The usual apathy towards the season opener has been replaced by a real sense of anticipation as the two grand old rivals meet in Beijing in the first derby of the new campaign
By Kris Voakes
It happens about as often as a solar eclipse, but later today we will see what so rarely occurs in 21st century calcio ... Italians will actually go out of their way to watch the Supercoppa Italiana. Normally considered little more than a pre-season friendly, this year's edition has the massive appeal of a match-up between bitter rivals AC Milan and Inter. With the Rossoneri having walked off with the Scudetto last season and their neighbours having won the Coppa Italia, the cugini will open the season with tomorrow's curtain-raiser.
There is also the added complication of the match taking place in Beijing, meaning many Milanese football supporters will suffer that rare plight of having to watch a Derby della Madonnina from in front of the TV. That hasn't stopped the whole city talking about the game, and Goal.com has been on the streets of Milan to find out exactly what the word about town is on this afternoon's fixture and how it might set the teams up for the season ahead.
|Marco (Milanista) - "It will be surreal with the game being in Beijing"
When Milan and Inter play, it is no friendly, but we have faith with the Brazilians returning. It will be surreal with the game being in Beijing, with Chinese fans instead of Italian. The key for Milan lies in attack, with Ibrahimovic, who has returned in great form, and alongside him at the moment I'd choose Pato ahead of Robinho.
|Gabriele (Interista) - "I'm afraid it could be a very difficult game"
I remember two years ago, when we lost to Lazio, I wasn't so sad, but if we lose to Milan it will be very different. We have to win because it's a derby. I am a little bit afraid that it could be a very difficult game, and that players like Wesley Sneijder and Eto'o could leave for Manchester United and City.
|Hedi (Interista) - "Ibrahimovic is no threat now that Materazzi has retired"
Eto'o and Giampaolo Pazzini are the most important for Inter today, but hopefully Sneijder will work well in his new role. Ibrahimovic is not someone to fear, as there is no longer Materazzi to give away a penalty. Inter must always look to win titles, but the Champions League is the most important.
|Daniel (Milanista) - "How we play will be dictated by our midfield"
How we play will be dictated more or less in midfield. We won the title on the back of our defence, and we have threats up front but we must do well in midfield. After today Milan must concentrate on the Champions League, as that is where we have been so successful.
|Abdelnaser (Interista) - "It will be difficult, but Gasperini is a good coach"
It will be difficult for Inter because we have some players out injured, but maybe we can do something because now we have a good coach in Gasperini, who is a very good coach in Italy. Robinho is very dangerous for Milan, he is a bigger danger than Ibrahimovic. We must go on from the result against Milan to win the championship.
Sebastiano (Milanista) - "So long as Thiago Silva plays well, he will be key"For the season we are about to start, we must win this game. Samuel Eto'o is the big threat, but he is not in form. I hope Alessandro Nesta can do well against him, but he is also not playing well and is old now at 35. But so long as Thiago Silva plays well, that will be the key. Maybe Philippe Mexes can go well with him this season.