Rivalries are a natural by-product of the competitive nature of the beautiful game. Whether it’s two teams with stadia in the same city or two teams who have perennially battled it out for domestic league titles; whether it’s two players with similar styles of play or two players who have repeatedly battled it out for individual accolades, football is never devoid of it.
Over the years, great players have gone head-to-head with one another and in this article, we take a closer look at the greatest player rivalries in the history of football:
- Steven Gerrard vs Frank Lampard:
This rivalry, borne out of circumstances beyond the two players’ control, lasted for about a decade and a half, and why not? Because of their similar playing styles – box-to-box midfielders, energetic, fantastic passing and shooting talents, natural leaders – and the fact that they both played for the same national team, it was only natural that they became rivals, even if just in the eyes of the media and fans.
They met multiple times in Liverpool-Chelsea matches, and it’s been said that England’s managers’ inability to pair them without drastically altering the team’s dynamics led to the country’s failings in the 2000s.
- Mauro Icardi vs Maxi Lopez:
At Sampdoria, the Argentines became teammates and formed a connection as Lopez assisted Icardi in settling down at the Italian club.
The story did, however, have a twist. At the time, Maxi Lopez was married to Argentine model Wanda Nara, whom he divorced in 2013 when suspicions of an affair with Mauro Icardi surfaced. Icardi denied the charges, but six months after her divorce from Lopez, he married Wanda.
When Mauro Icardi joined Inter Milan in 2013, Lopez declined to shake his hand when Inter played Sampdoria in April 2014. The media dubbed the encounter the “”Wanda derby.””
- John Terry vs Wayne Bridge:
According to rumors released in January 2010, England captain John Terry had a four-month affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel the previous year. It was revealed that this affair began shortly after Wayne Bridge and Perroncel ended their relationship.
Although the pair met in a Premier League match in February 2010, Bridge declined to shake Terry’s hand before the game, the so-called rivalry between Terry and Bridge received more attention in the tabloid press than on the football field.
For Terry, the impact was more significant as he was temporarily stripped of his England captaincy once the news leaked.
- Patrick Vieira vs Roy Keane:
Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira were well-known for their strong personalities in one of the Premier League’s biggest midfield rivalries.
The most notable altercation between the two occurred in the Highbury tunnel before the 2005 match, as the players were lined up. The episode was perfectly captured on camera, with Keane and Vieira yelling at one other and referee Graham Poll trying to keep Keane in check while Arsenal players hauled Vieira away.
1.Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo:
This is the greatest rivalry football has ever seen and the nature of the rivalry is such that a special article is dedicated to it. Come back in a week’s time for it!