When it comes to rivalry games, they attract a lot of attention irrespective of the sport. Some of the well-known Italian football rivalries have been followed eagerly by both fans and neutrals over the decades. Not only do these serve as exciting encounters every season, sometimes they become the deciding factor for a team to go on and win the league itself.
Furthermore, while the number of fans present in the football stadiums are dwindling across multiple leagues/competitions including the likes of Copa America, Serie A and more, encounters between these specific teams still attract large number of spectators. Let’s now tell you about some such popular rivalries of Serie A.
Milan vs Inter
Commonly referred to as the Milan Derby or Derby della Madonnina, this is counted amongst the most recognised derbies of the football world. Not only do Inter-Milan and AC Milan share a common stadium, they have shared footballers too.
The Inter-Milan founders split from the main club owing to a disagreement over inclusion of foreign players in the team. Post their separation, AC Milan started being viewed as the club belonging to the working class, while Inter-Milan gained recognition as a club for the bourgeoisie.
Both these clubs have enjoyed mixed success over the years. Inter Milan tested plenty of success during the 60s whereas AC Milan was a very dominant team in Serie A during the 80s and the 90s era.
Roma vs Lazio
Known as the Rome derby, this is another hotly contested rivalry in Serie A. The ‘ultras’ belonging to both the teams have contributed significantly to the extreme animosity between them over the years. In fact, a match between them in 2004 had to be abandoned owing to riots in the stands.
Such is the intensity of this rivalry that there are even political and geographical implications for organisations and fans of the region. Called the Derby della Capitale, it gives the winning team a chance to be known as the best team of the capital, even if for that particular season or game.
Sampdoria vs Genoa
This derby which is called Derby della Lanterna resulted from two smaller teams – Sampier and Andrea Doria – both merged together to create Sampdoria. Genoa used to be the region’s big football club, however, Mussolini didn’t like its British heritage and always wanted another major club as its rival. It was after multiple failed merging attempts that Sampdoria was born.
At that point, the Derby used to be quite even, with the newly created Sampdoria even winning a good number of encounters against Genoa. But it was during the early 90s and 80s when the Derby gained a lot of significance at the national level after excellent showings by both the clubs in Serie A.
Roma vs Napoli
It was in the 80s and 70s era when Derby del Sole reached its peak, with the kinds of Diego Maradona involved in the games. In fact, the cultural differences between capital-based Roma fans and Naples fans from the south would often lead to riots, with fans often getting banned from travelling alongside their favourite teams. Although this can’t be said about all the fans of the clubs, it does show how ugly things can get when two different sets of supporters come together.