We all love a derby. We all get them pre-derby nerves before we go head-to-head with our fiercest rival. Who will be victorious? Who will have bragging rights?
Derby’s are usually overshadowed by the trouble that happens off the pitch, as opposed to on it, which is a real shame for modern football itself. Football hooliganism is now becoming a popular breed among many big clubs’ fans.
I decide to take a look at – what I think – are the five biggest and most anticipated derbys worldwide.
5) AC Milan vs Internazionale
Known as ‘Derby Della Madonnina’, the fashion capital’s two big boys aren’t split politically or religiously, but mostly on history. This derby is a tale of who is the bigger brother, with both sides having had incredible domestic success, and the inclusion of several European trophies within their ranks. AC Milan are currently ranked 2nd in Italy for most honours won (48) and Inter are ranked 3rd with 39.
Milan was founded as one entire club in 1899, but was split into two nine years later, with the formation of Internazionale(Inter Milan) as they wanted to sign foreign players. The two sides are generally surrounded by a friendly atmosphere, although the bragging rights of the city have often seen a lot of hooliganism and friction interfering with the fixture. In 1983, a fan was killed, and both sides set of ultras came up with a pact to put an end to any violence surrounding the fixture. Since then there has been very little in terms of violence of note, except in 2005 Champions League fixture between the two, Milan goalkeeper Dida was struck by a firework.
4) Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04
A 30-minute drive separates these German giants. Formed in 1909, Dortmund didn’t have any notable success until the late 1930’s. Schalke on the other hand, were the dominant force in Westphalia and seen a string of 21 consecutive seasons of holding the regional trophy. This was until 1947, when they hit a yellow brick wall, and suffered a 3-2 defeat which was the beginning of a thrilling rivalry for the distant future.
Dortmund and Schalke then became a frequently feisty fixture in Germany’s Bundesliga. In the late 70’s, both teams had extreme sets of ultras because of social despair and economic suffering in the North West region of Germany, and this had a catastrophic affect, with bots sets of fans colliding numerous times and sparking a reputation with both clubs. Dortmund’s ‘Borrusenfront’ which was formed in 1982, was a counteract to Schalke setting up their own violent firm in 1979, known as the ‘Gelsenszene’
Despite what used to be a toxic atmosphere between the two, the situation in North West Germany appears to be more passionate than violent, with such a rich history surrounding the two clubs. Bragging rights for the entire region are at stake in this one.
3) Celtic vs Rangers
Britain’s biggest and fiercest rivalry. Known as the ‘Old-Firm’ this fixture relies on more than just the football, with both clubs sets of fans typically having different religious and political beliefs. This shows, with the game having a huge history of violence, and often resulting in fans being killed over the years. The fixture divides Scotland’s capital city and is dominated by Protestants and Catholics – the Catholics usually supporting Celtic, and the Protestants supporting Rangers. Celtic fans will usually display Irish flags, because of their traditional catholic roots, whereas Rangers fans will often display Union Jack flags.
Aswell as the non-football aspects, the actual matches themselves used to be traditionally a battle for which team would go on to win the title – this until Rangers went into administration, and nearly became extinct in 2012. Both clubs historically, have been the dominant force in terms of domestic success.
2) Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray
The word ‘hate’ can be used when it comes to this derby. With both Turkish giants being based in the capital of Istanbul, this is arguably ranked as Europe’s most fearsome derby. Despite being from the same city, the two are separated into different continents. Fenerbahce being in Asia, and Galatasaray being in Europe.
Historically, there is no reason for there to be a division, other than geography. However, the sheer level of violence which has taken place in this fixture speaks for itself. Fenerbahce and Galatasaray fans have given themselves the reputation, including in Europe, because of several incidents which have taken place which have included people’s lives being taken. Deaths in this fixture seem to be a recurring problem and adds major concern each time the fixture is due to be played.
Adding to this, both clubs have a rich history domestically. Both clubs are the two most successful clubs in Turkish history and expect to be challenging for the title each season, so when it comes to derby day, generally there are more than just reputations at stake.
Graeme Souness, former Galatasaray player, went on to plant a Galatasaray flag in the middle of the pitch after a victory over Fenerbahce, and is still idolised for his actions by fans to this day.
1) River Plate vs Boca Juniors
Here we have the world’s most fearsome rivalry. At the heart of Argentinian football, lie two clubs which through the years have generated some of the most gifted footballers to have ever existed. ‘Superclasico’ as it is known as, generates nearly 70% of Argentina’s support.
Historically, both teams were formed from a working-class area of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. River Plate later moved to a wealthy part of Buenos Aires and became known as ‘Los Millionarios’ with Boca Juniors to generally become supported by the working class, and Plate having a generally wealthier section of support.
With this, comes an extreme amount of friction between the two clubs. In 1968, 71 fans were killed in a collision between the two sets of supporters. The sheer tension between Boca Juniors and River Plate has a mixture of both passion and demand, with both clubs wanting to be dominant stature in Argentinian football.
Which other derbies should have made this list? Let us know in the comments below!