Newcastle United defender Davide Santon believes that the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland is bigger than the rivalry between his former club Inter and neighbours AC Milan.
The 21-year-old played in three Milan derbies during his time with the Nerazzuri but, after taking part in last season’s clash with Sunderland at St James’ Park, he is in no doubt over which is the fiercer rivalry.
“The Milan derby is a very important game but not like this one,” Santon told BBC Newcastle.
“Here there is more rivalry, everybody thinks about the game, it’s fantastic.”
Sunday’s clash will be Santon’s first trip to the Stadium of Light, and the Italian international is well aware of the importance of the match for his side.
However, the former Inter man joked that his side should have no problems maintaining their excellent record on Wearside with Shola Ameobi in the side, as the Newcastle striker has scored an impressive seven goals against The Black Cats.
“Sunday we have to win 100%, but it’s OK because if we put Shola Ameobi on the pitch and he scores,” he said.
“It’s an important game, that we have to concentrate on and make sure we win. I played the second game [last season], it was fantastic.
“When Shola scored I was so happy for the team because I know how important it is for the fans from the city.”