The Biggest Football Rivalries
One of the best parts of supporting a football team is the burning rivalries against other teams. The excitement levels one feels just before a derby are comparable to the levels experienced when one plays new online slots for the very first time! The “us vs them” mentality brings fans together and adds a new level of excitement to the game.
1# Barcelona and Real Madrid
These two teams are the giants of Spanish football. They’ve won 61 of the 91 Primera Divisions and dominate Spanish and European football. However, the rivalry goes beyond local supremacy, dating back to the 1930s when Barcelona football club became a symbol of Catalonian identity, which rivalled Real Madrid’s centralizing ideals. The two teams are still fierce rivals, and every meeting, known as “El Classico,” is hotly contested. However, Barcelona’s recent financial issues may see them lose ground to their rivals in the coming years.
2# Arsenal and Tottenham
Known as the North London derby, these two teams are based just four miles from each other and as such, a local rivalry naturally developed. However, this rivalry didn’t start until 1913, when Arsenal relocated from the Manor Ground in Plumstead to the Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. Things escalated even further when, after the conclusion of the second world war, Arsenal were elected to join the First Division ahead of Tottenham, despite Tottenham already being in the First Division (and finishing 20th the previous season) and Arsenal only being 6th in the Second Division. The rivalry has grown throughout the years and continues to be a fiery affair; both sets of fans are extremely passionate when it comes to this game.
3# Manchester United and Liverpool
While the teams are 35 miles apart, this inter-city rivalry is just as fierce as any local derby, if not more so! The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester goes far beyond football and even dates back to the Industrial Revolution. The footballing rivalry has always been about the battle for English dominance. The two shared league titles in the 60s before Liverpool dominated the 80s; Manchester United hit back and dominated the 90s and 00s. While the rivalry is still fierce and the fans are always up for a derby game, Manchester United’s decline has made the battle much more one-sided.
4# Celtic and Rangers
The two Glasgow-based clubs have always been fierce rivals ever since Celtic was founded in 1887 and Rangers was founded 15 years earlier in 1872. The rivalry has often been described as sectarianism due to the religious differences between supporters of the clubs, with Rangers being a protestant, native Scot fanbase, and Celtic being a Catholic, Irish-Scot fan base. The teams have battled it out on the football pitch for decades, sharing over 100 Scottish League titles. After the Rangers recovered from administration, the rivalry is back to its original intensity, with fans always packing the stadium for this game.
5# Inter and AC Milan
Inter Milan and AC Milan are two of the biggest clubs in Italy. Not only do they share the same city, but they also share the same stadium! Both have played their home games at the San Siro since 1947. This has created a natural rivalry between the two teams, as have their results on the pitch. Both have enjoyed periods of dominance in Italian football, with AC Milan’s dominance occurring in the 90s and Inter Milan’s coming in the late 00s. These two teams have been fighting for dominance in recent seasons, with AC Milan and Inter trading the last two league titles. The fans are incredibly passionate about this fixture, with Ultras from both sides coming out in force for every derby game.
Rivalries in football make the game special. They can make fan bases come together against a common enemy and provide an atmosphere that cannot be matched. If you ever get the chance to see one of these games, we highly recommend it.