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. Hellas Verona vs Chievo
The Derby della Scala between Chievo and Hellas Verona is one of the Serie A’s youngest rivalries. It wasn’t until 2001 that the first top-flight derby between them took place.
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.
Hellas Verona and Chievo are now looking for Serie A stability and the teams are closely matched. So far the clubs have met 19 times with both teams registering 7 wins.
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. 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. The clubs have won 98 times, of which 38 games have been won by Sampdoria and 24 by Genoa.
7. Juventus vs Torino
The Derby della Mole, is the local derby, played out between Turin’s most prominent football clubs Juventus and Torino. It is named after the Mole Antonelliana, a major landmark in the city and the architectural symbol of the Piedmontese capital.
A lot of unfortunate incidents have took place between these two clubs. In 1967 after a derby Torino won 4–0, incensed Juventus fans vandalized the grave of former Torino player Gigi Meroni.
Prior to a derby match during the 2007–08 season, riots took place and chaos broke out as police tried to control the hooligans involved. There were 40 arrests made and 2 injured policemen. Rubbish bins were set on fire and many cars and shops vandalized as a result.
Overall, Juventus have won the derby 104 times and Torino have won it 73 times. There have been 62 draws, with 374 goals in favour of Juventus and 317 goals scored for Torino. It is definitely, one of the biggest rivalries in Italian football.
6. Roma vs Napoli
The Derby del Sole or The Derby of the Sun, played between S.S.C. Napoli and A.S. Roma is among the biggest rivalries in Italian football. The two clubs are considered the most followed and successful outside of Northern Italy; Roma being from Central Italy and Napoli from Southern Italy.
The south of Italy has always had a strained relationship with the rest of the country. The south are angered by what they see as this aristocratic arrogance from those who look down upon them. It is not surprising therefore that this should carry itself on to the football field when teams from each side of the divide meet.
Geography also plays a part in the derby as the clubs are relatively close in proximity with Rome lying just over 100 miles north of Naples in Central Italy.
The sides first met each other on league duty in the 1929/30 season and, perhaps fittingly, the match in Rome ended in a 2-2 draw. In the 164 meetings between these teams so far, Roma were victorious on 62 occasions while Napoli won 49 times.