When rivalries go too far: The brutal, the bad and the bizarre

From Mourinho's madness to Costa's controversy or Italian capital carnage, we've taken a look at some of the more infamous derby bust-ups of recent years.

Ah, the dazzling spectacle of the modern-day footballing rivalry, where pleasantries are exchanged, cities are united and the great advert for the 'beautiful game' is presented on the world stage… or is it?

From tears over spilt milk and water bottle controversies to fist fights and that infamous Jose eye poke, European football has played host to some of the sport's ugliest rivalries for decades.

Be it the politically-fuelled hatred of Rome's Derby della Capitale to the gargantuan rivalry of El Clasico in Madrid and Catalonia, the last decade has certainly seen some memorable moments between bitter rivals.

Not one to miss out, Planet Sport has selected some of the biggest derby bust-ups in Europe's top five leagues.

Who threw the milk at Jose?

Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City

December 10, 2017

A 30-man brawl ensued after Manchester City's derby victory at Old Trafford
A 30-man brawl ensued after Manchester City's derby victory at Old Trafford

It ended as a closely-contested affair between two great rivals in the Premier League title race, as City edged past their old foes at Old Trafford to extend their lead at the top.

Following the final whistle the occasion descended into total off-field chaos - in what was one of the most peculiar incidents in Premier League history.

Aggravated by the loud celebrations coming from the noisy neighbours in the away dressing room, Jose Mourinho took matters into his own hands, storming into enemy territory to taunt Pep and his players.

A vicious war of words with City 'keeper Ederson ensued which then prompted a heated 30-man melee involving players and staff members from both sides.

Belgian compatriots Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany were reportedly held back, Mourinho had milk and water thrown all over him and, amid the pandemonium, City coach Mikel Arteta was left bleeding after being struck by a plastic bottle.

Amazingly, both sides escaped with no major FA imposed sanctions and lots of questions about the infamous brawl still remain unanswered today.

Red card carnage in Le Classique

PSG 0-1 Marseille

September 13, 2020

Tempers flared in Le Classique when Neymar instigated a violent scuffle between the two teams.
Tempers flared in Le Classique when Neymar instigated a violent scuffle between the two teams.

Neymar was among five players sent off in this heated Ligue 1 fixture between long-term rivals PSG and Marseille as tensions on the field reached boiling point.

Dubbed 'Le Classique', the game is by far the most serious encounter French soccer has to offer. Notorious for its violence problems between players and fans alike, this tie was no exception.

Following a brutal 90 minutes of tough tackling and stern words, a mass brawl sparked up in stoppage time after an intense disagreement between a furious Neymar and Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez.

The Brazilian saw red alongside team-mates Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurazawa, with Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto also being dismissed for the visitors.

It didn't stop there.

As he left the pitch, Neymar allegedly accused Gonzalez of racial abuse and continued to berate the defender on social media, citing that his one regret was that he didn't punch the defender in the face.

Mourinho: The villain to Vilanova

Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid

August 17, 2011

Mourinho sparked outrage amongst the Barcelona bench when he poked Vilanova in the eye.
Mourinho sparked outrage amongst the Barcelona bench when he poked Vilanova in the eye.

Yep, you guessed it, another Mourinho matter. The Portuguese manager loves to court controversy - especially when a Pep Guardiola side is involved.

As Barcelona headed for a 3-2 victory in the Spanish Super Cup, an agitated Marcelo triggered madness at the Camp Nou when he was sent off for a brutal challenge on Cesc Fabregas in the final minute of the match.

The dismissal of the Real defender angered the opposition as verbal disagreements between the age-old rivals soon transitioned into physical ones.

Substitutes David Villa and Mesut Ozil also received marching orders for their involvement, as a gripping match turned very ugly.

Despite the fiery clash between players, it was a moment between the opposing coaching teams that infamously grabbed the headlines.

Unable to control his discontent with proceedings, Mourinho inexplicably prodded his finger into Tito Vilanova's eye - a heinous moment of violence that he later condemned. Guardiola's number two reacted by slapping Mourinho across the face.

Numerous players and coaches received bans for their involvement in the incident.

The battle of the Bridge

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

May 2, 2016

13 yellow cards were dished out in the 'Battle of the Bridge'.
13 yellow cards were dished out in the 'Battle of the Bridge'.

Although Chelsea and Tottenham hail from different areas of London, the animosity between the sides dates back as far as the 1960s.

Fans of all ages will be able to recall a memorable meeting between the two sides and very few will hold more prominence than the Battle of the Bridge - widely regarded as one of the dirtiest Premier League games ever.

It was a game that eliminated Tottenham from their closest title challenge in decades, handing the league to the '5000/1' underdogs Leicester City. However, the game's implications transcended the fate of the trophy.

In addition to a host of unfriendly individual disagreements and battles, the encounter is most remembered for its two scuffles, during the game and at full-time.

The first was instigated by Willian, who retaliated to a tough challenge from Danny Rose before the break. Rushing to the defence of his players, an animated Mauricio Pochettino found himself at the epicentre of the troubles. For his involvement in one of many incidents between the teams, Spurs' Moussa Dembele was handed a lengthy retrospective ban of six games for gouging the eye of Diego Costa.

In the wake of Eden Hazard's memorable equaliser after a turbulent second half, a bigger scrap raged on after the final whistle.

Fabregas confronted Pochettino and Vorm, 69-year-old manager Guus Hiddink was pushed down the stairs and Diego Costa tried to fight, well, everyone, as the two teams were separated yet again.

THAT water bottle incident

Lazio 0-2 Roma

December 4, 2016

Kevin Strootman caused great controversy when he threw a water bottle at Lazio's Danilo Cataldi.
Kevin Strootman caused great controversy when he threw a water bottle at Lazio's Danilo Cataldi.

Despite valiant efforts by Italian footballing authorities to censor the violence, bigotry, hatred and crime surrounding the Rome derby, here lies another example of their failure to do so.

The encounter was destined for drama before the first whistle had even been blown as large portions of Roma's infamous 'Fedayn' ultras boycotted their residency in the Curva Sud in protest of the implementation of newly implemented 'culture destroying' fan safety measures.

On-field matters directly replicated the off-field politics that overshadowed the tie when a mass brawl was sparked after Roma took the lead through Kevin Strootman in the second half.

As he wheeled away in celebration, the Dutchman appeared to taunt Lazio substitute Danilo Cataldi by squirting water at the Italy international, who angrily retaliated by gripping Strootman's shirt, triggering a fiery reaction from both benches.

Hands were thrown, shirts were grabbed and scuffles broken up as the deep hatred between Rome's footballing giants was encapsulated in this hotly-contested fixture.

Strootman received a booking for his involvement in encouraging the trouble and Cataldi saw red for violent conduct.

Costa controversy in fiery friendly

Real Madrid 3-7 Atletico Madrid

July 27, 2019

After scoring four goals, Costa was dismissed for disrupting the pre-season peace.
After scoring four goals, Costa was dismissed for disrupting the pre-season peace.

Ten goals, a 22-man brawl, four red cards and one Diego Costa - this particular instalment of the Madrid derby had all the ingredients of a remarkably feisty affair.

Amazingly, it also happened to be a pre-season friendly, and the route of the unfriendliness was directly linked to a usual suspect.

Spoiling a convincing performance with unnecessary trouble, Costa scored four of his team's seven goals before ludicrously lashing out at Real's Dani Carvajal, evoking immediate havoc.

Zinedine Zidane was forced to enter the field of play to calm his players down as tempers flared left, right and centre - eventually resulting in a double dismissal for Costa and Carvajal.

We might have to rethink the term 'friendly' if these two meet again in such circumstances.

A Revierderby to remember

Borussia Dortmund 4-4 Schalke

November 25, 2017

After Dortmund threw away a four-goal lead, Nuri Sahin made his feelings known to the Schalke players.
After Dortmund threw away a four-goal lead, Nuri Sahin made his feelings known to the Schalke players.

In an eight-goal thriller in which Borussia Dortmund calamitously collapsed having taken a four-goal lead in the first-half. Tempers flared at full-time between two great rivals of German football as Schalke sensationally rescued a point in a memorable 4-4 draw.

The hosts were 4-0 up in just 25 minutes as they comfortably cruised towards emphatically thrashing their opponents, but the second half told an entirely different tale as the hosts self-destructed defensively and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw red for two bookable offences.

Much to the dismay of the home faithful, Die Konigsblauen emulated Dortmund's first-half heroics to secure a famous point, as the two teams chaotically clashed at the final whistle to elongate the drama of the action-packed clash.

Taking offence to the animated full-time celebrations of Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann on the Signal Iduna Park's south side which involved him taunting the Dortmund fans. Nuri Sahin raced over to the German international, demonstrating his frustrations through verbal abuse as the two entered a heated scrap.

With emotions still running high, the benches of both sides entered the fray to defend their respective team-mates as officials struggled to simmer down an intense melee on the field. Sahin and Fahrmann were both eventually booked for their actions.

Topping off one of the Bundesliga's matches of the decade, this incident only heightened the drama surrounding one of the most dramatic Rivierderbies of all time.

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