Competition in football is healthy. Rivalries, however, are another matter altogether. As the decade draws to a close, here is a look at the top five footballing rivalries of the decade.
Two of the most decorated clubs across Europe - Barcelona and Real Madrid - have been at loggerheads since the 1940s. This decade, however, saw a number of turns in the Barcelona vs Real Madrid rivalry. While Real Madrid broke the bank multiple times this decade, starting with the transfer of Gareth Bale, Barcelona also came to the financial fore with moves for Neymar and Antoine Griezmann. In Carlo Ancelotti's first year in charge, Real Madrid secured the 'La Decima'. It was their 10th European Cup/Champions League title. Barcelona, meanwhile, won seven LaLiga titles this decade. They also won two Champions League trophies and five Copa Del Rey victories. However, Real Madrid pipped their El Clasico rivals in Champions League. They won four Champions League trophies in this decade.
Borussia Dortmund were reinvigorated by the arrival of Jurgen Klopp from Mainz. The charismatic German established his 'gegenpressing' style of football at Dortmund to overthrow Bayern's dominance in the Bundesliga early on. Dortmund secured two Bundesliga titles in this decade, both under Jurgen Klopp. Bayern, having poached the likes of Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund, romped to eight Bundesliga titles this decade to reassert their dominance in the league. In Europe, however, both sides failed to make headway in this decade. Bayern secured a sole Champions League trophy in the 2012-13 season.
Sir Alex Ferguson finally called time on his 26-year Man United career in 2013. He delivered the Premier League title in his final season with the club. The season after Ferguson's retirement, Man City pulled out the rug from under their cross-city rivals. Man City secured their first Premier League title in 2012, courtesy of Sergio Aguero's infamous winner against Queens Park Rangers. Man City also secured the Premier League in 2013-14, 2017-18 and 2018-19. Manchester United, on the other hand, could only manage one Premier League title apart from Sir Alex Ferguson's managerial swansong.
With Chelsea fizzling out after mounting a brief challenge to Manchester City's crown and Leicester City also failing to repeat their 2015-16 heroics, it was left to Liverpool to give Man City a run for their money. Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool took some time to get going, but Brendan Rodgers' near-miss 2013-14 campaign also pushed Man City all the way. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, however, were a whole new deal. The Reds racked up 97 points in 2018-19, with Man City only pipping them by a single point. The season before, Man City ended up with 100 points. Jurgen Klopp's side got the better of Pep Guardiola's Man City on multiple occasions, with Liverpool also securing the Champions League this decade.
“I went in with a gameplan: that I didn’t want Tottenham Hotspur blaming Mark Clattenburg that they were losing the title. There should have been three red cards to Tottenham."— Standard Sport (@standardsport) December 4, 2017
Clattenburg has some remarkable comments on the Battle of Stamford Bridge https://t.co/fKUAsgWMqt
One of the infamous London derbies, Chelsea vs Tottenham has often provided entertainment for the masses. The 'Battle of Stamford Bridge' in 2016 will go down as one of the most ill-tempered games between the two sides. Tottenham needed a win at Stamford Bridge to keep up with Leicester City. However, goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard meant that the two sides shared the spoils. Leicester City ultimately secured their first-ever Premier League title at Tottenham's expense. The 2015-16 season was arguably the closest Tottenham had come to winning the Premier League. This decade, Spurs have finished trophyless. Chelsea have secured three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one Champions League and two Europa Leagues.