This may come as a surprise to those living in the United States, but when it comes to emotions in sports, few things can get as heated as a long-standing soccer rivalry. What seems like a common soccer match for some people might be an incredibly intense and passionate experience for fans. Some of the most famous soccer rivalries are as old as the teams themselves and they can stir some of the craziest emotions among football fans all over the world. From the notorious rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona to the Greek derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, these are the 25 most heated soccer rivalries around the world.
Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona
Let us kick off the list with one of the most intense and popular soccer rivalries in the world. Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are by far the most successful and famous teams in Spain, and they simply cannot stand each other. Known as “El Clasicos,” these games are sometimes also identified with opposing political positions, with Real Madrid viewed as representing Spanish nationalism, and Barcelona viewed as representing Catalan nationalism.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke 04
One of the most heated soccer rivalries in Germany, the games between Dortmund and Schalke are known as “Revierderbies” or “Ruhr Derbies.” Both of these rivals are based in the same German region (Ruhr). Their head-to-head matches are massively attended by their fans. Out of the 149 matches Dortmund and Schalke have played against each other, Dortmund won 51, Schalke won 58 and 40 ended up tied.
Palmeiras vs. Corinthians
The greatest soccer rivalry in Brazil is between two traditional Sao Paulo football clubs, the Palmeiras and the Corinthians. It began in 1917 when these sides met for the first time. Now, these matches, known as “The Paulista Derbies,” are rated among the 10 greatest soccer classics of the world. The rivalry was even heavily featured in the 2005 Brazilian film “O Casamento de Romeu e Julieta” that was based on the iconic Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet.”
West Ham vs. Millwall
The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall is easily one of the oldest and fiercest in London. The two sides are local rivals, having both formed originally around local companies, with players living in the same localities. The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall has involved considerable violence and is one of the most notorious within the world of soccer hooliganism. Several fans on both sides have died in off-field fights that usually precede the games.
AS Roma vs. Lazio
AS Roma have the first and foremost rivalry with their city rivals Lazio, the club with whom they share their stadium. The derby between the two is called the “Derby della Capitale” and it is amongst the most heated and emotional soccer rivalries in the world. The fixture has seen some occasional instances of violence in the past, including several deaths. Out of the 181 matches AS Roma and Lazio have played against each other, AS won 68, Lazio won 50 and 63 ended up draws.
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