All About The Derby De Lisboa for Football Fans

Lisbon Derby, sourced from wikipedia

European football is one of the best in the world and within it are many leagues and football classics. From the capital and most populated city of Portugal, one of the most resounding and notorious football rivalries in Europe is born. We speak of the Lisbon Derby, or as it is known in the city; Derby da Capital, in which the most recognized teams of Lisbon face: Sporting Clube de Portugal and Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

These two teams have been eternal rivals for decades. Below we will learn more about these teams and all the details of the Lisbon Derby.

Sport Lisboa de Benfica

Sport Lisboa de Benfica, sourced from wikipedia

Sport Lisboa e Benfica originated in 1904.

During this year, a group of 24 students from the Real Casa Pia in Lisbon had the opportunity to create the Sport Lisboa Group, a sports club whose only discipline was football.

Since then, in the back of the Franco Pharmacy, the Sport Lisboa Group has consolidated itself as a sports group, and even selected as an emblem the drawing of an eagle on the motto “Pluribus Unum”, two Latin words meaning “of many, one”. 

In 1906 another Benfica sports group, the cycling group Sport Benfica, was also consolidated and merged with Sport Lisboa in 1908 to counteract the financial problems of the football club. From this merger, the name of the club was changed and it was defined as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, and its emblem became a bicycle wheel, which is still maintained.

Since then, Benfica has remained one of the best teams in the Portuguese league, the second-best, and its fans nicknamed it “O Glorioso”. Benfica has been the team with the most league and cup titles in the country; 36 times league champion and has won 25 Portuguese Cups.

It has also won international titles such as two European Cups and five runners-up. Benfica has been one of the best since the 1960s and since then is still in its time.

Currently, Benfica has its own stadium, known as the Estadio de Luz, which can hold more than 65,000 spectators. It was inaugurated on October 2003, before the start of Euro 2004, and is the largest stadium in Portugal. This remodeling of the old Da Luz became one of the best stadiums in Europe, reaching up to 137,000 spectators in a single match, Benfica vs Oporto in 1987.

Sporting Clube de Portugal

Sporting, sourced from Pinterest

Also known as the “sportinguista” team, had its origin in 1902, when in a part of the suburbs of Lisbon, was founded the Club Deportivo de Belas. However, a few months after its founding, the club’s teenage members separated and the club broke up. Although these teenagers kept in touch and frequented a place close to their neighborhood, the Bijou Bakery.

After two years of being in the same routine, they decided to play the sport they loved so much again and founded the Campo Grande Football Club. But it was in 1906 when he adapted the name Campo Grande Sporting Club, although that name did not last until July of the same year, and became the Sporting Clube de Portugal, which Antonio Felix da Costa Junior suggested.

In addition to being a sportinguista, Sporting Clube de Portugal is also known as Sporting de Portugal or Sporting de Lisboa. The uniform is a green t-shirt with white horizontal stripes. The shorts are black, and the socks share the colors of the shirt.

The club has as its motto several words that defined it at that time and still does; “effort, dedication, devotion and glory”. Here is Sporting. However, in Portuguese you can appreciate it much better.

Since its establishment as Sporting, the club has won 18 league championships and 16 Portuguese cups. These achievements place it in third place, behind Porto and Benfica. Sporting Lisbon have also won international awards, when they won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1963-1964 season, and also the UEFA runners-up spot in 2004-2005.

Sporting has its own stadium which was founded in August 2003 and has a capacity for more than 50,000 people. It is located in the center of a sports complex called Alvalade XXI, honoring one of the founders of the club Jose Alvalade. This stadium was built to replace the nearby Old Alvalade Stadium a year prior to Euro 2004.

Since then, the clashes between these two teams have become a true football classic. The first match was in 1907 when the teams were still amateur. In this match, Sporting was victorious playing as a visitor with a score of 1 to 2. To date, these teams have faced each other 300 times, and Benfica has won more since then, maintaining a total of 130 wins, 108 losses, and 62 draws.

Watch Benfica VS Sporting CP 

Benfica vs Sporting, sourced from diadenoticiasmadeira

As we mentioned earlier, these two teams are the main protagonists of the Lisbon league. They have been eternal rivals for over 100 years, and these matches have had the characteristic of being known as the Lisbon Derby.

Benfica is characterized by its royal eagle logo (called Vitória) which, they say, makes a flight over the stadium before home matches. On the other hand, the Sporting Club is nicknamed the Leões (Lions).

Tickets

Getting a ticket to the Lisbon derby can be really difficult, because these teams have great season ticket bases, and this prevents many tickets from reaching the market.

You can buy tickets at either club, depending on which team you prefer to watch, whether Benfica or Sporting CP. You can locate their websites or applications, or go directly to the box office of the club.

The price of tickets can vary between 20 and 90 Euros for the general public. In most points of sale require an identity document to sell the ticket, regardless of the method of payment.

At the match

Generally, the fans usually meet in the stadium days before the match, in the different points of sale of food and drink. If you wish, you can go to get to know this atmosphere and taste a hot dog, prego (beef sandwich), bifana (pork sandwich) or a pão com chouriço (chorizo bread).

In addition to the food stalls, you can also find people selling T-shirts and other souvenirs.

The Portuguese fan is usually quite passionate, they love the chants and the songs of the teams, and the atmosphere is usually intense.

It is essential to carry your identification so you can get your ticket and validate it. Both outside and inside the stadiums, there are usually police and security personnel who can help you if you have any doubts.

How to Get There

If you are in the center of Lisbon it is much easier to get to either stadium.

To get to the Estadio da Luz, Benfica Stadium, you can take the train on the blue line in the direction of Reboleira and get off at the Colégio Militar/Luz station. Follow the signs along the way and you will see the stadium next to the large Colombo shopping complex which is full of shops and food stalls.

At the José Alvalade Stadium, home of Sporting CP, you can take the train on the green line towards Telherias and get off at Campo Grande Station. This stadium is also next to a commercial complex, Alvaláxia. 

Stadium Tours

If you want to see the stadiums in more detail and comfort, both clubs, both Sporting CP and Benfica, offer exclusive guided tours to see their unique stadiums.

To know every detail of these stadiums you will have a guide who will take you around the stadium and will provide you with exclusive information in English or Portuguese.

You can enter the VIP booths, conference rooms, dressing rooms, players’ tunnel, the playing field, and many more places. Generally, these visits are made between 45 minutes to 1 hour. And when you finish touring the stadiums, you can go and see the museum.

However, at Christmas, New Year or on game days there are guided tours to the stadiums. To find out the times and days available for visits consult the websites of the clubs.

Spirit & Rivalry

After the defection of Benfica’s rivals in 2015, Jorge Jesus gave a “battle cry” that would shake all the fans and the players of Sporting Lisbon to return to their glory.

“The giant is asleep and has to wake up!”

“From now on, Sporting will give everything for everything to get all the trophies from Portugal.”

Many took it as a breath of life and for others; it was a threat to those who once adored it throughout Lisbon.

But one thing was certain, Jorge made clear the message he wanted to convey;

“Sporting will be crowned Portugal’s best team even before Benfica”

…and from there the popular Lisbon Derby was known 10 times more. Thanks to that moment, and to that cry, this derby became increasingly popular and recognized throughout Europe.

It would not only be a simple classic in which the players and fans of both teams would go to brag, but it was to show who would be the champion of Lisbon and which stadium would be best represented: the green Jose Alvalade Stadium or the red Estadio da Luz.

On the one hand, Benfica has always been considered the club of the town. The cement, materials, and money required for the construction of their stadium were donated by their fans. Sporting, on the other hand, had the support of Portuguese royalty.

The club’s first president, Jose Alvalade, had borrowed money from his family to finance the club. Sporting could have established themselves as Portugal’s best club, in fact, they had everything they needed, but Benfica never wanted to give up, even though everything was against them.

When the first Lisbon derby was held in 1907 and Sporting emerged victorious with a score of 1-2, Sporting had signed eight Benfica players in the week before the match, and one of them was the one with the best presentation in the game. It was a small part of Benfica against their rivals.

Despite having spent so much time since that game, there are still fans who say that the game was a scam because it was noted that everything was coldly calculated. Sporting did everything in their power to sign Eusebio, but Benfica held to the terms established by the player’s family. That agreement benefited all parties involved, unlike what Sporting did, which only benefited them.

It was when both clubs were equal to 10 National League titles each that Eusebio arrived at the Estadio da Luz; when this player left Benfica in 1975, the club already had 21 titles and Sporting 14.

After all the experiences and events throughout history, it seems that Sporting has resurfaced by adopting the Benfica model several years ago. Today, they pay a lot for trying to change the way they play after Benfica got stuck.

It seems that the years went by and Benfica had no choice but to recover and fight again, thanks to coach Jorge Jesus. However, Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira had started doing business with Jesus by reducing his salary to indicate the reasons for the team’s Portuguese recession.

It was then that the president of the sports club made an offer to Benfica’s coach backed by millionaire Alvaro Sobrinho, which Jorge had no reason to reject. For Jorge Jesus, this was the moment in which he felt full of pride because he returned to the club which he could represent for a long time.

In the first season in which Jesus participated, the Leões finished second, two points behind champion Benfica. However, it was a good season for the coach who achieved a record of 88 points for the Aguilas to keep the title.

Since then, these two teams have been responsible for giving a great show in the city of Lisbon, during their great derby. It is undoubtedly a great opportunity for football lovers and for those tourists who want to take something unique and totally essential from Lisbon.

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