Top 10 Biggest Rivalries In Sports


Sports players put it all on the line for the love of the game. They practice honing their skills so that – when they face off against their opponents – they bring it. It’s as

emotional for players as for the fans, which brings about a certain type of unparalleled rivalry. It may be a rivalry between teams or between players. Here’re the top 10 biggest rivalries in sports.


10. Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This massive sports rivalry dates back to the 1959 NBA Finals. It’s spurred player rivalries including Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird, but it doesn’t stop there. These are the two powerhouse teams in the NBA who’ve met up on the court in 33 championships with the Celtics winning 17 championships and the Lakers 16. nearly half of the total 69 championships in the league’s history. During their 354 times playing, the Celtics have won 197 games edging out the Lakers with 157. 

9. Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

If you want to watch opponents battle on the football field catch a Steelers vs. Ravens game. You’ll witness ferocious hits, name-calling and other examples of what makes this one of the biggest rivalries in sports. Steelers brag about having the most victories, 24 against the 17 times that the Ravens won. That’s not the only boast for the Steelers, who have won six Super Bowls compared to two for the Ravens. 

8. Celtic vs. Rangers

Celtic vs. Rangers Top 10 Biggest Rivalries In Sports

Glasgow association football clubs Celtic and Rangers, referred to as the Old Firm, remain the most successful teams in Scotland. The Rangers have captured 54 Scottish League championships compared to the Celtic’s 46. One of the teams has won the Scottish League championship consistently since the 1985-86 season. It’s a rivalry infused by politics, the Catholic-Labour Celtic and the Protestant-Conservative Rangers in a feud spurred not by Scottish but by Northern Irish politics. Add on that Celtic supporters are often Irish-Scots while Rangers’ fans are mostly native and ulster Scots. That all combines to make it one of the biggest rivalries in sports worldwide. 

7. Boca Juniors vs. River Plate

Boca Juniors vs. River Plate

Buenos Aires’ Superclasico features rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate. The two teams have battled it out for more than a century with the Boca Juniors in the lead with 127 wins since 1905. Much of the world’s footballing talent comes out of these matches, which boosted the career of players like Carlos Tevez and Radamel Falcao. It’s not just a battle of skill but one of class, with the Boca Juniors representing the working class and the River Plate drawing a more affluent fan. 

6. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

One of the most recent bitter rivalries in boxing have been between these players. Pacquiao, a national history to Filipinos who refer to him as “the Pacman,” is known for his fierce punches while Marquez has his share of counter-punches. Their first match was declared a tie, and the second and third went to Pacquiao. Marquez, who didn’t think the contests were fair, got his victory in the fourth match in 2012 when he knocked the Pacman out. Is the rivalry over? Marquez, who had left fighting, said it was. But if he returns as anticipated? Only time will tell. 

5. San Francisco Giants vs. L.A. Dodgers

San Francisco Giants vs. L.A. Dodgers Top 10 Biggest Rivalries In Sports

This sports rivalry’s crossed a nation. It started out as an inner-city battle between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. It moved west when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the Giants relocated to San Francisco. The intensity of the rivalry continues as the teams have battled more than 2,400 times since 1890, the Giants ahead with 1,210 wins, eight World Series wins and 23 pennants against the Dodgers’ 1,184 wins, six World Series wins and 21 pennants. 

4. Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple

The National Hockey League rivalry between Canada’s two largest cities remains heated. It’s the oldest NHL rivalry, going back to 1917, and one of the biggest rivalries in sports. They’ve competed 790 times with Montreal winning 383 times, losing 313 times and tied 88 times. When it comes to the Stanley Cup finals, the Leafs have come out the victors four of six times. It’s not just a rivalry on the ice but also one between English and French-speaking Canadians. 

3. Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo Big Rivalries

Argentine association football forward Lionel Messi and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo are both considered among the best footballers around. They’ve both scored more than 50 goals in a single season, scored more than 400 goals in their careers, and scored in two UEFA Champions League finals. Their all-time stats through the 2015-2016 season include 531 goals for Ronaldo and 498 goals for Messi. While the media play up their supposed rivalry, neither player discusses it much. 

2. India vs. Pakistan

India vs. Pakistan

The dispute between neighboring countries India and Pakistan extend onto the playing field when their cricket teams play. It’s one of the most heated and biggest rivalries in sports, at times, attracting up to a billion viewers. Pakistan has won 12 of 59 test matches while India won 9 and 38 ended up in either a draw, tie, or no result. India takes a solid lead when it comes to world level tournament wins. 

1. Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

This most famed sports rivalry is legendary, dating back to 1919 when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees to raise money for a Broadway musical. That would be the end of success for Boston for 86 years while the Yankees won 26 World Series championships. That ended when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in 2004 and went on to win the World Series. During their more than 2,000 times playing each other, the Yankees edge into first winning 54 percent of the time. Off the field the rivalry’s led to violence and even political battles when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced his support for the Red Sox during his 2007 presidential run.

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