10 football rivalries you must experience before you die (Part 2)

AC Milan v FC Internazionale Milano - Serie A

Disclaimer: This article is based on the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Sportskeeda.

5. Milan vs Inter:

Derby della Madonnina, or the Milan Derby, is a hotly contested local derby and is one of the most followed derbies in the football world, so much so that only select referees may officiate whenever these teams meet. It is the only derby in Europe played by two teams which have been champions of Europe and the world. In addition to the fact that they share a city (and since 1947, a stadium), there is also the baggage of AC Milan representing the working class, and Inter having more support from the bourgeoisie (the wealthier strata).

Overall Stats: AC Milan – 111 wins, Draws – 77, Inter Milan – 105 wins

4. Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce:

Sparks are bound to fly when football clubs are added to a city separated by a mass of water. Istanbul’s dominant sides were founded two years apart, and a social rift soon added spice to the rift already created by geography.

Hooliganism is a very common phenomenon between their fans in recent years, featuring anything from breaking seats, cursing, fighting, fireworks and street rioting. The hatred is so intense that many violent incidents have taken place in several regions of Istanbul as well as in rest of Turkey, especially before or after a derby.

Galatasaray’s home stadium is nicknamed “Hell” by their supporters because of its intimidating atmosphere and the enthusiastic support of the fans, who often make mass use of torches, smoke, drums, flags and giant posters to create visual grandeur and apply psychological pressure on visiting teams.

3. Real Madrid vs Barcelona:

Barcelona v Real Madrid - Super Cup

El Clasico, the rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, in Spain, is generally considered to be the most popular in football. From the start, the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival regions in Spain, Catalonia and Castille respectively, as well as the two cities themselves. Other than the UEFA Champions League Final, it is the most followed club football match in the world, watched by hundreds of millions of people.

The Clasico clearly began as a political divide, and politics still play a big part in the Madrid-Barcelona rivalry. But the football division really got going in the 1950′s, with Alfredo Dí Stefano’s ultimate snubbing of Barca in favor of Madrid.

Overall Stats: Real Madrid – 92 wins, Draws – 57, Barcelona – 105 wins

2. Celtic vs Rangers:

The religious undercurrent to the Old Firm derby makes it unlike any other fixture in the world. Away from the obvious antipathy that exists between two dominant clubs in the same city (Glasgow), there is a long and passionate rivalry that goes beyond the confines of the stadium, dating back to 1888. Celtic are the Catholic club with routes entrenched in Ireland, while the Protestant faction of the city are linked strongly with Rangers.

Opposing fans fought an on-pitch battle in the aftermath of Celtic’s 1–0 victory in the 1980 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden. This remains one of the worst invasions onto a football pitch ever reported, and was instrumental in alcohol being banned from football grounds in Scotland.

Overall Stats: Celtic – 144 wins, Draws – 96, Rangers – 159 wins

1. Boca Juniors vs River Plate:


The Superclásico is known worldwide as one of the fiercest and most important derbies. The English newspaper, The Observer, put the Superclásico at the top of their list of “50 sporting things you must do before you die”, saying that “Derby day in Buenos Aires makes the Old Firm game look like a primary school kick-about.”

Buenos Aires has the largest concentration of football clubs in the world. However, the two most famous ones in the city, Boca and River, are only 7km away from each other, and it’s estimated that 73 percent of the Argentine population are either a River Plate or Boca Junior fan. While the two clubs share the same city, they could not be more opposite.

To many fans and players in Argentina, it’s not just another derby. It’s a symbolic battle between the rich and poor. The hierarchy and the lower class. Games between River, who are traditionally supported by the city’s wealthy, and Boca, the club of the working class, create a fever-pitched atmosphere throughout Argentina in the build-up to the game.

Overall Stats: Boca -126 wins, Draws-107, River- 109 wins

Special Mention:

Although the Krakow derby (between Wisla Krakow and MKS Cracovia), may not be one of the most high-profile derbies in football, clashes between these two Polish giants in the rather dramatically entitled “Holy War” are always an intense and brutal occasion.

Tragically, “The Holy War” has claimed a number of lives of the years. In a city defined by such a strong rivalry, simply saying or wearing the wrong thing in the wrong part of town can lead to deadly consequences. Between 2004 and 2006, eight fans lost their lives as a direct result of football violence in what has become known amongst football firms as “The City of Knives”.

And let’s not forget the greatest rivalry in India; the one between crosstown rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, which is played in one of the largest stadiums in the world — the Salt Lake Stadium — and brings the football crazy city of Kolkata to a standstill.

However, over the last few years the rivalry between the clubs has mellowed down as they are both backed by the Vijay Mallya owned, UB Group. But the rivalry among fans remains the same, and only recently, Bagan were banned (later revoked) and fined for abandoning the game after their midfielder, Syed Rahim Nabi, was attacked by the crowd.

You can find part 1 of the article here.

Disclaimer: This article is based on the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Sportskeeda.

Edited by Staff Editor


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