The Most Intense Football Rivalries of All Time
Nothing fires the blood quite like football. It is actually somewhat amazing at how someone can get so incensed by a complete stranger wearing the wrong collection of colours on their scarf and yet it happens every single day all over the world. Here are some of the most intense football rivalries of all time and the teams involved.
El Clásico (Real Madrid vs F.C. Barcelona)
Like many football rivalries, this one goes beyond football. The political split between the two cities is one often mentioned here and it is one of the oldest rivalries in football. As two of the world’s top teams, they have some of the best players in the game on their rosters. This makes any derby match between them a true display of some of the best football in the world.
The Manchester Derby (Manchester United vs Manchester City)
The old joke is that no-one from Manchester supports Man United but it still doesn’t stop tempers flying on match day. The Manchester Derby is always guaranteed to draw a large crowd in. What started as a series of friendlies between two football companies on opposite sides of the city, it took on a more intense nature after WWII and deepened in the 1970s. It has a long and vibrant history with some epic plays throughout the years.
The Old Firm (Celtic vs Rangers)
One of the most vicious rivalries in football comes from these prominent Glaswegian teams. Rooted in sectarianism, clashes between the fans and the players have often been violent. It even used to be the case that a player of one team would not be able to transfer to play for another, although it does happen now. Local businesses would also have to sponsor both teams or risk significantly losing business as the other supporters would choose to go elsewhere.
The North West Derby (Manchester United vs Liverpool)
Considered to be one of the most high-profile in the world. These two clubs are the most successful in England and it results in some extremely high-class football being played when they step out on the pitch. The nastier football taunts tend to lean towards digs about the Munich Air Disaster and the Hillsborough Disaster; tragedies for both sides.
Derby d'Italia (Inter Milan vs Juventus)
Two of the biggest teams in Italy go head to head in this tightly fought match. It is often difficult to predict an outcome due to the prestige of the teams and they will both keep fighting until their last breath. Like El Clásico, there is a touch of politics in the rivalry and it is not uncommon to see Italian politicians voice their opinions when a derby is due. If you want to see some amazing football played then this is certainly a derby you want to tune into.
Der Klassiker (Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund)
Played between two of the biggest clubs in Germany, it is also one of the country’s most enthralling matches. If you want to see the best the Bundesliga has to offer then you need to check it out. The matches have some of the best record attendance you might ever see and the lively crowds and world-class football. It is a game which is not to be missed.
The Merseyside Derby (Liverpool vs Everton)
This derby is one of the fiercest in English football and also has the highest number of matches. If you ever doubt that there is not any love lost between these two Merseyside teams then just take a look at the number of red cards issued by the referees for this game. Like the Manchester Derby, it started out as a friendly and has taken a downturn since. If you want to see what these top players have to offer, you should definitely turn in for the next Merseyside derby match.
The Docker’s Derby (West Ham vs Millwall)
Both are East London clubs and they have a fierce rivalry. The starting point of the rivalry can be pinpointed thanks to the name of the Derby itself; both teams used to work for companies on either side of the Thames. This business rivalry escalated to the football pitch and gave birth to two of the most notorious hooligan firms in British footballing history; the Inter City Firm and the Millwall Bushwackers. The Met has since put in a number of policies to ensure that the rest of London is kept trouble-free when they meet.
Which Side Should You Pick?
Even if you do not support one of these teams all the time, it can be good fun to tune into or turn up to one of these matches. You will experience football fever at its zenith and witness the passion the fans have for their clubs first hand. If you are convinced of a certain outcome because of the match, you might also want to lay down a wager to see if you can earn some money. Whether you are betting that a certain player will score the first goal or just supporting the team you know to be the greatest (as everyone believes their teams to be) then this might be a great option for you. Just make sure that you are betting responsibly at all times and don’t be too disappointed if you lose. Derbies have a reputation for being places of violence. Due to the poor actions of some ardent fans, this reputation was once completely deserved but actions have since been taken to improve them. If you are looking to see football played at its best, you will often find it not on the pitches of international games like the World Cup or the Euros but on the fields of a local derby. It may divide the fans by colour and team but it unites them all with a passion for football that other sports can only dream of. See if your local team is involved in any derbies and consider heading to the next match.