From: Lléo (
Subject: Re: Lets have some fun.... 
Date: 17/07/2001

The Ma-jin escreveu na mensagem
>- Rank these rivalries in terms of quality/intensity/history. Which is the most
>passionate? Ajax vs Feynrood, Glasgow Rangers vs Celtic, Arsenal vs Tottenham,
>Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Inter Milan vs AC Milan, AS Roma vs Lazio...or is it
>another one I didn't mention? (Greek 4th division rivalries don't count)

Ah, you're leaving out some historical rivalries found back here in Rio...

Currently, the biggest rivalry in Rio is Vasco vs Flamengo. Allow me to
expand a bit on this one.

Flamengo and Vasco were founded still in the 19th century, 1895 and 1898
respectively. Neither of them took football as their main activity at first;
in fact, none of them had football departments until the 1910s (Flamengo's
football history passes through Fluminense, another of their beloved
rivals). They were first founded as regatta clubs, as it was the main sport
in the Rio de Janeiro of that epoch (hence, none of them has the word
football in their names: Clube de Regatas Vasco da Gama and Clube de Regatas

The rivalry started when Vasco won a regatta named after Flamengo, in the
early 1900s. For some time, it was kept mainly to boat races, until football
started to take over as the most popular sport.

In 1912, Flamengo entered the Rio de Janeiro League 1st division. Because of
a derision between Fluminense's first team and their directors in the year
before, Fluminense starting players abandoned the club and headed for
Flamengo, thus founding their football department.

Note: this is where the Flamengo-Fluminense rivalry started: when they met
in 1912 for the first time, Flamengo was expected to destroy Fluminense, as
Fluminense had only reserves to field against their former first team. To
make a long story short, Fluminense pulled a 3-2 win in the last minute,
starting another lifelong rivalry.

In contrast, Vasco wouldn't take up football until 1915. The club was
founded mainly by Portuguese residents in Brasil (but was open to Brasilians
and Portuguese equally). It took a Portuguese team to come to Rio for
exhibition matches to make the Portuguese colony start to look after a team.
After a fusion with a local club, Vasco had their football department
founded and entered the Rio League in 1915, in the third division.

Vasco hadn't the happiest of the debuts: stormed 10-1 in their first ever
game, finished rock bottom of the third division league table. OTOH, it
wouldn't take long for Flamengo to see glories in top flight football: by
then they already had won the league twice, in 1914 and 1915. In short, the
differences between them couldn't be bigger.

Slowly, Vasco recovered from their awful start and started to find their way
towards first division football. After winning the second division in 1922,
a tie against São Cristovão in a playoff finally ensured them the hard
sought promotion. Flamengo would be champion in 1920 and 1921 also,
cementing their position as a big club.

In 1923, the two rivals would be in the top division at the same time for
the first time ever. Again, the differences were huge: Flamengo was seen as
a big club, already 4 times league winner in 10 years of history. Vasco was
seen as a pokey little club, recently promoted, based on the poorer area of
the city and expected to bounce back down at the end of the season.

However, things didn't turn out to be as expected. Vasco started to win
every game, surprising the city and gaining followers in the way (y'know,
the sympathy that a small club raises when it starts to win...). The game
against Flamengo became the most anticipated then; the rivalry from the
regattas would now translate into football.

The first game ever between them saw a city pretty divided. Botafogo,
Fluminense and América (the city's big clubs, among with Flamengo) had
already been beaten by Vasco, and saw in Flamengo a hope to stop this
suprising little team. OTOH, small clubs' supporters and neutral observers
were rooting for Vasco. In what was said to be a great game, Vasco won the
derby 3-1, cementing the lead in the table.

The winning streak continued, until Vasco met Flamengo again in the league.
Flamengo needed a win to keep breathing, Vasco had a comfortable position in
the table.

The game was at the Laranjeiras (Fluminense's stadium). The entire stadium
was rooting for Flamengo, who would end winning 3-2. Some Vascainos
complained about a third goal disallowed by the ref (who was a Botafogo
director - yes, these things did happen in 1920s football...), although it's
never mentioned in the match reports of that time's newspapers. It wouldn't
be enough to stop Vasco, though, who would go on to win the 1st division
championship in their first season.

Since then, the rivalry was definitely brought to football, and from this
spun off to various other sports. It was born in a time that football didn't
even exist in Brasil, and came into football in a time that neither of them
even had an own stadium. Today it is that kind of game where the word
"friendly" never applies, a game now known in Brasil as the "Clássico dos
Milhões" (Derby of the Millions, in reference to the capacity-crowded
Maracanã that usually is home to games between them, and to the fact that
Flamengo and Vasco, together, have about 30 million supporters all over
Brasil). Now it is one of the greatest rivalries in Brasil, and up there
with other rivalries over the world, like Peñarol-Nacional, Boca-River, Real
Madrid-Barcelona, Palmeiras-Corinthians, Inter-Milan, Rangers-Celtic, among
many others.