Within any sport, every team has their very own unique rivalry, whether it is one throughout history or something that has developed recently, yet, rivalries are what make the sport exciting. You have the big three in Istanbul Besiktas vs Fenerbahce, Besiktas v Galatasaray and Fenerbahce v Galatasaray, the Yankees v Red Sox in baseball, Ravens V Steelers in the NFL and Celtics V Lakers in NBA. That said football has some of the fiercest rivalries on the planet and before we can decide whether or not Istanbul is home to the greatest footballing rivalry, we need to look at the other rivalries out there and compare it to them :
Arsenal v Tottenham
One of the biggest rivalries in football, the north London derby started in 1913 when the Gunners moved locations from Plumestead to Highbury. This fixture tends to be a ferocious encounter and both sides take this derby very seriously and each match has the atmosphere of a cup final. So far the rivalry has been largely onside with Arsenal taking most of the wins and having more success in the league and cup competitions than their north London rivals.
Inter Milan v AC Milan
Since 1908 this has been one of the biggest rivalries not only in Italy, but it is recognised across the globe. The Derby della Madonnina sees Milanese rivals Inter and Milan batter it out at least twice a year. What make these derby so intense is that they both use the same stadium (San Siro), making it more exciting.
Manchester United v Liverpool
Arguably the grittiest rivalry in British football, the clash between United and Liverpool is one between two of the most successful clubs in English history. This is why they get very heated and competitive each time they play. The clubs share over 120 titles and the two cities are just 35 minutes apart from each other, who both a share a massive passion for football and this can be evident when they play each other.
Lazio v AS Roma
So they may not be the biggest Italian clubs in the league, but their rivalry is one of the fiercest, the fight for Rome in the ‘Derby Della Capitale’ is arguably one of the world’s best. Due to the lack of success in both clubs is what drove their hatred for one another, the games were about control of a city and is said to be the fiercest rivalry in the country.
And now that leads us to the Istanbul rivalry…
Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce
Now you have seen some of the fiercest rivals the footballing world has to offer and my opinion is that there’s no country who has a better rivalry than each other because it’s what it represents, however the Istanbul rivalry is up there in the fiercest one’s going. Turkey’s most successful teams represent two parts of Istanbul. Galatasaray edge towards the European part while Fenerbahce represent the Asian portion of the city and its one of the most dynamic rivalries going, the reason for this is because you witness two different cultures come together causing havoc after 100 years of playing each other. When the two teams come together the city becomes electric being separated by two colours making one of the craziest and engaging derbies going that will make you need hair transplant in Istanbul because the stress is too much for you.