Fenerbahce v Galatasaray
Known as the Kitalar Arasi Derbi or Intercontinental Derby as these two sides from Istanbul are located either side of the Bosphorus. This derby was also initially based in social differences, with Galatasaray representing the Aristocrats with Fener being the club of the lower classes. This has petered out over the years, as it has in the Superclasico, but the rivalry is just as intense as the teams vie to be Turkey’s most successful club.
Perhaps the most famous incident relating to the game came from a Scotsman back in 1996. Former Liverpool and Rangers manager Graeme Souness was in charge of Gala, who reached the cup final despite struggling in the league, to face Fener, who were competing for the title. The second leg of the final was at Fenerbahce, and after Gala scored in extra time to win the cup, Souness planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre circle and became a Galatasaray hero.
Al Ahly v Zamalek
The Cairo derby is the biggest game in African football, often being played out in front of 100,000 spectators. Al Ahly represent Egyptian nationalism, and as Zamalek were founded by foreigners, they have come to be associated with colonialism. The derby is associated with violence, and caused the Egyptian League to be cancelled in the early 1970s. All the games now have to be played at a neutral venue, and foreign referees are imported to ensure neutrality.
Olympiacos v Panathinaikos
The clash of these two Athens based clubs is known as the “Derby of the Eternal Enemies”, which reflects the animosity between the two sets of supporters and the intensity with which the players do battle on the pitch. It is another derby rooted in social differences, Panathinaikos being the club of the rich, while Olympiacos, who are based in the port area Piraeus, attracted support from the surrounding area where people were less well off.
As recently as February this year, Panathinaikos fans threw flares, fireworks and chairs and the Olympiacos players and staff, with midfielder Pajtim Kasami requiring treatment after a flare struck him on the shoulder. Police had to use tear gas to restore order, on a day that was described by Olympiacos president – Evangelos Marinakis – as an atrocity for Greek football.
Celtic v Rangers
Glasgow’s Old Firm derby is a rivalry not based around social class, but on religion. Celtic were formed by an Irish Catholic priest, Brother Walfrid, as a means of fundraising to help poverty in the local area, and so became associated with the Irish Catholic population in Glasgow. Rangers, who were Celtic’s first ever opponents in 1888 (Celtic winning 5-2), came to represent the Protestant side of the city. Due to the format of the Scottish league, each team plays each other on four occasions, and familiarity breeds contempt. The tension builds steadily in the week building up to a game, which are usually crucial affairs that often decide the destination of the league title. The vitriol from the crowd often transfers to the pitch, with the fixture producing many a red card in its history. In a game in May 1999, Rangers beat Celtic 3-0 to clinch the title. Referee Hugh Dallas, who sent off three players (2 Celtic, 1 Rangers) and awarded a penalty to the Gers, was hit by a coin from the stands and needed treatment to a head wound. He was also confronted by pitch invaders on multiple occasions. It was later rumoured by some that Dallas was a Rangers fan.
The rivalry has diminished in recent years after Rangers were liquidated in 2012, before reforming and being demoted to the Scottish fourth tier as punishment for a long period of financial irregularities, principally not paying their taxes. They have only met once since their relegation, Celtic comfortably winning a cup tie 2-0. However, with Rangers on course to make their way back to the top division at the end of the season, this age old sectarian rivalry is set to be renewed once again.