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The soundscape of Inter Milan - AC Milan

Reportage of a special match, played without its usual sound

The soundscape of Inter Milan - AC Milan  Reportage of a special match, played without its usual sound

It is the first derby in 111 years of history in which Inter Milan and AC Milan play in front of very few spectators. Just over a thousand, among journalists, managers and fans. That's why there is expected to be enthusiasm, grit, passion outside. And indeed there were, before the game, with Rossoneri fans who accompanied the AC Milan coach to San Siro and the Nerazzurri fans who stayed out of the North to incite the team before the game. But before, during and after the race, nothing. 

What makes the Milan derby unique is the pre-match atmosphere. The metro crowded and consumed by tension, the forecourt of the stadium full of bakers and kiosks screaming together with their customers. From the belly of the stadium, come the choirs, drums and music of the pre match that seem to unite all the confusion of the world inside a football stadium. But this before the coronavirus. Saturday afternoon at 6 pm, inter milan kick-off time, was a very normal moment, like any Tuesday. Compared to the din and ordinary confusion, the sounds of this Inter-Milan were very muted, as if someone had lowered the music.

Outside the stadium, before the game, so many stewarts welcomed the lucky few - just a thousand - who could attend the match. Still, there were those who arrived late and running. Then the police, compulsorily present for such demonstrations, and the children. Mariani's whistles and the screams of the players on the pitch were covered in the Latin American music of a group of teenagers near Gate 14 - one of those of the South Curve - and the bells of the children's bikes. During the game, a couple of paper bombs echoed in the forecourt, but no one seemed to notice. During the game only runners, families, curious passed for a photo at the stadium. Lots of chatter and laughter, yet inside there were 111 years of competitive history. Then, here and there, in the forecourts behind the curves, three or four fans with scarves followed the game from their smartphones. But no choirs. The soundscape of the Milan derby was lost in the traffic noises of Via Harar or in the laughter of the paramedics in Piazzale Angelo Moratti. 

They say that those who live near San Siro, up to the Lotto district, to the goal of a team during the derby hear the roar from the stadium to their windows. The only great, impressive, noise from the field instead was Handanovic's save on Ibra's penalty: a dry but dense sound, so much so as to cover that of the Swede's goal and the cries of joy of the Rossoneri in the stands. Even the chirping of some pigeons settling on the beams made more noise than the game, of which, if nothing else, the second half raw and male emerged in the many whistles and screams of pain for the players' entrances. Lukaku's goal was perceived as something flat, submerged - had there not been the speaker's announcement and Ligabue's "Screaming against the Sky," many would not have noticed. An event that a year ago would have made the entire stadium district vibrate. 

At the end of the game there was no one around - as well as the whole second half - and the triple whistle in the 95th minute was the last noise of the Milan derby number 111, with the screams of Pioli and team attenuated by the immense silence of the stadium. Between children and runners, perhaps with some "Forza Inter" around, the Milan derby felt like any Tuesday afternoon. But it was the derby.