By 90Min
April 01, 2018

Rivalries in football are common place. Over the course of footballing history, we've witnessed some of the greatest players in the world go to battle as they seek to assert their dominance at the top of the game.

Whilst most rivalries are taken in the spirit of competition, things occasionally spiral out of control as ongoing feuds begin to take shape. Here, we analyse seven pairs of rivals, who put their differences aside for the greater good.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Wayne Rooney


In one of the more memorable clashes on the international stage, Manchester United teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney locked horns as Portugal took on England in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup in Gelsenkirchen.

Just past the hour mark, Rooney was involved in an altercation with Portuguese star Ricardo Carvalho. The end result of the squabble saw the England striker stamp on the Chelsea defender, prompting Ronaldo to plead with the referee to send Rooney off.

The referee duly obliged, with Ronaldo subsequently caught on camera winking to the substitutes bench in an apparent celebration of Rooney's dismissal. The furore was intense in the British press in the subsequent months, though the two players would put any animosity to one side as they claimed three successive Premier League crowns.

Craig Bellamy & John Arne Riise

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One curious case of teammates falling out came back in 2007, when Liverpool duo Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise clashed in a row over karaoke singing.

The pair were in Portugal for a training camp as the Reds began preparations for their upcoming Champions League tie with Barcelona. Having been allowed a night to themselves by manager Rafa Benitez, Liverpool's players decided to indulge in a spot of bonding.

Things would go pear shaped though, as Riise refused Bellamy's repeated requests to get up on stage. The Welshman's response was to strike his colleague with a golf club upon their return to the team hotel, in a moment Bellamy later described as "pathetic" and "stupidity of the highest level".

The pair would resolve their differences for the remainder of the season, though Bellamy would be moved on the following summer to West Ham.

Teddy Sheringham & Andy Cole

Image by Toby Cudworth

It was a case of trouble in paradise between former Manchester United and England teammates Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as an apparent substitution snub created one of the most talked about rifts in modern times.

Coming on to replace Sheringham for his international debut, Cole was disgruntled when the Tottenham Hotspur star brushed past him as he trudged off the pitch just past the hour mark.

Sheringham would move to Old Trafford two years later, with Cole later revealing he was devastated when he learnt of his impending arrival at United. The pair would go on to forge a successful working relationship, though they would never utter a word to each other throughout their time at the club.

Gerard Pique & Alvaro Arbeloa


Another long running feud that was put to one side for the greater good was between Spanish international teammates Gerard Pique and Alvaro Arbeloa.

Domestically, the pair played for great rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, with comments from Pique mocking Los Blancos' expulsion from the Copa Del Rey believed to be a source of annoyance for Arbeloa.

The two have clashed multiple times on both the pitch and online, with Pique once quoted as saying he doesn't consider Arbeloa a friend, nor a teammate. The two however did lift the World Cup and European Championships (twice) together, showing their professionalism in putting their differences firmly to one side.

Alexis Sanchez & Marcos Rojo

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A difficult relationship that has required some TLC in the past couple of months is that of Manchester United duo Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo.

The two have been great adversaries over the years during international clashes between Chile and Argentina, with Rojo revealing that they haven't had a good relationship due to their repeated attempts at kicking one another.

When Alexis signed for Manchester United in January, Rojo admitted that his initial reaction to his signing was “oh, f****** hell no.” The pair are currently working on becoming a more cohesive unit, with United keen to bed in their new signing after his indifferent start to life at Old Trafford.

Pep Guardiola & José Mourinho

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Rivalries within football are not exclusive to just the players, as demonstrated by managerial adversaries Pep Guardiola & José Mourinho.

The duo now manage arch enemies Manchester City and Manchester United, though their personal rivalry has transformed into mutual respect following a turbulent spell together in Spain a few years back.

The pair had some infamous clashes on the touchline during their spells at Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, with the two directly involved in an incident that led to a mass brawl back in 2011. Since they arrived in Manchester however, things have cooled off, with Mourinho stating last year that the feud between the pair is most definitely over.

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo


Being the most expensive player in the world comes with intense pressure, as Gareth Bale found out when he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £85m in 2013.

The Welshman had surpassed the £80m fee paid for teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, with the spotlight in Madrid firmly switching across to Real's latest Galactico. That was perhaps a factor in the rocky start to the relationship between the pair, as Bale & Ronaldo vied to be top dog in the Spanish capital.

Cracks in their relationship first surfaced when Ronaldo visibly began to show his frustration at Bale's resistance to pass to him at times, with the Welshman instead opting to go directly for goal.

Despite showing solidarity on the pitch, matters were complicated when Bale's agent dropped an inadvertent clanger on local radio, stating the pair didn't get along. Bale was forced into a humiliating apology, with the pair both suggesting subsequently that they are on good terms.

There can be little denying that their on-field chemistry though, with three Champions League successes in the last four years testament to their abilities on the pitch.

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