Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/


The 10 Biggest, Baddest Rivalries In Soccer

Rivalries are all over sports. You have the classic American sport rivalries like Yankees-Red Sox, Duke-North Carolina, Ohio State-Michigan, Lakers-Celtics and so on. But what about the best rivalries on the pitch? Here are the 10 biggest baddest rivalries in the beautiful game:

10: AC Milan vs Internazionale - Italy 

The derby della Madonnia. One of the biggest rivalries in Serie A, Milan and Inter have been butting heads since 1908. Both clubs called Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) their home and it has been the setting for some of the nastier games in Serie A. The two clubs were once one, but in 1908 the foundation of Inter occurred. The working class is connected to A.C. Milan while the upper class is represented by Inter. 

9: Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos - Greece 

You know a rivalry is legit if it is called the “Derby of Eternal Enemies.” This rivalry isn’t just about soccer. It involves social, cultural and regional hatred. When Greece’s two biggest clubs meet, riot police, flares and red cards are as common as corner kicks. Panathinaikos are considered to represent high class Greek society. Olympiakos was founded in Piraeus, a port of Athens, which attracted support from the working class. Both teams have massive groups of fans and hooliganism is a very common phenomenon. 

8: Al-Ahly vs Zamalek - Egypt 

According to author Alex Olliver, Cairo has “a footballing rivalry that can genuinely claim to dwarf Real v Barca and Boca v River Plate.” We aren’t going to go that far, but he goes on to say the rivalry goes beyond the fanatical. “It is part football match, part political rally, party history lesson, and generally a good excuse for the locals to hurl rocks at each other.” Like rivalries above, this hatred stems from socio-economic issues. Ahly represent the people while Zamalek represent the privileged portions of society. Back in the forties, it was much more political and violent, but recently (in 2013) the two clubs joined forces to wage a street uprising against president Hosni Mubarak. 

7: Juventus vs Internazionale - Italy 

The Derby d’Italia first got its name when the clubs involved were the most successful in the country. The clubs are ranked first and second in wins and goals in Serie A history. It is probably the most intense rivalry in Italy between clubs from two different cities, which also share opposing political beliefs.

6: Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce - Turkey 

Turkey’s most successful teams represent two parts of Istanbul. Galatasaray hail from the European part while Fenerbahce represent the Asian portion of the city. It is one of the most dynamic rivalries, that captures two different cultures coming together to fight one another on the pitch. The game has been played for over 100 years and the fire is still just as fiery as ever. When the two teams come together the city of Istanbul turns into an epicenter of color, passion, songs and fireworks. All things that promote a great rivalry. 

5: Manchester United vs Liverpool - England 

Possibly one of the most important rivalries in British football, the rivalry between the Red Devils and the Reds is one between the two most successful clubs in the history of English Football. The clubs share over 120 titles and the two cities, just 35 minutes apart, share a passion for football that few can match. It is a rivalry based on success rather than their derby rivalries. This is a big one whenever the two clubs meet. 

4: Lazio vs AS Roma - Italy 

They aren’t the biggest or most successful clubs in Italy, but the fight for Rome in the “Derby Della Capitale” is one of the world's best. The lack of success in the Serie A for both these clubs forced them to focus on their hatred of one anther. The game is about control of a city and is said to be the fiercest rivalry in the country. Back in 2004 a match was postponed four minutes into the second half when a riot broke out in the stands and the president of the Italian League forced the referee to suspend the match. After the match, a battle among fans and police occurred which ended with fires being set in the stands, 13 arrests and over 170 people injured.  

3: Boca Juniors vs River Plate - Argentina 

Argentina is home to one of the world's best rivalries, the Superclasico. Known for their passionate fans, these Argentine clubs engage in insane matches where fireworks, flags, toilet paper and riots are part of the norm. Tourists flock to Argentina to see the game and the matchup is known around the world as one of, if not the most intense rivalry. The English newspaper The Oberserver put the Superclasico atop their list of “50 sporting things you must do before you die.” The supporters and players match each other's passion. Boca represents the working class while River represents the affluent neighborhood of Belgrano in northern Buenos Aires. 

2: Rangers vs Celtic - Scotland 

These two clubs were the powerhouses of the Scottish league until Rangers financial implosion landed them in the Third Division. This caused the rivalry between the two clubs to take a hiatus, but the Rangers are fighting their way back and are currently in the Scottish Championship division while Celtic remains in the Scottish Premiership. Despite the lack of matches against one another, this is still one of the best rivalries in all of soccer. The rivalry is between two clubs from Glasgow divided on ideology, culture and most importantly religion. Celtic are predominantly Catholic while Rangers are mainly Protestant, though they do have some overlap. The hatred between the supporters transfers onto the pitch where harsh tackles, intense confrontations and wild environments rule. The video below shows the violence on the pitch, but if you have time check out this 45 minute documentary that Vice did called “Football’s Most Dangerous Rivalry.”

1: Barcelona vs Real Madrid - Spain

The two Spanish giants take our number one spot for soccer’s greatest rivalry. It is arguably one of the most well known rivalries in the world and attracts vast amounts of viewers every time they play. Barcelona represented the Catalanism and the Catalan people, while Real Madrid has been linked with Spanish nationalism and the royal family of Spain. Barcelona (107) holds a 12 win advantage over Real Madrid (95) as these matches are always the biggest of the La Liga season. Normally the two are competing for the title. Add the two greatest players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi to the mix, and you can see why this is the best rivalry today.

Follow Bryce Badwan on twitter @bbadss

Videos you might like