It’s often said that sport, at its heart, is inherently a substitute for war.

In Europe, the animosity that festers from centuries-old conflicts can be felt most viscerally at many of the continent’s various soccer derbies. Whether it’s sectarian hatred flowing down from the terraces whenever Rangers and Celtic meet in Glasgow, or the clashing political and national identities that underpin Spain’s “El Clasico” between Barcelona and Real Madrid, proxy wars take place week in, week out across the continent.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.