Biggest Rivalries In Italian Football – Top 10

3. A.C Milan vs Inter Milan

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The Derby Della Madonnina or the Milan Derby played between the two prominent Milanese clubs Internazionale and AC Milan, is one of the biggest games in Italian football. It is called Derby Della Madonnina in honour of one of the main sights in the city of Milan, the statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the Duomo, which is often referred to as the Madonnina.

On December 16th 1899, Alfred Edwards, the former vice-consul in Milan and a member of Milan’s high society founded Milan Cricket and Football Club.  There was a strong English driving force behind the team and half a dozen of the association’s original members were English – and the son of a Nottingham butcher was the club’s first captain.

For a while, things were all good, with Milan picking up the title in 1901, 1906 and 1907. The triumph of 1901 was particularly relevant because it ended the consecutive series of wins of Genoa, which had been the only team to have won the title prior to 1901.

On 9 March 1908, issues over the signing of foreign players led to a split and the foundation of Football Club Internazionale. It gave birth to one of the biggest rivalries in Italian football.

2. Inter vs Juventus

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The Derby d’Italia is the name given to the match between Internazionale and Juventus. The Derby d’Italia, as the fixture was dubbed in 1967 by the famous Italian sports journalist Gianni Brera, is one of the most intense matches in world football. With a fierce rivalry that is so deeply rooted in each club’s history.

The rivalry between these clubs started in 1961. In April of 1961 second-placed Inter travelled to Turin to take on first placed Juventus, and Inter were only four points behind the league leaders. Confidence was high for the Nerazzurri after winning the Milan leg of the fixture earlier in the season, and the team were hoping to repeat the result and close the gap on the first place.

Unfortunately, more fans than the stadium could hold turned up to see the game resulting in around 5000 spilling out from the stands to watch from the sidelines and even from the Inter bench. Despite the extreme overcrowding, the game started as planned, but after just 30 minutes of play, the referee called for the match to be abandoned when Juventus fans stormed the pitch.

According to the rules at that time, Inter were rightly awarded a 2-0 win, just as Juventus had been in similar circumstances a few seasons previously, but Juventus took offence to this decision and appealed to the Italian football governing body, the FIGC.

On the last day of the season, the court ruled that Inter’s win wouldn’t stand and the game would have to be replayed, much to the fury of Inter president Angelo Moratti and club supporters. Moratti accused the Italian football association of favouritism due to the Agnelli family’s influence, as Umberto Agnelli(president of Juventus FC ) was FIGC head at that time. In the eyes of Inter, the players and the fans this ruling virtually handed Juve the Scudetto.

Inter president Angelo Moratti and legendary coach Helenio Herrera decided the Nerazzurri would play the match, but to show it for the farce that it was they fielded the youth team in protest. The outcome was a 9-1 destruction of Inter by Juve and a rivalry that continues today was born. Juventus striker Omar Sívori scored six goals in the match and went on to win the Ballon d’Or that year.

The rivalry was refueled during the Calciopoli scandal in 2006 when Juventus were stripped of their league title in 2006 and it was given to Inter.

1. Lazio vs Roma

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The Derby Della Capitale is considered to be the fiercest intra-city derby in the country ahead of the other major local derbies.

Roma was founded in 1927 as a result of a merger between three teams: Roman, Alba-Audace and Fortitudo, initiated by Italo Foschi. It was the intention of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to create a unified Roman club to challenge the dominance of Northern clubs. Due to the influence of the Fascist general, Giorgio Vaccaro, Lazio were the only major team from Rome to resist the merger, thus a kind of rivalry emerged from the very early years of the coexistence in the same city.

In a nutshell, the Lazio fans are considered by their Roma counterparts as being outsiders i.e. not from the city of Rome.  Lazio fans retort by informing the Roma Tifosi that they were here first. The year 1900 to be precise.  Twenty-seven years before Roma became a club.

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