Rivalries in football are nothing new, some have been going on for ages, and some are just for bragging rights. No matter what the case here are the top ten biggest football rivalries in no particular order.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Probably the most well known rivalry, Liverpool vs. Manchester United has been a game to see for a long time. This is such a popular rivalry because these are the two best teams in England, with more than 110 trophies combined.
Although in days past fan violence was prominent, these days it’s rare to see fights break out.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
This is yet another age old rivalry and again one of the most popular. Just like Liverpool and Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the two most successful teams in their country of Spain.
This rivalry exists mainly because of the fact that Madrid is coupled with the Spanish royalty and Barcelona sits on its own. There has even been discussion of making Catalonia, the place where Barcelona is located, its own country.
So between the two it’s as if the rich pompous royalty is fighting against the common folk.
Penarol vs. Nacional
This is literally the oldest rivalry in the sport. It spans over a hundred years of competition, pretty amazing yea? Penarol claims 47 tophies and Ncaional claims 41, so you can see why they fight one another.
In fact, this rivalry takes place in Centenario, Uruguay where the very first world cup was played.
Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos
A truly “old school” rivalry based out of Greece, these two teams have one of the meanest game nicknames there is. The Derby of Eternal Enemies or the Mother of all Battles, strikes fear just by itself, but when you add in the fact that this rivalry still faces violent outbursts, it really conjures up some emotions.
Much like Barcelona and Real Madrid these two teams represent different ends of the spectrum. Olympiacos is more of the blue collar working class whereas Panathinaikos represents more of the upper class of Athens Greece.
Al-Ahly vs. Zamalek
This particular rivalry runs so deep that when the two teams play each other officials are typically brought in from different countries entirely to avoid any sort of biased judgments. Although this doesn’t do too much for the fans when they don’t get the call they’d like to get.
The fans have become so unruly here in Cairo, Egypt in the past that even today different routes are strictly managed to make sure the opposing teams fans don’t ever interact with one another.
Partizan vs. Red Star Belgrade
This rivalry makes the list strictly because of the fans in Belgrade, Serbia. While these teams are great in their own right and the two top cities in Serbia, it’s their fans and their derby name that tops them all. Their game’s nick name is the Eternal Derby, pretty ominous eh?
Well along with the great derby name there is a constant threat of fan violence. If you ever attend one of these games be prepared to see a lot of police in full riot gear ready to stomp out the flames of the fans.
Fenerbahçe v. Galatasaray
This is a pretty unique rivalry because they are based out of the same exact city except for one little thing. The Bosporus Strait is what separates them. As with a lot of rivalries these two teams represent the lower and upper class, Fenerbache is associated with the working class and Galatasaray is typically coupled with the upper class of Istanbul, Turkey.
Nowhere else is a rivalry in the same city split simply by a small body of water.
Flamengo v. Fluminense
These two teams are based out of Brazil which is a country we owe great thanks to for the game of soccer itself. When this match is played both teams go at it full throttle, and not to mention they have a, well, cute name for their rivalry.
Depending on which team you support you can switch it around but it’s Flu – Fla, or Fla – Flu. Obviously this is just the name of the teams shortened but still, kind of funny isn’t it?
AC Milian vs. Inter
Another great rivalry that spans just over 100 years, it is said that this whole rivalry started around 1908. Always a very exciting match both of these teams calls the Stadio San Siro, the stadium, in Milian, Italy their home.
Although these matches aren’t typically known for being the biggest or most violent, the games are played fiercely and with full heartedly.
Esteghlal v. Persepolis
This is another interesting rivalry for a couple reasons, the first being that it is held at one of the world’s biggest stadiums, in Tehran, Iran, with a capacity somewhere around 90,000 people. Another reason is because it dates back to the late 60’s and at that time both teams were known by different names.
Possibly the most interesting fact about this rivalry is that there are no women allowed in the stadium. This ban was lifted very briefly in 2006 just to be put back in order and still stands today.
Soccer rivalries will never die and some last literally over a hundred years with another possible 100 on the way. Get out there and support your team, be sure to wear the right colors and join in all the chants badgering the opposing team. Don’t keep switching your alliance or you may be labeled as a fraud and targeted on your own.
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