Stadium to give the ground its official title – belongs to Milan council, a stumbling block for both clubs who would crave the additional revenue from owning a stadium rather than leasing it.

If Milan and Inter can produce a viable plan, they will leave San Siro and the ground could even be knocked down – a sad sight for supporters across the world, particularly those who fell in love with the game during Italia 90.

The iconic San Siro, which holds over 80,000 fans, is set to be demolished in the coming years

The problem is that neither club can quite decide what the next step should be.

Do they want to continue sharing a smaller, more modern ground close to San Siro? Or move to another venue outside the city? 

Do they even want to carry on sharing at all? No wonder frustrated Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala has told the clubs to get a move on.

‘It would be such a shame to leave San Siro,’ said Inter fan Riccardo. ‘I’ve been to grounds all over the world and for big games, there is no atmosphere like it.’

Milan supporter Manuela disagrees. ‘It is time to move on,’ she says.

‘The ground is too big and hardly ever full. We need a modern stadium like the one Juventus have.’

Yet on Wednesday night, San Siro is the place to be. The match will be shown live in 120 countries and fans of 124 different nationalities have bought tickets.

As the designated ‘home’ team, Milan will have the majority of the supporters for the first leg, Inter for the second.

Some Milan fans feel it is time to move on from the stadium and build something more up-to-date

Others feel there is nothing like it in world football, and that’ it’s atmosphere is unpraralleled

While security will be stepped up in the hours before kick-off, the Milan derby does not usually have the same violent edge as games between Roma and Lazio, or Genoa and Sampdoria.

There will often be supporters of both clubs in the same family and police are usually more wary when Milan or Inter play one of the Rome clubs or Napoli, than when they face each other.

‘We are expecting a packed stadium, full of people with great energy,’ said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. ‘We will try to ride the wave with our fans.’ 

Next week it will be Inter’s turn, as football traditionalists across the world hope this is not San Siro’s final fling.

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