AC Milan’s 1984 derby hero Mark Hateley believes that the Rossoneri will come out on top of Inter in this coming weekend’s Derby della Madonnina.
The Milanese duo meet as Serie A’s top two sides on Sunday afternoon, and Hateley is confident that his former team can retake their place at the table’s summit with a win.
“They [Milan] are top of the table, it’s up to the rest to catch them. I think Juventus, with their experience, will push them but I think Milan can do it.
“It’s a really exciting title race.”
Hateley is perhaps best known for his iconic and towering header in the Milan derby in 1984, which the Rossoneri won 2-1.
“I always get reminded of it. I’ve got it in my study at home,” he said. “I have it in black and white and in colour.
“One angle is from the near post and the other angle is from the far post. Underneath that photo, I have a picture of myself at 6 years old doing a diving header playing with my school-kids.
“There must have been about 90,000 fans in the stadium that day. The reason it is always remembered is because Milan had gone through some hard times then. And Fulvio Collovati [who Hateley outjumped] jumping ship when Milan got relegated. And he signed for our biggest rivals. It couldn’t have been more poignant.
“We hadn’t won against Inter for something like six years before that game. It was like all the stars and all the planets had aligned that day for that goal.
“It is an iconic goal. I think it was voted one of, if not the best-ever Milan derby goal. I’m happy that I could achieve that. And it’s great to be remembered not only for that goal but for the many great times I had at Milan with the players.
“I’m still in touch with Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, they helped me with a book I’m writing on my career.”
The recent Derby della Madonnina in the Coppa Italia, which saw Inter emerge as victors, became heated as tempers flared between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the latter playing the role of provocateur.
Asked to pick between the pair, Hateley couldn’t choose one to come out on top in a physical duel.
“I think it would be a really good fight,” he said. “People would pay to watch that.
“We could open a stadium for it. Both [are] very powerful personalities. Romelu is a very powerful man. Ibra is the technician.
“I wouldn’t like to call it. It would be a very tough fight!”