Beautiful Game: Top 10 Biggest Grudges In Football History

Anyone who has read the first chapter of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s seminal autobiography I Am Zlatan will know that the Swedish striker hates Pep Guardiola - like, he really hates him.

Zlatan remains furious that Pep had the audacity not to play him for a full 90 minutes in several games, arguing that he was a proverbial Ferrari being driven like a Fiat.

In the build-up to Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League game with Barcelona—in which Zlatan and Pep will play no part—he once again reignited the feud.

“We had the best team in the world but we failed to win the Champions League because of bad decisions from someone,” he told French TV station Canal+ (translated by The Guardian), overtly referring to the Barcelona manager.
Jose Mourinho 

Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham
Andy (sorry, Andrew) Cole and Teddy Sheringham formed a formidable partnership at Manchester United in the late 1990s, but they didn’t actually breathe a word to one another.

According to an article Cole wrote for The Independent many years later, Sheringham snubbed him as he made his debut England appearance in 1995 by refusing to shake his hand as Cole came on as a substitute.

They haven’t spoken since.

Johan Cruyff and Louis Van Gaal
One of Holland’s greatest players of all time does not see eye to eye with one of the country’s greatest managers.

For decades, Louis Van Gaal and Johan Cruyff have shared a bitter feud, which Cruyff puts down to their “bad chemistry.” The spat can be traced back to when both were players at Ajax, with some suggesting Van Gaal was jealous of his counterpart’s fame.

Another theory is that the relationship was irreparably damaged in 1989 when Van Gaal left a Christmas party hosted by Cruyff without properly saying goodbye—even though he left because he was told his sister had died.

Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez
Patrice Evra fell out with Luis Suarez when he alleged that the Uruguayan racially abused him several times in a Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Liverpool in 2011.

Suarez was charged and refused to shake the Frenchman’s handshake in a subsequent meeting. They eventually shook hands before a 2012 match at Anfield, but Evra’s body language made it clear that they were not going to become friends any time soon.

Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira
Manchester United’s Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira clashed on the field plenty of times during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The famously hot-headed midfielders also fought in the tunnel before a big game (clip contains NSFW language).

Such was the intensity of their rivalry that the pair eventually featured in a documentary called Best of Enemies where they broke down their differences.

Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger
Since Jose Mourinho arrived in the Premier League in 2004, he seems to have taken great delight in antagonising his London rival Arsene Wenger.

In 2005, the self-appointed Special One called Wenger a “voyeur” because of his perceived interest in Chelsea’s business. More recently, Wenger was labelled a “specialist in failure.”

More often than not, the Frenchman is drawn into verbal battles with Mou via the press, and there is certainly no love lost between them.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Jaap Stam
Things were going swimmingly for Jaap Stam at Manchester United until 2001, when he released his autobiography Head to Head. In it, the Dutchman inferred that United’s approach to sign him from Feyenoord was illegal.

Sir Alex Ferguson was furious with the accusation. “Jaap himself is a bit embarrassed by it all,” the manager told The Observer. “He’s very regretful now, and he has some making up to do in the dressing room.”

Stam didn’t get too much time to apologise as he was sold to Lazio for around £16 million shortly afterwards.

Pele and Maradona
Pele and Diego Maradona are two of the greatest players the game has ever seen, which is part of the reason why they constantly bicker at one another.

In 2000, the Argentinian topped a poll for the greatest player of the century but was affronted when he was effectively made to split the honour with his Brazilian counterpart when FIFA also gave him an award.

“The award FIFA gave Pele isn’t worth s***,” Maradona later said. Saint Diego has also mocked Pele for “mixing up his pills” and even made fun of the size of his genitals.

Joey Barton and Thiago Silva
The list of people in football who hold grudges against Joey Barton is incredibly long, but it’s safe to say he’s not on Thiago Silva’s Christmas card list.

While playing at Marseille, Barton mocked Silva for looking like an “overweight ladyboy” in a Tweet that somehow still exists today.

When PSG threatened legal action, Barton was forced to apologise when Marseille ordered him to stop abusing Silva on Twitter.

When asked for a comment, Silva claimed to not even know Barton’s name, before saying “because no one is talking about him, it seems it is fun for him to criticise great players for people to know he exists.”

Samir Nasri and William Gallas
Samir Nasri has had a hostile relationship with William Gallas since before they were team-mates at Arsenal.

According to, their rift started at Euro 2008 when Nasri allegedly refused to give up a seat on the team bus for Thierry Henry, which Gallas thought showed a lack of respect. Apparently, they didn’t speak while at the Emirates together.

Nasri later sniped back at Gallas in the press, criticising his decision to transfer to Arsenal’s “sworn enemy” Tottenham. - Bleacher Report


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