10 Football Rivalries to Match Froch vs. Groves

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

10 Football Rivalries to Match Froch vs. Groves

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    It's being billed as one of the biggest fights in British boxing history, and the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves certainly isn't letting the punters down in terms of hype.

    It's fair to say that the two super middleweight fighters do not see eye to eye, with some bad blood still emanating from their controversial first bout.

    The fight will take place on Saturday evening at the home of English football, Wembley Stadium. Therefore, it seems appropriate to compare this boxing rivalry to some equally bitter match-ups from the beautiful game... 

Pele vs. Maradona

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    They may have played happy families when they appeared together on Argentinean talk show La Noche del 10 in 2005, but Pele and Maradona have been at each other's throats for decades.

    The disagreement seems to stem from their respective claims of being the best player in football history. The Argentinean legend felt slighted when he won a FIFA Player of the Century vote in 2000, only to be forced to share his honour with the Brazilian.   

    Since then, the pair have frequently exchanged barbs, with Saint Diego apparently having the upper hand in the insult department. 

Wayne Bridge vs. John Terry

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    Former Chelsea teammates John Terry and Wayne Bridge became enemies in 2010, when it emerged that the former might have had an affair with the latter's ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel. 

    When Manchester City came to Stamford Bridge in February that year, the pre-match handshakes were much more anticipated than the actual game. 

Roy Keane vs. Patrick Vieira

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    The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United was anthropomorphised by their respective hot-headed midfielders, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, who frequently clashed on and off the field

    In last year's documentary Keane & Vieira - Best of Enemies, however, the pair appeared to kiss and make up as they dwelled upon their heated discord. 

Roy Keane vs. Alf-Inge Haaland

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    There's rarely a serene atmosphere at the Manchester derby, but the 2001 edition at Old Trafford was brought into disrepute when Roy Keane landed a disgraceful knee-high challenge on City's Alf-Inge Haaland. 

    Apparently acting out of revenge for a previous incident, Keane received an extended ban and fine when he admitted in his autobiography that the incident was premeditated: 

    I'd waited long enough. I f*****g hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c**t. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.

    Haaland claimed the injury finished his career, although he did finish the match and played a few games afterwards. 

Mauro Icardi vs. Maxi Lopez

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    Maxi Lopez and Mauro Icardi were thick as thieves when they played together at Sampdoria, but the relationship broke down when they became involved in an unwitting love triangle with Argentinean model Wanda Nara.

    Nara is Lopez's ex-wife—and mother of his three children—but she started dating the much younger Icradi, making the cuckold irate when they both posted social media pictures together featuring his kids. 

    Icardi moved to Internazionale, and the pair faced one another last month, staging a Terry-Bridge-esque handshake refusal. During the game, Icardi scored twice and Lopez missed a penalty—so the 21-year-old stole the girl and the headlines.

    On Thursday, The Daily Mail reported that Icardi and Nara were married in Argentina. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Pep Guardiola

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    During his time at Barcelona, Zlatan Ibrahimovic appeared to make a mortal enemy of manager Pep Guardiola, who apparently didn't recognise his brilliance enough to start him in every single game.

    The talismanic Swede trashes the Spaniard in his autobiography and has since given interviews where he labels him "a coward" with "no balls."  

    Thus far, Pep has been too terrified to respond. Well, wouldn't you be? 

Lee Bowyer vs. Kieron Dyer

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    One of the most famous teammate fights occurred in Newcastle's loss to Aston Villa in April 2005. While 3-0 down, serial brawler Lee Bowyer decided the best course of action would be to start a fistfight with Kieron Dyer

    The pair were sent off in disgrace, but Bowyer received the harsher punishment for starting the feud, earning an FA fine and a six-week wage deduction. 

Rudi Voeller vs. Frank Rijkaard

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    The Netherlands and Germany have a long and storied rivalry in the World Cup, which has its roots in political events, but this friction was personified in Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Voeller's battle at the 1990 World Cup.

    In their heated Round of 16 game, Rijkaard was enraged by a perceived Voeller dive and proceeded to spit in the German's bubble perm. The pair continued to bicker and were both sent off, but not before Rijkaard spat once again and twisted his rival's ear. 

Andy Cole vs. Teddy Sheringham

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole formed a deadly strike partnership at Manchester United for several seasons, but it was later revealed that the colleagues were not on speaking terms during that entire period.

    The Red Devils duo apparently fell out during a dressing room squabble in their first season together and did not speak to each other again. 

    In 2010, however, Cole told The Independent that the real reason he continues to despise Teddy is that he refused him a handshake when making his England debut. 

David Batty vs. Graeme Le Saux

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    Boxing fans are expecting a classic fistfight on a football field at the weekend, so let's finish with one.

    In the heady days after they won the Premier League title, Blackburn Rovers embarked upon a fruitless Champions League campaign.

    During the Lancashire club's 3-0 loss to Spartak Moscow in November 1995, David Batty and Graeme Le Saux brawled on the pitch.

    The incident was sparked by Batty's pre-match claims that Le Saux never passed to him. Both players walked away with red cards, while Le Saux also broke his hand swinging a left hook. 


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