Sports Greatest Rivalries

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Sports Greatest Rivalries

A sports rivalry is intense competition between athletic teams or athletes. This pressure of competition is felt by players, coaches, and management, but is perhaps felt strongest by the fans. The intensity of the rivalry varies from a friendly competition on one end to serious violence on the other that, in one case (the Football War), was suggested to have led to military conflict. Team owners typically encourage rivalries as they tend to improve game attendance and television ratings for rivalry matches, but a rivalry that gets out of control can lead to fighting, hooliganism, rioting and some, with career ending or worse, fatal consequences. Often the topic of sports rivalries is as heated and controversial as politics and religion.

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Sports Greatest Rivalries
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Roger Federer VS Rafael Nadal (Tennis)

This is a special one because it is a rivalry we can witness with our own eyes. Both tennis players are at the peak of their tennis lives. You could argue that either is the greatest of all time, and they are far from retired. It seems that the tennis world flip-flops every year. One year it is Nadal to rule the world, the next it is the year of Roger Federer. The back-and-forth is melodic and enticing.

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Roger Federer VS Rafael Nadal (Tennis)
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Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras (Tennis)

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were the best in tennis during the '90s. Sampras was ranked No. 1 for 286 weeks while his foil held the spot for 101 weeks. The two met 34 times with Sampras taking 20 of those matches. The rivalry was much tighter than that in the early '90s. When the two met at the U.S. Open in 1995, their head-to-head score was 8-8. After Agassi lost the final to Sampras, he was never the same in his matches against Pete. Sampras was the bigger success after that fateful tournament. In pic Sampras (L) and Agassi (R)

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Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras (Tennis)
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Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles (Tennis)

One of the greatest rivalries of the women's circuit was undoubtedly the acrimonious relationship between the Queen of the Courts, Germany's Steffi Graf and the young , power-hungry 'grunter' from Yugoslavia, Monica Seles. It was a rivalry that would dominate tennis throughout most of the late 1980's and 90's and had it not been for an over eager Graf fan trying to tip the scales in his heroines favour by stabbing Seles on-court, the rivalry would have lasted a whole lot longer and with far more intensity. In pic Monica Seles (L) and Steffi (R)

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Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles (Tennis)
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Damon Hill vs Michael Schumacher (F1 Race)

Though Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill were not rivals for a long time, their rivalry was notable. In 1994, Schumacher snatched the Championship title from Hill by a single point. In the same year, the two had some controversies with one of them being during the British Grand Prix where Schumacher was disqualified for overtaking Hill during a formation lap. The German driver was disqualified from several more races of which most of them were won by Hill. The two eventually crashed into each other in the final race of the season in Australia after which Schumacher got the title. There were many speculations that Schumacher had deliberately crashed into Hill. In pic (Schumacher(L) and Damon (R))

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Damon Hill vs Michael Schumacher (F1 Race)
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Valentino Rossi vs Max Biaggi (MotoGP)

Early in his career Vale Max Biaggi considered the worst enemy of Rossi. Some time on the website Rossi was not even named Max, in his place sparkled inscription "XXX XXXXXX". Despite the fact that they did not even chase together until 2000, the feud between the two riders had already started since the mid 90's. Rossi has always considered himself a better rider than Biaggi and the Roman has always considered himself more worthy of the title of Crown Prince. The rivalry has become quieter in recent years, when the Vale began to win consecutive championships, while Biaggi problems with sponsors and the level of results displayed. It seemed that Max returned to its highest rate since the Honda in 2005, but in 2006 he left the team and within a year was not involved with the racing MotoGP. In pic (Biaggi (L) and Valentino (R))

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Valentino Rossi vs Max Biaggi (MotoGP)
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McLaren vs Ferrari

Ferrari and McLaren have their own sour rivalry that dates back forty years. Rivalry in Formula One is traditionally fierce, there are such examples as Senna punching Eddie Irwine, Schumacher going after David Coulthard in the pits, Alonso and Hamilton, the list can go on and on, but there is no rivalry more intense than the rivalry between Ferrari and Mclaren.

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McLaren vs Ferrari
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Australian Kangaroos vs New Zealand Kiwis (Rugby)

Australia vs New Zealand in rugby league is a rivalry between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis in the sport of rugby league. The first match between the two sides was in 1908, with New Zealand running out 11â€"10 winners. In 2003 the New Zealand Rugby League recorded the Kiwis' 100th international against Australia. However the Australian Rugby League did not, as they exclude World Cup and Super League Tests from their records. The most recent clash was the opening match of the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations, Warrington, England on 28 October. Australia beat New Zealand 26-12. The two teams will next meet in the tournament's grand final on 19 November if, in fact, New Zealand qualify.

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Australian Kangaroos vs New Zealand Kiwis (Rugby)
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Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson (Golf)

For a while, Phil Mickelson would have been content to just meet the level Woods was playing at. Now the Tiger Woods funk continues into year two. Mickelson is by far the better golfer at the current time. That is something we never thought would happen. We can only assume that this rivalry will heat up once Woods finds his stroke again. The greatest golfer in the world doesn’t become mediocre overnight because of a scandal. But if he does, he was great while it lasted.

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Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson (Golf)
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India vs Pakistan (Cricket)

This is such a fierce battle that I had to ignore that it involves a sport I know little about. Each match draws millions of television viewers. The supporters are not just regular fans, but entire countries that use this matchup as a claim to superiority over the other nation. Essentially, each match is considered an extension of war. I don’t mean this in a light-hearted way. There are very real political ramifications involved.

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India vs Pakistan (Cricket)
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Australia vs England (Cricket)

The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia since 1882. It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and is currently played biennially, alternately in England and Australia. Cricket being a summer sport, and the venues being in opposite hemispheres, the break between series alternates between 18 and 30 months. A series of "The Ashes" comprises five Test matches, two innings per match, under the regular rules for Test match cricket. If a series is drawn then the country already holding the Ashes retains them.

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Australia vs England (Cricket)
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Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (Boxing)

Boxing transcends itself when there is a worthy rivalry to look to. There was none better than Ali vs. Frazier. After the title was split when Muhammad Ali was found dodging the draft, Joe Frazier won the title during an elimination of the top boxers at the time. All the while, Ali was sitting out in exile denouncing the title as a farce. Ali had his chance to prove that fact in 1971. But Frazier got the better of him and won in a landmark decision. Ali would go on to win the next two rematches. The last was the greatest fight in boxing history. Both fighters left it all on the mat in the Thrilla in Manila.

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Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (Boxing)
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Yankees vs. Red Sox (Baseball)

Two powerful entities that absolutely hate each other. But somewhere off in the distance of the subconscious is a little respect. Not much, but enough to keep your sanity when your team loses to the other. The Yankees and Red Sox have been embroiled in this one for over a century. From 1900 to 1918, the Red Sox were the class of baseball. They could do no wrong, until they did. The famous Curse of the Bambino loomed over Boston faithful from 1919 until 2004. Until the magical season of 2004, the Red Sox had to wait and watch banner after banner being unfurled in Yankee Stadium. This rivalry only gets better with age.

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Yankees vs. Red Sox (Baseball)
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Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Soccer)

La Liga is one of the top soccer leagues in the world. It so happens that these two clubs are the pinnacle of that league perennially. El Clasico is much more than two super clubs doing battle, though. Real Madrid has always been seen as an extension of Spanish nationalism, while Barcelona is seen to be the epitome of the Catalan region. The two are not just fighting for wins, but a unified national identity.

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Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (Soccer)
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Brazil vs. Argentina (Soccer)

When you mention soccer to any passerby with even a little knowledge of the sport, they will recall the countries of Argentina and Brazil as two of the best. The two are on a continued war to assert themselves as the best of South America. Brazil has the ultimate bragging rights as they have secured five World Cup titles to Argentina’s two. But in head-to-head matchups, Argentina edges out their Latin counterparts by a single victory.

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Brazil vs. Argentina (Soccer)
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