Tonight sees Milan take on Internazionale in the Champions League semi-final, the third time that the rivals have been drawn together in European competition.
Milan have come out on top in the previous two ties in unusual circumstances – in the 2004-05 quarter-final, they were awarded the second leg on a 3-0 scoreline after Inter fans forced the game’s abandonment, though they led the game 1-0 at the time and a 2-0 first-leg victory meant they were almost certain to progress anyway.
The first European Derby della Madoninna came in 2002-03, also at the semi-final stage – Milan progressed on away goals despite the fact that the clubs share the same stadium, a 1-1 draw in their ‘away’ leg sufficient after a scoreless draw ‘at home’. Those meetings provided some interest from a kit point of view, too.
For the first time since the late 1980s, the 2002-03 season saw Milan back in white shorts and black socks as their default look.
Previously, shorts- or socks-clashes hadn’t been legislated for in Serie A and so – with Milan having gone all-white below the waist in the two league meetings – the first leg on May 7 provided a previously-unseen Inter mashup of striped shirts, black shorts and white socks.
Six days later, Inter were back in their first-choice combination – which, that season, was mainly blue socks with black backs – and Milan had white shorts and socks.
That wasn’t an unusual look for the Rossoneri – however, what was unusual was that, for that game only, their shirts were slightly different.
The 2002-03 adidas design featured ‘floating’ stripes that began below the neck and finished above the hem – essentially, the precursor to Uefa and Fifa’s ‘sleeve free zone’ to allow for patches. In the second leg, though, Milan’s stripes continued all the way down the arm.
Tonight, with Milan favouring black shorts and socks at home, Inter will be in their white alternative home shorts and socks, but at least we will still have stripes v stripes – you can’t always take it for granted.