Every major footballing country in the world has some great local rivalries. Some of those rivalries run deeper than others. Italy is home to some of the fiercest football clubs in the world. In this article, let us have a look at some of the biggest rivalries in Italian football.
Here are the top 10 biggest rivalries in Italian football.
10. Bologna vs Fiorentina
Situated at either end of the Apennines mountain range, the football rivalry between Bologna and Fiorentina is very heated. With both sides having enjoyed long runs in Serie A to mixed success and their proximity to one another has made it a popular clash between each side of supporters.
Not all of this has been positive though, as clashes in the 1988/89 season in a game in Florence saw a match abandoned as Bologna fans raided the stadium with Molotov cocktails, severely injuring several fans. This incited deep hatred between both sides that continues to boil over to the current day ensuring an intense affair when these sides clash in one of the big Serie A derbies.
9. Juventus vs Napoli
Juventus and Napoli are two of the biggest clubs in Italian football and the meeting between them is one of Italian football’s classic rivalries. On the field, it has pitted some of Serie A’s finest players against each other; the goal-scoring genius of Juve’s Roberto Bettega and Napoli’s José Altafini and also the flair of Michel Platini and Diego Maradona. Both teams have storied histories and both have laid claim to glorious eras, albeit Juve’s being far greater in frequency.
The Northern/Southern divide in Italy has always been existent. Some Northern Italians overlook the South, wishing to undo the Risorgimento in 1861. To differentiate between the North and the South think of this: Industry vs. Underdevelopment.
There is nothing that sums up the differences and problems better than Maradona’s quote before the World Cup semi-final in 1990.
I don’t like the fact that now everybody is asking Neapolitans to be Italian and to support their national team. Naples has always been marginalised by the rest of Italy. It is a city that suffers the most unfair racism.
Much of the enmity between the clubs is rooted in social and sporting history, and in truth runs deeper one way than the other. The South of Italy was very poor. Turin, an industrial hub and the seat of Italy’s royal family stood in sharp contrast to Naples, a sprawling and chaotic city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.
Each time Juventus and Napoli meet, these regional identities are accentuated, laying bare profound divisions. And this deep-rooted territorial rivalry is often manifested, making it one of the biggest rivalries in Italian football.
8. Hellas Verona vs Chievo
The Derby Della Scala between Chievo and Hellas Verona is one of Serie A’s youngest rivalries. The derby is relatively new with both sides only meeting for the first time in 1994 but the rise of both sides into regular Serie A participants has made this a clash worth watching.
In the 2001–02 season, both Hellas and Chievo were playing in Serie A. The first-ever derby of Verona in Serie A took place on 18 November 2001, while both teams were ranked among the top four. The match was won by Hellas, 3–2. Chievo got revenge in the return match in spring 2002, winning 2–1.
Both sides are often found close to one another in the table meaning that more than bragging rights are on the line. A great battle that is always guaranteed to generate some tense action.
7. Genoa vs Sampdoria
The Derby Della Lanterna, played by U.C. Sampdoria, and Genoa is one of the most intense matches in Italian football. The buzz in the city before the game ensnares anyone and everyone in the city of Genoa.
Derby only being 70+ years old, it has evolved into one of the most enigmatic in Serie A, and could soon become as important as its Roman and Milanese counterparts.
No matter how badly the Genoese teams are doing, their fans put on a display that is equal to the Derby Della Madonnina or the Derby Della Capitale. And the rivalry has evolved since Sampdoria burst onto the scene in 1946. Back then, Genoa were considered the big club, having won 9 league titles, finishing runners-up eight times and winning a Coppa Italia in the bargain.
This didn’t seem to faze Sampdoria at all, the new men in town winning the first-ever Derby 3-0 in front of 45,000 fans.