Laliga derbies are action packed matches that give football fans great excitements that worth every bit of time and star studded like El-Clasico.
Though the most watched LaLiga match among football fans in Nigeria is undoubtedly Barcelona vs Real Madrid fixtures, obviously because of the quality of play of the teams and the parade of star players.
According to the Managing Director LaLiga Nigeria, Javier Del Rio from the creation of the Spanish Men’s league in 1902, the biggest football matches which have continued to attract awe and global momentum in the professional league are centered on the five derbies in the league.
Speaking with sports writers in Lagos, Javier Del Rio explained that football fans far and wide follow the Laliga derbies religious and with delight emotions because of its glamour, excitements, passion, culture, and history.
“We found that many Nigeria football fans only know about the El Clasico as a big game in LaLiga, and El Clasico is not even a Derby,”. Javier Del Rio told the Nigerian sports writers at La Liga Derbies close-up meet recently held in Lagos.”
LaLiga derbies are more than just football; they are about tradition, history, and culture. They are some of the most exciting matches in the world. LaLiga derbies are also some the most fiercely contested rivalries in World football,” he explained.
The aim of the forum said Javier Del Rio was to raise awareness for each of the Derbies being played in LaLiga during the 2nd half of the season; namely the Madrid Derbi between Real Madrid CF and Atletico de Madrid; the El Gran Derbi between Sevilla FC and Real Betis; the Valencian Derbi between Valencia CF and Levante UD; the Basque Derbi between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao; and the Catalan Derbibetween FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol.
“As LaLiga continues to build its brand’s presence Nigerians are becoming more and more familiar with the league, its various big games, and most of all its Derbies, which are highly passionate.
“We do this along with supporting the growth of grassroots football in Nigeria, LaLiga is committed to inspiring new fans of the beautiful game, introducing them to the Spanish league and the best in world football while expanding their worldviews,” Javier Del Rio said.
Brief History on LaLiga Derbies Below
THE MADRID DERBY: REAL MADRID VS ATLETICO DE MADRID
The Madrid derby between the city’s two biggest teams – Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – is a more than century-long story of friends, neighbours, and most of all, rivals.
Although the city of Madrid currently boasts five LaLiga teams, as Getafe, Leganes and Rayo Vallecano all have gained promotion in recent seasons, Real versus Atleti is the big one for many natives of the city, known as madrileños. The derby is now the most played game in Spanish football history, and among world football’s most celebrated fixtures.
After Real Madrid were officially established in 1902, and then Atletico the following year, the two sides faced off in various friendlies and unofficial meetings before the first recorded official meeting in the Campeonato Regional Centro, a 1-1 draw on 2 December 1906.
“El GRAN DERBI”: SEVILLA FC VS REAL BETIS
Sevilla, the Andalusian capital, is home to one of Spanish football’s most colourful derby meetings, between the city’s two LaLiga sides, Sevilla FC and Real Betis. It’s such a big game that it’s become known as ‘El Gran Derbi’… “The Big Derby.”
Both among LaLiga’s most historic clubs, and both previous Primera Division title winners, the Seville derby rivalry is one which has divided allegiances and even families within the city for over a century.
A strong British influence existed when organised football was first played in Seville back in the last decade of the 19th century. The first club in Seville was created in 1890, while today’s Sevilla FC were founded in October 1904. Real Betis Balompie came into being just three years later.
After many official and unofficial early meetings in competitions as diverse as the Copa de Sevilla, Copa del Duque de Santo Mauro, Andalusian championship and Southern Regional Championship, the two clubs were founder members of LaLiga’s second tier, with Betis winning both 1928/29 meetings, 3-0 away and 2-1 at home.
THE VALENCIA DERBY: VALENCIA CF VS LEVANTE UD
The Valencia city derby between Valencia CF and Levante UD has grown in recent years into one of Spanish football’s keenest local rivalries.
Also known as the ‘derbi del Turia’ for the river which runs through the centre of Spain’s third-biggest city, the fixture has really picked up steam in recent decades as Levante have established themselves in LaLiga Santander, with all the clashes and controversies that brings.
‘Los Granotas’ [the frogs] actually pre-date their local rivals by a decade, with Levante Futbol Club playing its first game in 1909, while based in the seaside El Cabanyal district of the city. Valencia Club de Futbol then arrived in 1919, closer to the centre at Mestalla, with the first ‘official’ derby being played the following year in the Valencian Regional Championship.
When LaLiga began in 1928/29, Valencia began in the second tier, earning promotion to the top flight within just three seasons.
THE BASQUE DERBY: ATHLETIC CLUB VS REAL SOCIEDAD
LaLiga’s Basque Derby is a unique fixture in world football, with the rivalry between Bilbao’s Athletic Club and San Sebastian-based Real Sociedad going way past just football.
The historic enmity between the Basque country’s two biggest cities, industrial Bilbao and aristocratic San Sebastian, found a sporting outlet when football arrived in the early 20th century.
Athletic Club, using the English spelling, was founded in 1898 by Bilbao-born engineering students who had studied in the United Kingdom. San Sebastian’s Real Sociedad de Futbol [Royal Society of Football] was soon established 100 kilometres along the coast in 1909, with the official seal of Spain’s King Alfonso XIII.
Exhibition and friendly games between the clubs immediately began, with the beginning of the Basque Regional League in 1913 bringing official status.
THE CATALAN DERBY: FC BARCELONA VS RCD ESPANYOL
The rivalry between the two clubs dates right back to the beginnings of organised football in the city, three decades before the establishment of LaLiga. There have also been Catalan derbies (also known locally as the ‘derbi barcelonés’) through the years in the Copa Del Rey, Spanish Supercopa, Copa Catalonia and the now defunct Fairs Cup. While 25-time LaLiga winners Barcelona have often come out on top, Espanyol are always eager to upset their historically more successful neighbours.
The two clubs had similar but ultimately different origins at the turn of the 20th century. Barcelona were established by Swiss student Hans Gamper in November 1899, with many of the founder members coming from the city’s cosmopolitan ex-pat community. Espanyol were set up the following October, with locally-bon engineering student Angel Rodriguez Ruiz as president and the team drawn mostly from migrant workers from other Spanish regions such as Andalucía, Extremadura, Galicia and even Madrid.