Grenal is a classic of Brazilian football played between Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense and Sport Club Internacional, two clubs of Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), which have faced 417 times since the year 1909. There were 156 victories of the International, 131 draws and 130 Grêmio wins.
In October 2008, national and international journalists were consulted by Trivela magazine and elected the Grenal as the “greatest classic in Brazil”, because the Grenal practically divides the entire state of Rio Grande do Sul in half. In other states, the number of bigger clubs is bigger. In April 2016, the English magazine FourFourTwo classified the classic as the largest in Brazil and the eighth largest in the world.
There is a controversy over the correct spelling of the expression. Some colorados, wanting to emphasize the name of the International, prefer to write GreNal or Gre-Nal. However, GreNal is a form that does not make sense in any spelling rule, since there is no capital letter inside the word. The Gre-Nal form reproduces the formula adopted by other classics of Brazilian soccer, such as Fla-Flu, San-São, Ba-Vi etc., but the capital letter in the “nal” particle is not justified because it is not the initial syllable of the name of the club (InternacioNAL), unlike FLUminense, São Paulo or VItória. As for the use of the hyphen, if “nal” is a termination, it is more logical that it be agglutinated to the initial particle, without hyphen, as in the case of other Brazilian classics: Atletiba, Paratiba etc.
Following this reasoning, the most recommended spelling is precisely Grenal, according to the three editions of the most important book on the classic: “The History of the Grenals”, by David Coimbra, Nico Noronha, Mário Marcos de Souza and Carlos André Moreira (1994 editions , 2004 and 2009). Despite this, the Gre-nal form continues to be used by a large part of the press, both in Rio Grande do Sul and in the rest of Brazil.
The expression Grenal appeared in 1926, when the journalist Ivo dos Santos Martins (fan of the Grêmio), tired of writing in extenso the long names of the clubs, created the term. Already the former governor of Rio Grande do Sul and patron of the International, Ildo Meneghetti, defined the classic tautologically: “Grenal is Grenal.”
Founded six years earlier, Grêmio led the Grenais statistics shortly in the first years of the match, having won the first Grenal of history by a score of 10-0 on 18 July 1909, with five goals being scored by Germany’s Edgar Booth, who is also the author of the first goal in the history of the classic.
The International took the advantage in the number of victories in the Grenal of number 89 (International 4 to 2 Grêmio), disputed 30 of September of 1945, at the time of the Roll Compressor, and never more was surpassed. At the time, the club had 38 wins in the classic, against 37 of the Grêmio and 14 draws.
Grêmio reared his head. The initial step was taken in 1952, when President Saturnino Vanzelotti hired Tesourinha, who had been idol in the rival. Months later, Vanzelotti would hire Foguinho as coach and, with a team formed largely by black and mulatto players, Grêmio won 12 gaucho championships in 13 years. Much of the current colored advantage was also built between 1969 and 1976, with the construction of the Beira-Rio Stadium and the setting up of one of the biggest teams in the history of the International
In that period, 40 matches were played, with Inter having won 18, tied 18 and losing only 4 games, being undefeated by 17 matches (October 17, 1971 to July 13, 1975), the Grenais’ longest invincibility. Already the greatest period of invincibility of the Guild was between June 16, 1999 and October 28, 2002, when it came to be 13 games unbeaten In the early 1980’s, the advantage of the International came to be 31 classics. In 2002, the difference came to fall for 15 games, currently staying in more than 20 more victories for the International
The biggest number of consecutive victories is of Grêmio, with six consecutive victories, that obtained this feat four times, being the last one in 1977-78. Already the greatest sequence of the International is of five consecutive victories, done that it obtained four times, being the last one in 1974-75.
While Grêmio managed to beat Internacional by more than 2 goals difference, 8 times in the Olympic Stadium and only 1 time in the Beira-Rio Stadium, Internacional, in turn, won 3 times in the Olympic and only 1 in Beira-Rio . In fact, the International spent 40 years (between 1954 and 1994) without thrashing the Guild. And just 39 years after the foundation of the Beira-Rio Stadium, Internacional managed to thrash the rival in its stadium
Stars in the Grenal
Some of the greatest Brazilian players and coaches took part in the derby gaúcho. Among the players of the Internacional we remember Falcão, Dunga, Branco, Taffarel, Valdomiro, Lucio, Tesourinha, Elías Figueroa, the young Rafael Sóbis and Alexandre Pato, Larry and Carlitos (the latter author of 326 goals for Internacional, record absolute). Coaches include Abel Braga, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Rubens Minelli, Ênio Andrade and Émerson Leão.
Among the stars of Grêmio there are Ronaldinho, Emerson, Éder, Everaldo, Renato Portaluppi, Aíton Pavilhão, Edinho, Mario Jardel, Tesourinha, Anderson, Tarciso and Gessy. Among the coaches are Luiz Felipe Scolari, Telê Santana, Valdir Espinosa, Paulo César Carpegiani and Renato Portaluppi, winner of the last Libertadores with Gremio and the only Brazilian to have won both as a player and as a coach, plus with the same club.
Performance of the two teams
Founded 6 years before the Internacional, Grêmio dominated the Grenal statistics from the early years, winning the first ever clash for 10 to 0, on July 18, 1909, with five goals from the German Booth, who also scored the first goal in absolute between the two teams. In addition to Booth, Grunewald (4 goals) and Moreira (1 goal) scored for Grêmio.
The Internacional took the advantage in the number of victories in 1945, at the time of the “Compressor Roller”, without being exceeded. At the beginning of the eighties, the advantage reached 31 victories, while now it has reached 24 victories more for the Internacional (144 to 120).
It can be said that much of the current advantage in the number of races won was built between 1969 and 1976, the period of construction of the Beira-Rio and one of the strongest internacional ever seen. In those years 40 matches were disputed, with the Internacional that won 18, it equaled as many and lost only 4, remaining unbeaten for 17 matches in a row (from October 17, 1971 to July 13, 1975), record of absolute unbeaten for the red wines of Porto Alegre. It should also be noted that at the Beira-Rio the Internacional beat Grêmio always with at least two goals, scoring a lot also at the Olimpico Monumental.
The most unbeatable period in the Grêmio derby is instead that between June 16th 1999 and October 28th 2002, when he managed to remain invaded for 13 races.
After decades of a phenomenon known as gangorra (according to which, at times, one of the two teams went well and the other bad, and vice versa), the year 2006 was atypical because, in the Brazilian Championship, the Internacional was placed second and the third Grêmio, so that both teams have qualified for the 2007 Libertadores Cup.
In the Brazilian championship
The Internacional won the first Grenal valid for the Brazilian Championship, October 17, 1971. That year the Grêmio came from four derby in which he remained unbeaten, although in July the Internacional had won his third Championship gaúcho in a row. Three months later, at the 15th turn of Brasileirão, the Colorados won again, this time for 1 to 0 with goals from Galocha. That was the beginning of the longest undefeated series in Grenal, which was interrupted only 45 months later.
The first Grenal won by Grêmio in the national championship only came on 6 November 1977, more than six years after the start of the tournament. At that time, the regulations of the Brasileirão required that the derby should be played in the city stadium with greater capacity: for this reason the Grenal were played in Beira-Rio, home of the “Nal”. The first gremista victory was slow to come, but it was indisputable: a 4 to 0 that made the ban for two decades the totally red uniform (t-shirt, shorts and socks of the same color) that the Internacional used that day.