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How to play a derby - Interview w/ Dejan Stanković

We asked the Inter Legend the secrets of Milan's derby

How to play a derby - Interview w/ Dejan Stanković We asked the Inter Legend the secrets of Milan's derby

When Dejan Stanković walks in Slam Jam Milan, he reminds me of when I saw him dominating the field with the Nerazzurri shirt. His body language and confident tone of voice seems the exact evolution of his shoots, runs and tackles. Dejan does not know it but he was one of my favorite players, he drove me crazy the strength and the Balkan garra with which he faced all the games. He played hard but never with anger, energetic but elegant at the same time. He was capable to read wisely the games and if I had been one of his team mates, I would have gone to him to ask for advice before the debut in a derby. He who understands the derby has played the three most difficult in Europe: Belgrade, Rome and Milan.

I met Deki at the presentation of the mash-up jersey made by Nike for the 20th year of partnership with Inter together with Marco Materazzi and Matilde Gioli and with which the Inter players will take the field during the derby against Milan in the scheduled on March 17th.


Of all the derbies you have played - Belgrade, Rome and Milan - what are the differences and how did you experience them?

They are very different, but they are all quite special. 
I played the derby against Partizan like an ultras would play.
You know I was born in Belgrade, my parents were born in Belgrade, I took my first steps in soccer in Red Star. I realized my dream of becoming a soccer player and scoring in a captain's derby.
I was 16 and a half...


Then I played the derby in Rome, which is the most tense.
You couldn't leave the house two weeks before and after the game, whether you won or lost it.
I unfortunately never won a derby with Lazio but I scored two beautiful goals.


The Milan derby is like a show, a big one.
It has worldwide weight, everyone follows it and recognizes its importance. Two noble clubs, great players, a history full of champions and a stadium that frames the event. In terms of football, it is definitely my favorite.


Is there a Milan derby that scored you more than others?

Well, actually all those we won (laughs, ed).
No I have to say that the best feeling is to score in the derby, to hear the roar of the fans, the embrace of the comrades. At San Siro then - both at home and away, it was really impressive.



What do you need to win a derby in Milan?

You need calm, organization and personality. We must dominate and read the game on a mental level and above all prepare it well during the week.


In your career you have scored many goals, which one are you most attached to?

The derby goals are always special. Also the double against Kaiserslautern that launched my career. But the most crazy goals I remember are those from midfield against Genoa and against Schalke. 



What are the Nerazzurri shirts you are most attached to?

The answer comes naturally to me. The 2009-10 season, the treble season. The final, the scudetto sai are wonderful memories for a soccer player. Then that of the following season with all the Champions League and Club World Cup patches. On an aesthetic level, however, perhaps the one I liked the most is the crusader white t-shirt for the centenary. 


Nowadays you're working mainly with young prospects: who do you like best in Serie A?

First of all it is fair to say that Italian clubs should have more courage with their young people, in France, Germany and England they have more space and possibilities. In Serie A, I really like Nicolò Barella: young, captain's armband, fighting on the pitch. It reminds me of myself a little even though we are a thing of the past. He must fight and remain himself.


And from Serbia instead?

There is Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt who is growing sharply, month after month. It was also seen with Inter. I expect that this summer will make the big leap in quality in a big one.