The world of sports is surprisingly full of friendships that show fans the value of having a great friend. Over the years, some of the fiercest on-field rivals have come to become the best of friends off it. It's hard to imagine such great competitors forging beautiful human bonds away from the playing arena, and therefore always an interesting story for the fans, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a look at some of the best friendships in sports history?
The duo formed the most destructive and successful opening partnership on the pitch and an abiding friendship off it. If interviews and social media are anything to go by, these two idols of Indian cricket have still remained the best of friends, ocassionally engaging is friendly banters and revealing funny anecdotes about their playing days.
In his autobiography titled 'A Century is not enough' Ganguly remebers the time Sachin Tendulkar taped his bat when India toured England in 1996, a sojourn which saw the Bengal southpaw announce his arrival on the international stage.
Spanning years of rivalry, Federer and Nadal have ruled world tennis for quite some time. Although they are rivals on the court, the two personalities are great friends off it.
It is worth noting that Federer was invited as a special guest when Nadal opened a tennis academy in 2016. Also, on occasions like joint-interviews, their budding friendship is very visible. It is also known that Federer credits Nadal as the most inspiring and influential person he has met in his life.
But not these two. By all accounts, they hold each other in high regard and have spoken glowingly about each other during interviews. The mutual respect they have is clear
Ronaldo and Marcelo had a wonderful relationship at Real Madrid, and a combination that began and ended thanks to Ronaldo's big money moves to Juventus in 2018. Their link-up play on the left side of the pitch was ruthless, and their time together helped them form a special bond while winning record number of trophies together at Madrid.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James won two NBA Finals together and played in two more from 2010-2014, but their friendship runs much deeper than that. This partnership began when the two were just entering the league and continued when they played together for the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics.
Rumor has it they made a pact at the Olympics, along with Chris Bosh, to join forces at some point in their careers. They did just that to great effect. Even after James left the Heat, the two have stayed close. Now their sons will team up on the same high school basketball team ushering in the next era of athlete friends.
Magic Johnson and Larry were college basketball rivals. Throughout the 1980s, they played against each other for NBA titles.
It was only when both were invited for a shoe commercial, that a blossoming friendship started. Earlier, Johnson thought Larry was overrated, meanwhile, the latter thought that the former was a showoff. The commercial bought them together and they remain friends to this day.
Xavi and Andres Iniesta spent more than a decade together at Barcelona, creating one of the best midfield partnerships in the sport's history. Off the field, they hold each other in high regard and are the best of mates. In 2015, when Xavi left Barcelona for Al Sadd, Iniesta was reduced to tears as he bid farewell to his friend at a special event and labelled Xavi as his "captain, team-mate and friend."
MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina are a pair of cricketers who retired from international cricket on the same day. In fact, Suresh has also stated that he will have zero interest in participating in the Indian Premier League if Dhoni decides to end his IPL career.
Raina and Dhoni have had many memorable partnerships on the field. Their match-winning partnership in a tricky run-chase against Zimbabwe in the 2015 Cricket World Cup is a partnership that is very close to the hearts of all cricket fans.
Virat Kohli is the captain of the Indian cricket team and the Royal Challengers Bangalore right now. At RCB, Kohli joined hands with former South African cricket team captain AB de Villiers in 2011.
Ten years have passed and now Kohli and de Villiers are the best of the friends. Their bromance has wowed the cricket universe, and they have destroyed many bowling attacks together while donning the RCB jersey.
Indian women's cricket has certainly been on the rise in last few years. While the performances on the field have been incredible, the popularity has something to do with off the field stuff as well. From their singing sessions on Instagram to their comradery while batting together, the friendship of Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues is certainly known to everyone.
The silent attitude of Smriti and the jolly nature of Jemimah just make their bond even more exciting. They are the face of Indian women's cricket going ahead and the fans would just hope that the duo's amazing bond stays intact for years to come.
Gerrard and Alonso created a talented midfield anchor at Liverpool, with their strong chemistry crucial to the Reds' success. They played a huge part in Liverpool's famous Champions League triumph, both scoring in the "Miracle of Istanbul" 14 years ago.
This completes our list of the Best Friendships in Sports.