The past weekend saw four teams from two of world football’s most passionate rivalries go head-to-head for the latest time.
At the Emirates Stadium, the bragging rights (and points) were shared in the North London derby as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur battled out a typically tight 1-1 draw. While over in the Italian capital, goals from two former Barclays Premier League stars, Edin Dzeko and Gervinho, saw AS Roma take the spoils with a 2-0 victory over their bitter rivals Lazio.
This has got the Net World Sports office thinking (and debating!) – what is the biggest football ‘derby’ match? Here are a few of ours to get you started…
Although not technically a derby in many a purist’s eyes – that tag is reserved for games between two teams based in the same city – the rivalry between these two Spanish powerhouses is acknowledged as one of the fiercest in not just the beautiful game but in world sport today. A tussle which can often take on as much of a political angle as a sporting one – pitching Catalonia against Spain – it is a derby which over more than 250 games has brought us great goals, infamous transfer deals, and some of the most iconic images in sporting history.
While a number of players have turned out in the famous colours of both teams, in 2000 one of the most notorious transfer deals of all time saw Luis Figo, the darling of Barcelona, cross the divide and join their most bitter of rivals. On his first return to the Camp Nou, the Portuguese winger’s every touch was greeted with deafening jeers and whistles, while as he ran the gauntlet of hate to take a corner kick, he infamously had a pig’s head hurled at him by the crowd that used to idolise him.
Incidentally, the next instalment of this fixture is less than a couple of weeks away, with the sides set to meet at Real’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on 21 November after the current international break.
A ferocious contest every football fan in the UK is well familiar with, even though it has sadly become a much rarer event in recent years following the travails of Glasgow Rangers and their demotion to the Scottish lower leagues.
Just like El Clasico, the Glasgow derby rivalry is based on much, much more than just the action on the pitch – cultural, religious, and political beliefs are all to the fore, although these traditional dividing lines are becoming increasingly blurred.
One of the oldest rivalries in world football bringing together Scotland’s two most successful clubs, the Old Firm have gone up against each other more than 400 times, the last of which was in February 2015 for Celtic’s 2-0 Scottish League Cup semi-final victory, the first meeting between the sides in more than three years.
The incredibly intense Buenos Aires derby is said to bring not only the city to a standstill, but the whole of Argentina to a halt – nearly three quarters of the country is said to support one of the two teams.
Pitching Boca – traditionally seen as the ‘people’s club’ of the working classes – up against River – said to be the preference of the upper classes and ‘the millionaires’ – games between the two sides are played out in front of fevered atmospheres, complete with fireworks and non-stop chanting from both sets of fans.
A contest dating back more than a hundred years of classic clashes on and off the pitch, Boca fans taunt their rivals as the ‘gallinas’ (the chickens) due to their supposed lack of guts, while River supporters respond with retorts of ‘los chanchitos’ (little pigs) amid accusations that their opponent’s stadium stinks!
So there are a few of our personal highlights, but what are your must-see football derby matches?
Whether it’s the Manchester or Merseyside clashes for city pride, something with a little more continental spice like Fenerbahçe against Galatasaray, or a real ‘blood and guts’ local affair like the cross-border Wrexham versus Chester match, we’d love to hear your favourites – get in touch now and tell us why!