The game between Inter and AC Milan on Saturday night will have a frosty air surrounding it when it comes to the owners of the two clubs.
La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning (seen below) revisits the stormy relationship between Zhang, who is the president of Inter, and Gerry Cardinale who is the number one at Milan and owner of the RedBird Capital.
Both will be at San Siro for the derby on Saturday evening and will meet again after the two Champions League games in the semi-final of the last edition. It is precisely there that the relationship definitively soured.
The paper states that the two owners avoided and ignored each other in the stands at the San Siro. There was a tradition involving club lunches the day before European games, but it did not take place before the semi-final.
There is bad blood between Zhang and Cardinale, that is clear. And there’s no sign that it’s going in the opposite direction anytime soon: there’s no diplomacy at work in this sense, it would be surprising if the two exchanged even just a greeting on Saturday at the stadium.
In the first major meeting between Cardinale and Zhang at the derby on 3 September 2022, there didn’t seem to be any kind of problem in their relationship as the Inter chief was even hosted in a Rossoneri sky box.
The first problem was born, says La Gazzetta, a few days later. A meeting was planned between the two but it never happened and it seems to have been the stadium issue that caused the rift.
The decision made by Cardinale to build a stadium without the Nerazzurri was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Cardinale met with Milan Mayor Beppe Sala first and then Lombardy President Attilio Fontana but did not inform Zhang.