Fiercest Soccer Rivalries

9 Fiercest Soccer Rivalries

The fiercest soccer rivalries are often born from passionate fanbases, deep-rooted cultural
clashes and a large dose of historical tension.

Throughout the generations, soccer rivalry has a habit of producing some truly memorable
battles, all in the name of local bragging rights whilst emotionally charged and often prone to

But which are the 9 fiercest Soccer rivalries?

9. AC Milan vs Inter Milan

AC Milan vs Inter Milan

The first derby match between these two Milanese rivals took place in the final of the Chiasso Cup of 1908. The two sides have traditionally battled for Serie A titles and met six times in Europe including two Champions League semi-finals.

In 2005, their Italian Cup quarter-final tie was stopped in the 73rd minute after Inter fans threw flares and hit keeper Dida on the shoulder. Following a 20-minute delay, play resumed for just 30 seconds before being abandoned amid ugly scenes of crowd trouble.

8. Ajax vs Feyenoord

The De Klassieker or “The Classic” between Ajax and Feyenoord was first contested in October 1921. The rivalry is intense with the two clubs historically battling for league honours, Ajax claiming 36 Eredivisie titles and Feyenoord winning a total of 16.

Continuous hostility between the two sets of supporters resulted in respective away fans being banned from traveling to the fixture between 2009 and 2014. Ajax even prevented their fanbase from attending the away day trip for a further three years until 2017.

Next time these two titans from the Eredivisie clash use your soccer knowledge and explore the world of football betting to cash in.

7. Lazio vs Roma

Lazio and Roma have clashed in the Derby della Capitale or “derby of the capital city” for nearly a century since their first meeting in 1929. Both Rome based teams have turned their proximity into a bitter rivalry across both Serie A and Coppa Italia.

In March 2004, the derby was abandoned only four minutes into the second half with the game still at 0-0. A riot broke out in the stand and rumours of deaths in the crowd began to spread. The match was postponed following a prolonged battle between fans and police. Streets near the stadium were set on fire, thirteen arrests made and over 170 members of the police force injured.

6. Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos

Known as the “Derby of the Eternal Rivals”, tensions between Greece’s top two clubs can be
traced back to cultural, social and regional divisions. Based in the centre of Athens, Panathinaikos was founded in 1908 and affiliated with high class Athenian society. Whereas
Olympiacos, which was formed later in 1925, originates from the Port city of Piraeus and its
supporters from the surrounding working class regions.

Rivalries intensified in October 2023, when Panathinaikos defender Juankar was struck by a
firecracker whilst warming up before eventually being carried off on a stretcher. The match
was then abandoned with the score tied at 1-1 after 50 minutes.

5. Manchester United vs Liverpool

Manchester United vs Liverpool

Since their first ever meeting in 1925, Manchester United’s rivalry with Liverpool has become a constant, significantly growing throughout Liverpool’s dominance of 1970’s and 1980’s English soccer. Liverpool currently hold 19 league titles with United ahead on a total of 20.

Their rivalry famously crossed the line in February 2012. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez had just missed eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. As a result, the United defender refused to shake hands with Suarez before the game whilst his exaggerated celebrations after the final whistle led to a brawl between the two sets of players.

4. Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

The Intercontinental Derby between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray first took place in 1909 with the latter winning 2-0. Now 115 years on their rivalry remains as fierce as ever, contesting domestic honours with Fenerbahce winning 28 Turkish titles and Galatasaray claiming 24 league crowns.

As recently as November 2018 and following a fiery draw in the Istanbul derby, three players were sent off at full-time amidst a mass brawl of 30 players and staff. Galatasaray’s Badou Ndiaye along with Roberto Soldado and Jailson of Fenerbahce were all shown red cards.

3. Boca Juniors vs River Plate

First taking place in 1913, the Superclasico between Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate is still a fierce rivalry to this day. The two clubs both have origins in La Boca, a working class dockland area in the city and the sides founded only four years apart.

Tensions hit new levels in 2011 as River Plate were relegated to the second division for the first time in 110 years. Boca supporters celebrated their city rivals’ fate like they themselves had won the title, flooding the streets with ‘funeral-esque’ River plate red and white paper mache coffins.

2. Celtic vs Rangers

The Old Firm battles between Scottish football clubs Celtic and Rangers first took place as early as 1888. The two Glasgow based sides have traditionally battled for domestic supremacy, claiming numerous honours with Celtic winning 115 trophies and Rangers a total of 117.

As recently as April 2024, Rangers and Celtic players were involved in a heated brawl following their 3-3 derby draw at Ibrox. After the final whistle was blown, tempers boiled over which resulted in tussles and scraps amongst several members of both squads.

1. Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Barcelona and Real Madrid have fought in El Clasico matches since 1902. The two Spanish sides have formed a bitter rivalry whilst also contributing to their incredible legacies. Madrid won 122 trophies whilst Barcelona have amassed 128 honours in total.

There have been a series of spats between players in the 2000’s alone. Cristiano Ronaldo once pushed Pep Guardiola when the former Barcelona coach refused to give him the ball for a throw-in. Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos is often the centre of attention during their games, clashing with both Lionel Messi and slapping Carles Puyol.

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