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  • 02/18/2012, 07:35PM ET

FFTI II: What are the three best rivalries in soccer?

And the Prophecy Read (42-14-5) vs BBK (61-12-8)
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My first pick is the El Clasico which is FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid.

The El Clasico matches up two of the biggest and richest cities in Spain. Both have had tons of success and have followers not only all over Europe but all over the globe. In a poll done by Harvard University in 2007 it found Real Madrid had over 228 million fans worldwide making them the highest fanbase in the futbol world while Barcelona checked in 2nd on the list.

This rivalry has been just as close as it has been intense. In 163 League matches Real Madrid has won 68 while Barcelona has won 64 of them with 31 goals and a goal differential of 9.

In 30 Copa del Ray matches FC leads 14 to 10 with 6 draws and owns a 2 goal advantage over RM.

These teams also have met a handful of times in each the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Champions League with RM leading 8-5 in wins.

In terms of historical success FC Barcelona has 75 FIFA recognized trophey wins while Real Madrid has a total of 74.

So while there may be more crazed rivalries, there are none better or more watched than FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Good luck BBK.


A rivalry that involves two very popular teams is a good one (though I'm pretty sure ManU thinks your 2007 Harvard poll is rubbish), but for the number one spot, we need more than just large fanbases.

How about a rivalry where both sides truly hate each other? One side Catholic, and the other side protestant. One side Loyalist, the other side Republican.

I'm talking about a rivalry where hospitals see a 900% increase in patients during this match. These two sides hate each other so much, that there is now a 12 seat buffer set up between fanbases, manned by hundreds of security guards.

I'm talking of course about Old Firm - The rivalry between Galsgow's Celtic and Rangers

This rivalry is about so much more than soccer. You have two groups represented that have actually been at war with each other, and the feud is centuries old.

In 1980, the rivalry escalated into 9000 fans from both sides rioting and fighting on the pitch:



Perhaps they've calmed down? Not even close. Just last year police intercepted several mail bombs intended for Celtic manager Neil Lennon. This is best rivalry in soccer...


My next choice is the Derby della Capitale. It is a match up of the two best teams in Italy. On one side is the Lazio who are the more wealthy and right-wing of the two against the Roma who are more of the working class and left-wing.

These teams share the same field and each fan base has staked a claim to a side of the field behind the goal. When these teams play the stadium is packed.

While this one isn't as close as my other in terms of wins and goal differential this is every bit as heated. Roma owns a good edge in victories but like yours this rivalry has taken the fans to a new level. This rivalry is famous for the first fan to be killed during an Italian league game as a flare was fired off from one side to the other hitting an opposing fan.

In 2004 the game had to be called after a boy was apparently killed by police while trying to control rioting. There have been plenty other instances where play had to be stopped while refs got players and the crowd under control. Yellow and Red cards are a plenty for the game, fans throw fireworks from the stands, this game is the biggest game between two great teams in Italy.


Juventus finds your last pick comical.

For the next best rivalry in soccer, we turn to the game that we Americans probably know best. I'm speaking of course about the North West Derby - Manchester United vs. Liverpool

This rivalry actually does feature the two best teams in it's nations soccer history, with Liverpool and ManU both making the claim to being the best England. This rivalry involves two teams that have also been incredibly successful beyond the premier league (Liverpool's inability to win the league aside) as these clubs have been European champion a combined 8 times and each have over 50 major trophies.

When researching this rivalry, one thing made me chuckle. It was that these teams taunt each other with chants referencing the Munich Air disaster, where 20 people died including ManU football players, and the Hillsborough disaster, an FA cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest where 96 people died during the human crush, and 766 were injured...all Liverpool fans. That's just ruthless. Our chants at FSU about them working for us, have nothing on these guys.


My last pick is the El Superclasico, matching rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate both of Argentina. These teams are the two most popular in Argentina and the name of the match itself, super derby, says it all. This once again is a match up of working class vs the rich and its history stretches back all the way to 1908. In an English paper, The Observer, the rivalry was included on a list of 50 things to see before you die, saying:"Derby day in Buenos Aires makes the Old Firm game look like a primary school kick-about."

This rivalry, like my first, is every bit as close as hated as well. In 198 matches the Boca Juniors own a 72-66 advantage with 60 draws. In 198 matches only 17 goals seperate the teams.

I feel like you're picking rivalries based on how much the teams, or fans hate each other as opposed to how good the rivalry is on the field. I've noticed nearly every soccer rivarly has at least one tragedy if not more. I do know my rivalries have been every bit as close on the field as the fans have hated each other off the field.

Good TD BBK sorry about the delay.


If you're going to attack my picks, at least do so accurately. Old Firm - 158-144 Rangers (95 draws). Northwest Derby - 72-62 ManU (51 draws). These rivalries are very hotly contested.

For my final rivalry, we head to Turkey for the K??talar Aras?? Derbi - Fenerbah??e and Galatasaray

This rivalry is over a century old, and like the others mentioned, is incredibly hostile. These clubs compete for the title of the most successful club in Turkey, and it's the rivalry's history, as much as it's on the field exploits that make it one of the best in the world. Like others this rivalry has seen it's share of violence, dating back to 1934, when a friendly between the two turned into a riot

This is yet another rivalry that lends it's animosity to cultural differences as the clubs originate from two different sides of the Bosphorus. Fenerbah??e was founded on the Asian side of Istanbul, while Galatasaray was founded on the European side of Istanbul. One city, two clubs, two continents.

Fenerbah??e currently leads the all time series 140-117 (111 draws). If you have time, this video does a much better job that me.

Comment #1 has been removed
February 18, 2012  10:33 PM ET

El Clasico is a great pick.

February 18, 2012  10:37 PM ET

Fulham vs. all you haters.

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February 20, 2012  11:01 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

You mean obvious pick, right?

That too.

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February 20, 2012  05:27 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Fulham vs. watchable soccer

.

February 21, 2012  10:41 AM ET

On picks, so far, after each side's 2nd pick, left has a slight advantage, I believe.

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February 21, 2012  04:11 PM ET

correct answer is there are no good rivalries in soccer because soccer blows!

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February 21, 2012  04:27 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

correct answer is there are no good rivalries in soccer because soccer blows!

Amen

February 21, 2012  04:57 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Based on last night, yo mom does too.

Looks like 10 year olds are on this site.

February 21, 2012  06:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

On picks, so far, after each side's 2nd pick, left has a slight advantage, I believe.

Interesting. I thought left's Derby della Capitale choice was a bit weak, at least compared with ManU vs. Liverpool.

 
February 21, 2012  06:42 PM ET

look at that, try and be culturally accurate and FN screws it up...I had to copy and paste every time I typed Fenerbahce, so that could get the cool "c" right. That what I get for not being smart enough to do it on my keyboard.

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