football

The World’s Biggest Derbies: Football’s Fierce Rivalries…

February 27, 2017

- Grant Whittington

The blood, sweat and passion of football is never evoked more than in a derby match against your closest rivals. It is one of the few occasions where the word ‘hate’ is not too strong a word to describe how you feel about your opponents and is always an encounter that can never be regardless as meaningless, no matter how little is at stake.

The blood, sweat and passion of football is never evoked more than in a derby match against your closest rivals. It is one of the few occasions where the word ‘hate’ is not too strong a word to describe how you feel about your opponents and is always an encounter that can never be regardless as meaningless, no matter how little is at stake.

In the past, spectators have openly admitted that would sacrifice their league status or cup dream, just so they can rub salt in the wound of the enemy at work on Monday morning.

They are the matches that can define seasons and where football becomes more than just a game. Here is a guide to five ferocious rivalries that are renowned around the world that attract and captivate a global audience.

Milan Derby – AC Milan vs. Inter Milan

The only major cross-town derby in club football. This fierce derby is intensified by its storied origin when issues over the signing of foreign players led to a split from the Milan Cricket and Football Club and the establishment of Inter Milan in 1908.

Many world-class stars and football icons have taken part in “Derby Della Madonnina” – named in honour of one of the main attractions of the city. It is Inter who currently hold bragging rights with 77 wins to AC’s 75.

Manchester Derby – Manchester United vs. Manchester City

First contested in 1881, the clash between the red and blue halves of Manchester is one of the most anticipated derbies in world football. The two teams have met 173 times in all competitions, with United winning 72, City 50 and the remaining 51 ending all square.

Labelled for a long period as United’s “Noisy Neighbours”, City have come of age since they memorably annihilated their bitter rivals 1-6 at Old Trafford in 2011. With a tie still to go this season it could have a huge say on the Premier League top four odds.

Glasgow Derby – Celtic vs. Rangers

An intense rivalry rooted as heavily in religion as it is in football. Celtic fans are traditionally Catholics with Irish heritage, whilst Gers fans are Protestant. It is without doubt one of the most hostile derbies in world football and there is categorically no love lost between Celtic and Rangers supporters.

“You could take all the derby matches in the world and put them together and they still wouldn’t equal one-millionth of the Old Firm,” argues Paolo Di Canio. “There’s nothing like it,”

Despite their downfall in recent years, Rangers still narrowly lead the head-to-head 159-158.

Buenos Aires Derby – Boca Juniors v River Plate

Known as the Superclasico, both of these sides hail from the working class dockland area of Buenos Aires with Boca recognised as the people’club in comparison to their richer, aristocratic counterparts. This rivalry is based on social class and money and is one of serious revulsion and violence.

The most famous incident at this game was the Puerta 12 tragedy in 1968 when 71 fans were killed and 150 injured in a huge crush at one of the gates. A Government inquiry found no one guilty, creating even more antipathy between the two sets of fans.

Their head-to-head record in competitive matches currently has Boca in the lead by 86 to 78.

Belgrade Derby – Red Star Belgrade vs. Partizan Belgrade

The Serbian Super League has been dominated by these two clubs since the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992 and therefore their clashes are the pinnacle of the domestic season.

Animated spectators carry out excessive preparation before the Eternal derby, meaning the stadium is draped in banners and a barrage of noise reverberates around the stadium.

Sadly this rivalry is rife with brutality, racism and flares being let off. The fans also clash away from matches in prearranged fights in which people are often stabbed and severely injured.

Red Star currently overshadow their city rivals with 62 victories in comparison to Partizan’s 42.

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