Five of the biggest rivalries in football

Trouble between Lazio and Roma fans ahead of the Rome derby has led us to considering what are the greatest rivalries in football?

There are some rivalries in football, which have the ability to make a seemingly mediocre and pointless match, turn into the most important fixture for either team that season. We’ve taken a look at some of the oldest, deepest and most hate filled.

Manchester United and Liverpool

Supporters of these two clubs absolutely hate each other in a big way. The geographical location of each side makes them natural enemies but it’s the success Liverpool generated through the 80s, against the success United have had in the modern era which has taken this rivalry to a new level.

It doesn’t matter if United have won the league or if Liverpool are nowhere near that achievement, it’s a level playing field when these two teams meet and it’s something Sir Alex Ferguson has called the greatest rivalry in football.

Lazio and Roma

This rivalry has deep political roots which date back to the days when Italy was born as a nation and Rome was the central capital for much of Europe and the world. It also has plenty to do with Lazio refusing to join other teams in creating a unified Roma team.

Violence is a big thing here with both sets of supporters having large hooligan communities that are always look to exploit or attack each other. They’ve taken their rivalry to a new level such as when Roma fans dressed up as Lazio fans and attacked Tottenham supporters before a match earlier in the season.

Brazil and Argentina

This is the most prominent rivalry in South American football and it has developed from two main competitions; the World Cup and more significantly, the Copa America.

It’s possibly the biggest rivalry in international football and any match between these two countries, often attracts crowds which rival the official world record attendance of well over 100,000 people for a single football match.

Rangers and Celtic

This is another rivalry which has deep political roots as Celtic are represented by a predominantly Catholic support base in Glasgow and Rangers are presented by a majority of protestant supporters.

The ‘Old Firm’ derby is one of the most widely watched derbies in the world because of the religious connotations of the match. Their rivalry has been enhanced by the fact that they are two of the most successful clubs in the modern era of Scottish football, despite Rangers’ drop to the bottom tier.

Barcelona and Real Madrid

There are few matches that would cause a supporter to throw a pig’s head onto the field, but that’s exactly what happened when Luis Figo went back to Barcelona as a Real Madrid player.

This is a straight up battle between the team representing the capital of Spain and the team representing Catalonia. Needless to say the two regions have never historically and socially got on which adds to the tension whenever there’s an El Classico.

What other great rivalries are there?

image: © Heart of Oak

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