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Friday, November 9, 2018

The 10 greatest football derbies of all time

A derby in football is considered a rivalry between two teams from the city. Check out the 10 greatest football derbies of all time, the proximity of the two clubs plays a huge part in this rivalry as it often divides friends and family.

There are numerous derbies spread across the football world known for several factors including the success of the clubs involved, the matchday atmosphere and the fan fights. Sometimes, the matches between the two teams decide the title race.

As the rivalries in question are between clubs from the same city, it doesn’t feature renowned rivalries like Liverpool vs Manchester United or the El Clasico. However, it still features some spectacular rivalries.

10 Derby della Madonnina - AC Milan vs Inter Milan

[caption id="attachment_1131" align="alignnone" width="615"]Derby della Madonnina - AC Milan vs Inter Milan Derby della Madonnina - AC Milan vs Inter Milan[/caption]

The Derby della Madonnina features two of Italy’s biggest clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan. The two historic clubs have racked up 36 Scudettos and 10 Champions League title between them over the years.

AC Milan was the first club to play in the Italian top flight but in 1908, the clubs split following a dispute over the signing of foreign players. The first derby was held in the same year and Milan emerged victoriously.

The 1960s was a spectacular era in the history of the rivalry between the two clubs that share the San Siro. Both clubs had a superstar each from Italy. Inter with Sandro Mazzola and Milan with Gianni Rivera.

The Milan clubs had their respective periods of success and have each won 18 league titles. However, Milan leads Inter on the European front with seven titles compared to Inter’s three.

There have been 222 official matches between the two teams with Inter winning 79 games while Milan has 67 victories.

Despite the rivalry, several players have gone on to play for both clubs and there have been direct transfers between the clubs. Some notable players to represent both clubs include Roberto Baggio, Edgar Davids, Patrick Vieira, Leonardo Bonucci, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo, Clarence Seedorf, Christian Vieri, Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldo Nazario.

9 Derby of the eternal enemies - Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos

[caption id="attachment_1130" align="alignnone" width="600"]Derby of the eternal enemies - Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos Derby of the eternal enemies - Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos[/caption]

Whoever came up with the name ‘Derby of the eternal enemies’ for the rivalry between two of Greece’s two most successful clubs, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, deserves a round of applause.

The two clubs are based in Greece’s famous capital city, Athens, and Panathinaikos which is from the heart of the city was a representative of the city’s high class while Olympiakos which was founded 17 years later in 1925 in the outskirts of Athens represented the working class.

The two clubs have dominated the football league in Greece and have won 64 out of the 82 league titles so far. However, 44 of those titles have gone to Olympiakos which is more than double the tally of Panathinaikos. Olympiakos has won 19 of the last 22 league titles!

Olympiakos also has the superior head to head record with 80 wins compared to Panathinaikos’ 50.

The rivalry is so intense that these days, away fans are not allowed and there is a lot of police, tear gas and fireworks involved.

8 Revierderby - Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke

[caption id="attachment_1129" align="alignnone" width="611"]Revierderby - Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke Revierderby - Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke[/caption]

The Revierderby is the biggest club rivalry in Germany. The derby is also known as the Ruhr derby as the two clubs hail from the Ruhr area.

Schalke was the dominant club initially but Dortmund broke the stranglehold in 1947 with a 3-2 win in rainy conditions. The rivalry became more intense after the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963.

An economic turmoil in the 1970s affected both clubs and they were no longer capable of competing with the other top-flight clubs. The despairing situation of this period led to intense battles with notorious violence.

Dortmund leads Schalke on the number of victories 50 to 45. The former also has eight league titles compared to the latter’s seven. Dortmund also has a Champions League title to boast.

Very few players have represented both clubs and the most recent one was Kevin-Prince Boateng in 2013. The most famous player to represent both clubs is arguably Jens Lehmann.

7 Grenal - Gremio vs Internacional

[caption id="attachment_1128" align="alignnone" width="619"]Grenal - Gremio vs Internacional Grenal - Gremio vs Internacional[/caption]

In the southern part of the football frenzy South American country, Brazil, there is a state named the Rio Grande do Sul and the football fans from this region either support Gremio or Internacional.

The rivalry was given the name ‘Grenal’ by picking up the first three letters of Gremio and the last three letters of Internacional.

Gremio was formed in 1903 by rich football enthusiasts but it was a private members’ club for those of Germany ancestry. As a result, the Italian-descended brothers Henrique, Jose and Luis Poppe created Internacional.

There have been 416 games between the two teams with Gremio winning 130 encounters and Inter winning 155 games.

Inter also leads Gremio in terms of league titles won. The former has three Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles compared to the latter’s two. However, Gremio leads on the Copa Libertadores front with three titles while Inter has two. However, Inter has won the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup in 2006 at the expense of Barcelona.

One famous player who played for both clubs is former Manchester United midfielder Anderson.

6 The Manchester Derby - Manchester City vs Manchester United

[caption id="attachment_1127" align="alignnone" width="602"]The Manchester Derby - Manchester City vs Manchester United The Manchester Derby - Manchester City vs Manchester United[/caption]

There are several famous derbies in England like the North-London Derby, the Merseyside derby and the Tyne-Wear derby. However, the Manchester derby has come to fore in recent years.

This particular derby doesn’t have the deeprooted history of the other derbies in this list but there is enough evidence in the last decade to know how bigger this rivalry could get over in the coming years.

For many years, the derby was dominated by the more successful Manchester United but following Manchester City’s takeover in 2008, there have been some memorable clashes. The first of which was United’s 4-3 win over City deep into extra time in 2009.

The peak of the rivalry was during the 2011/12 season when City defeated United 6-1 to inflict United’s biggest defeat at Old Trafford in 56 years. City also clinched the league title on goal difference from United in the final minute of the season in dramatic fashion.

The two clubs are presently managed by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. The managers have a history between them and this has added to the derby’s intensity.

5 The Intercontinental Derby - Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

[caption id="attachment_1126" align="alignnone" width="634"]The Intercontinental Derby - Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray The Intercontinental Derby - Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray[/caption]


Istanbul is the capital city of Turkey and there are several clubs from the city playing in the Turkish Super Lig. Three of them, Beskitas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, are also the biggest and most successful teams in the country.

However, the rivalry between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray is the biggest rivalry in the city and the country. The rivalry earned the name intercontinental derby because Galatasaray is in Europe and Fenerbahce a few miles away is in Asia.

The rivalry grew manifold in 1996 because of then Galatasaray manager Graeme Souness. The two teams met in the final of the cup competition which Galatasaray won at the home of Fenerbahce. After the match, Souness picked up a Galatasaray flag and erected it in kickoff spot.

The flag incident was the first in a long line of subsequent headline incidents in matches between the teams. The pyros, tifos and noisy stadium make it a fantastic spectacle. However, there are often fights on and off the pitch when the two teams meet.

On head to head, Fener has 103 wins while Galatasaray only has 81 wins. However, the latter has won more Super Lig titles and Turkish Cups. They’ve faced each other in the final of the Turkish Cup in five seasons including in the first ever cup final and Galatasaray has won all five of them.

4 Uruguayan Clásico - Nacional vs Penarol

[caption id="attachment_1125" align="alignnone" width="583"]4 Uruguayan Clásico - Nacional vs Penarol 4 Uruguayan Clásico - Nacional vs Penarol[/caption]

The rivalry of Uruguayan clubs Nacional and Penarol is the biggest club rivalry outside the United Kingdom. The two clubs are based in Uruguay’s capital city Montevideo are also the two most popular clubs in the country.

They have won 90 of the 108 Uruguayan Primer Division titles between them and they also have eight Copa Libertadores titles between them.

The derby is marked by intense atmospheres, breathtaking tifos and fights between the fans. The fans even argue about which is the oldest club. Penarol fans claim it was formed in 1891 as the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club and later changed their name to the district they played in. Nacional (1899) fans claim that makes them the older club.

There have been 358 official games between the two teams. Penarol has won 126 games while Nacional has won 111 games. Former also has two league titles and two Copa Libertadores more than Nacional.

3 Derby della Capitale - Lazio vs Roma

[caption id="attachment_1124" align="alignnone" width="619"]Derby della Capitale - Lazio vs Roma Derby della Capitale - Lazio vs Roma[/caption]

The rivalry between Lazio and Roma of Italy’s capital city Rome stands out from the other derbies on this list. Every other derby involved two teams which dominated the league for many years which thus played a role in making the rivalry even bigger. However, Lazio and Roma have a combined five league titles between them.

These two teams are often involved in a battle for Champions League places or a Europa League spot. For the two sets of fans, it doesn’t matter where their teams end up in the league as long as the derby is won. The grandeur of this rivalry has overshadowed other big rivalries in Italian football featuring Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Napoli.

In terms of titles won, Roma has three compared to Lazio’s two and the former also has nine Coppa Italia cups which is three more than Lazio’s. The most recent trophy for either club was in 2013 when Lazio won the Coppa Italia at Roma’s expense in the first and only cup final between the two sides.

In official matches, Roma has 65 wins while Lazio only has 41 wins in 171 matches.

Despite the intense rivalry, 11 players have played for both sides including current Roma player Aleksandar Kolarov. However, only one player each has made the direct move from Roma to Lazio or vice-versa.

2 The Old Firm Derby - Celtic vs Rangers

[caption id="attachment_1123" align="alignnone" width="632"]The Old Firm Derby - Celtic vs Rangers The Old Firm Derby - Celtic vs Rangers[/caption]

Despite the fame of the Premier League, the biggest derby in British football is the age-old rivalry of the two Scottish clubs from Glasgow, Celtic and Rangers. This is a rivalry born out of sectarianism.

Glasgow has a huge Catholic and Protestant population. The former was the victims of discrimination and issues between the two groups grew when new laws allowed Catholic schools to be funded and run by local authorities. This didn’t go down well with the Protestant community.

Celtic had a Catholic origin to which it grew closer while Rangers was entrenched in Presbyterianism. The tension between the two sets of fans have grown as a result but the violence has been controlled by banning cans, bottles and alcohol.

Rangers have 115 titles in their history including 54 league titles. Their overall tally is ten more than Celtic’s and they have also won five league titles more. However, Celtic has won the European Cup and the previous seven league titles.

1 Superclásico - Boca Juniors vs River Plate

[caption id="attachment_1122" align="alignnone" width="659"]Superclásico - Boca Juniors vs River Plate Superclásico - Boca Juniors vs River Plate[/caption]

If you asked ardent football fans to rank the biggest derbies in football or even the biggest rivalries in football, there will be a lot of debate about the top spots except for the number one spot. Without a hint of doubt, a vast majority will have Superclasico on top of their list.

Boca Juniors and River Plate from Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, are the two most popular and successful clubs in Argentina. It is estimated that over 70% of the football fans in the country support either of these teams with the ratio in favour of Boca Juniors.

Like many of the other rivalries on this list, this too has origins deeply connected to the different classes of society. That was long ago, now it is a matter of only hate and pride.

Watching a Superclasico is often mentioned as a must have in the bucket list of football fans as the flowing banners, chanting, roars and screams bounce La Bombonera and El Monumental, the home grounds of Boca Juniors and River Plate respectively. However, the beauty of this is often marred by violence, bust-ups and red cards (which is often two per game).

In 246 official games, Boca has won 88 matches while River Plate has won 81 games. On the contrary, River Plate leads Boca Juniors in terms of league titles won 36 to 33 but the latter has six Copa Libertadores titles compared to the former’s three.

In 2018, for the first time in the history of their rivalry, the two teams will play in the final of the prestigious Copa Libertadores and the away fans have been banned to avoid violence.

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