On Sunday, two of the most renowned games in Serie A soccer will be played. The final matchday before the international break will feature the Derby della Capitale between AS Roma and Lazio and the Derby d’Italia between Inter and Juventus (remember, you can watch Serie A action all season long, only on Paramount+). This is an ideal opportunity to rank the top ten Italian rivalries of all time. Italian soccer is full with bitter rivalries and fascinating anecdotes about some of the most famous battles that often occur each season. Let’s travel the nation to see which games made the cut.
10. Fiorentina vs. Juventus
This rivalry intensified during the 1990s after Roberto Baggio, a former Fiorentina player, joined the Bianconeri in the summer of 1990. One of the most adored players at the team, the Italian soccer legend’s transfer to Juventus heightened the rivalry between the two teams. Back then, Baggio’s transfer caused a significant scandal, but other Fiorentina players have since joined Juventus, including Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa, and most recently Dusan Vlahovic.
9. Inter vs. Napoli
The rivalry between Inter and Napoli dates back to the 1980s, when Diego Maradona was a Serie A player and the two teams were regarded as two of the finest and competing for the Scudetto. The historical hostilities between the North and the South of the country, however, have given rise to a history between the two fan bases. While Napoli, the most populous city in the south, is usually viewed as the major rival to the northern cities, particularly Milan, Inter are from Milan and embrace the money and power of the North. After a Nerazzurri fan was assassinated by a Napoli ultra in 2018, there have been several significant fights between the ultras of Inter and Napoli in recent years that have less to do with this history and more to do with ultras rivalry. As a result of this incident, Naples-area Napoli supporters are still prohibited from going to away games, including the one on January 6 of this year.
8. Genoa vs. Sampdoria
Genoa vs. Sampdoria is one of the most famous Italian city derbies, and it is also known as Derby della Lanterna because the lighthouse is one of the city’s symbols. Since the two clubs are from the same city, the rivalry doesn’t require much justification, and it has by far the finest atmosphere you can find in Italy. Unfortunately, this match will not be played this season because the two teams compete in different levels. Genoa is now playing in Serie B after being demoted last season, and there is a good likelihood that Sampdoria will not be playing next season either the Serie A, while their local rivals are in a strong position to gain promotion back to the top flight.
7. Atalanta vs. Brescia
One of the most severe rivalries between fanbases is the one between Atalanta and Brescia. The two cities, Bergamo and Brescia, have a long history of hostility outside of soccer, but as is customary, rivalries can be strengthened in or hurt by sports. When Atalanta supporters invaded the field and began fighting with the home supporters there in 1993, the tense situation worsened. Another incident occurred in 2001 when former Brescia coach Carlo Mazzone made headlines for running into the Atalanta supporters during the Brescia-Atalanta derby. After they humiliated him during the entire game, Mazzone “promised” the opposing supporters that if Brescia managed to equalize, he would have jogged under their away section (they were down 3-1 at halftime). Roberto Baggio scored two goals for Brescia, and Mazzone stuck to his word.
6. Palermo vs. Catania
The Sicilian derby is one of the most legendary matches in Italian soccer. The rivalry between the two clubs, which also represent the two largest cities in the area, intensified during various violent incidents between the two fan bases in the 1980s. The game is regrettably also remembered for the death of policeman Filippo Raciti in 2007 during skirmishes between the Catania ultras group and the police. Following this incident, the entire Serie A competition was suspended for a week, and Catania were prohibited from playing in their home stadium for the remainder of the campaign.
5. Inter vs. AC Milan
With the Derby della Madonnina, one of the most recognizable matches in Italian soccer, let’s begin the top five rivalries. Despite the fact that this is the most anticipated Serie A match of the year, the animosity between the fans is somewhat distinct from other rivalries. Both Inter and AC Milan are used to winning trophies and they’ve shared the grandest stage for their whole history so far, with only a few exceptions. Because of this, their rivalry is much more centered on the playing field and is mostly about winning trophies, as it was this past season when the Rossoneri defeated their city rivals on the final matchday of the season to win the Scudetto. The two most powerful ultras factions of the two teams also promised to refrain from any acts of violence against one another beginning in 1983. Before the 1980s and 1990s, when the safety of the games began to become a major concern for the ultras groups around Europe, not just in Italy, this undoubtedly contributed to the atmosphere calming down.
4. Napoli vs. AS Roma
The two fanbases of these two teams were once friendly, but that relationship grew into one of the fiercest rivalries in Italian soccer. Because to the positive fan interactions throughout the 1970s and 1980s, this game was known as the Derby of the Sun. But, after a heated game in 1987, everything changed. The hostility intensified, primarily amongst the spectators outside the field, until Ciro Esposito, a Napoli ultra, was shot and killed by Daniele De Santis, a Roma ultra, just before the 2014 Coppa Italia final. The event resulted in a protracted delay and negotiation between the police and the Napoli ultras group, which was led by a person wearing a t-shirt in support of the Catania’s ultra who murdered the policeman Filippo Raciti in 2007. Following violent altercations between AS Roma and Napoli supporters on Italy’s A1 road in January of this year, 180 persons were subsequently named. As a result of this incident, the Italian government imposed a two-month ban on both fan bases traveling to away matches.
3. Napoli vs. Juventus
The stories and motives behind this rivalry are many. First of all, like the rivalry between Napoli and Inter, that between Juventus and Napoli is worsened by the histories of the two cities. Juventus represents the ideals of northern Italy, and Napoli represents those values. When Napoli began to challenge for the championship in recent years, it has grown even stronger. For example, in 2018, the Azzurri gained 91 points, but it was not enough to defeat Juventus, despite winning the crucial game in Turin courtesy to a goal by Kalidou Koulibaly. In addition, Juventus’ acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain in the summer of 2016 after the Bianconeri met the striker’s 90 million release clause became one of the emblems of this rivalry.
2. Inter vs. Juventus
The Derby d’Italia, one of the most significant matches in Italian soccer, is about to take place. The history of the Serie A is littered with amazing matches between Inter and Juventus. When both teams were vying for the title in the 1990s, the rivalry peaked. Specifically, during the 1997–98 season, Ronaldo (the original, not the Cristiano version who would eventually play for Juventus) was denied a penalty for Inter at a crucial moment, sparking a major uproar among Inter supporters. Then, in 2002, the Bianconeri won the championship after Inter lost the Scudetto on the final matchday after losing away to Lazio. In 2006, the conflict grew even more intense. Juventus was relegated to Serie B the following season as a result of their involvement in the major referee scandal known as Calciopoli. Inter won the 2005–06 title in the meantime, but Juventus supporters still claim it as their own, at least unofficially. The rivalry was revived more recently when Antonio Conte joined Inter, a decade-long period of supremacy having begun after the former Juventus captain had brought the Bianconeri back to the top of Serie A. In actuality, it persisted until Conte put an end to it while leading Inter.
1. AS Roma vs. Lazio
The Italian soccer rivalry that is by far the most ferocious. Fans of AS Roma and Lazio live for this match, and the city literally comes to a complete stop when it is taking place. There is a proverb that states, “In Milan you talk about the Derby for a week, in Rome for a year.” regarding the Derby della Capitale. And this is completely accurate. Over the years, there were, nevertheless, some very serious instances of violence between the two clubs’ ultras factions. The most prominent occurred in 1979 when Vincenzo Paparelli, a supporter of Lazio, was slain. Two nautical flares were fired by Roma supporters in the Curva Sud in the direction of the Lazio supporters at the other end. Both failed to reach their planned goals. The third ball went straight towards Paparelli’s left eye while traveling the length of the field. In 2004, the Derby della Capitale was postponed as a result of demands made by the fan bases of both Roma and Lazio in response to the news that a kid had been killed by a police car just before the game. Although it was later discovered that this was untrue, the two ultra groups nonetheless forced the game’s suspension and engaged in altercations outside the stadium.