Soccer Rivalries that Run Deep

Without rivalry in sport, there would be little joy in winning. Sporting rivalry is what gives a team, or player the extra edge needed to be the best. Becoming the best is all about knowing your main competitors and knowing what it will take to better them. This is what creates rivalry in the most basic sense, but some rivals take things a little further and their fans even perpetuate the competition far away from the field of play. These are just some of the greatest rivalries that have been publicized for good and bad reasons.

Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers

Known as the ‘Old Firm’, the two most successful football clubs in Scotland have had a rivalry contested both on and off the pitch. Much of the rivalry has focused on the religion of the fans with many Celtic fans belonging to the Roman Catholic faith and the Rangers fans belonging to the protestant Church of England. Strangely, for a football game in Scotland, the fans of Celtic usually sport an Irish flag whereas the Rangers fans are fond of sporting the Union Jack. The managers are not immune from the conflict with Celtic manager Neil Lennon twice targeted by parcel bombs and Rangers’ Ally McCoist was accused of attacking the manager off the pitch. Managers of both sides have been the subject of death threats and they have received hate mail from opposing fans with bullets included to assert their intentions.

Panathinaikos and Olympiacos

Greek football’s greatest rivalries, has been called a number of things over the years, but the game between the two teams is commonly known as the ‘Derby of the Eternal Enemies’ or ‘The Mother of all Battles’. The origin of the rivalry is was embed deep in the class structure that existed early in the twentieth century. The Panathinaikos team was from Athens where many wealthy business owners originated and the team represented the higher classes. Olympiacos, on the other hand, had its origins in the dockyards of Piraeus where the working class began to play football and Olympiacos came to represent their struggle. More than one hundred years later, there are still strong feelings between the two teams. The fans of Olympiacos came from all over Greece, as they were a symbol of struggle against the oppressive higher class.

Barcelona and Real Madrid

The match between the two teams is known, as ‘El Classico’ is reportedly the most watched club football game in the world. The rivalry began because of a dispute in the political leadership structure in Spain. The Catalan region of Spain was semi-autonomous at one time, but the president of Barcelona football club was executed when General Franco seized control in Spain. The Madrid headquarters and the Catalan region’s largest city were at loggerheads from that point onwards. There had always been a sporting rivalry between the two teams, but it now had another edge. Spain is once again a democracy, but there are still great rivalries between the two most powerful football clubs from the two greatest cities in Spain.

Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade

Known as ‘The Eternal Derby’, the match between Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade is one of the most competitive football matches between players and fans alike. The rivalry is not restricted to the football teams, but also the basketball and handball competitions in which the two Belgrade teams are dominant in Serbia. Both foreign players and media have described the football matches between the teams as the most intense meetings in the sporting world. There were more than 108,000 spectators at one of the games hosted at Red Star’s home ground and that is still a record in Serbia today.

When games like these are played, it can be hard to choose a winner, but if you are tempted to place a bet, it is a good idea to check out the online betting at Bet Victor.