lunedì 21 maggio 2012

Olympiakos v Panathinaikos, the eternal rivalry

Sports tell us many entertaining stories. They tell us about fierce rivalries between teams of the same country, the same region and even the same city. Football in particular is renowned for its involving derbies in different parts of the globe. You have Chivas Guadalajara-Club América in Mexico, or Boca Juniors-River Plate in Argentina, or Lazio-Rome in Italy, or Barcelona-Real Madrid in Spain. Perhaps, two areas gain most of the attention for their passionate and, sometimes, violent clashes; one is Latin America, the other is the Balkans.

Looking at Eastern Europe, the Athens giants Olympiakos and Panathinaikos provide one of the most popular derbies. Not only are they the clubs with the highest number of victories in the national league, they are also the two sides with the highest number of fans in the country. But the rivalry between them is more than just a footballing one.

Similarly to other countries in Eastern Europe, some Greek football teams are just part of bigger all-sports clubs. This is the case of both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, the most popular names in football as well as in basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo and other sports. Tonight the first match of the national basketball league playoff finals will be played, but the clash was preceeded by notable acts of violence. Read here for discovering more, and also here and here if you can read Italian.

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