On friendship day, a look at the friendships in the world of sports

Sports aren't always about rivalry, some close bonds are forged playing as part of a team, rival teams or even as individuals playing the same sport.

Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli began their careers together at the junior level — a record 664-run partnership in the semifinals of The Harris Shield Tournament for Shardashram School in Mumbai in 1987-88 being the highlight of the teenage association. The ties apparently became frosty and some hurt was expressed on Kambli's side. However, there is no matching the chemistry these two have generated. A legion of fans got emotional on social media last year when the two met and hugged each other. And most recently, Kambli revealed that Tendulkar advised him to take up coaching, going on to mentor Shivaji Park Lions in the inaugural edition of the Mumbai T20 League. Photo: VIVEK BENDRE
The duo formed one of the most destructive and successful opening partnerships on the pitch and an abiding friendship off it. Tendulkar and Ganguly met for the first time at an U-15 camp in Indore and later travelled to England together as part of the Star Cricket Club. In his autobiography titled 'A Century Is Not Enough', Ganguly remembers the time Tendulkar taped his bat-handle when India toured England in 1996, a sojourn which saw the Bengal southpaw announce his arrival on the international stage. Photo: EMMANUAL YOGINI
For the most part of their fabled cricketing careers, they formed the spine of India's middle order in Tests. However, the chemistry between the two is a throwback to the age group matches when Laxman played under-19 cricket against Karnataka. Over time, the two batsmen came together to consolidate India's position in world cricket. Dravid and Laxman even bid adieu to the Indian team in the same year, March and August of 2012, respectively. Photo: PTI
A friendship that spanned four different clubs, 10 league titles and 15 years. The charismatic Ibrahimovic met the Brazilian Maxwell when both were barely out of their teens at Ajax and went on to play together for European giants Inter Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. The duo's friendship is forged through loyalty, football and tragedy according to Maxwell. Photo: Getty Images
In English football, a Mancunian and a Londoner may not go on to become the best of friends. However, the fact that Beckham grew up adoring Manchester United may have softened his early impression on Neville. The pair was part of the fabled 'Class of '92' which went on to form the most successful team in English football under Sir Alex Ferguson. Their friendship was reflective on the pitch where they formed an effective combination on the right side of the field. Neville was the best man at David and Victoria's wedding. Together, they won six League titles, two FA Cups and one Champions League title in 11 seasons with the Red Devils. Photo: Getty Images
Much like the Manchester United duo, Xavi and Iniesta came through Barcelona's La Masia youth academy system. Although they were both diminutive in stature, their technical ability was superior to many of their peers. They have four Champions League titles on their resume and were a part of Spain's 'golden generation' when they won a World Cup and two EUROs between 2008 and 2012. When Xavi and Iniesta left the club in 2015 and 2018, respectively, they both penned emotional farewell letters admiring each other's quality. Photo: Getty Images
Love all. The tennis legends sealed their ties with a hush-hush wedding in 2001. Together, they have a combined total of 30 Grand Slam wins. She brought 22 of those to the trophy cabinet, he contributed eight. Photo: Getty Images
Tennis is the real winner, courtesy the fierce on-court rivalry and inspiring off-court healthy friendship for the ages between the Swiss and the Spaniard. When Nadal opened an academy bearing his name in his hometown on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, Federer was the guest of honour. Photo: Getty Images
Two of the world’s best players, the Argentines have been friends since their days in youth football. Messi is godfather to Aguero’s son Benjamin. Photo: Getty Images
If catfights are your thing, look away. On court, they have had bruising battles. Off it, they have been there for each other through highs and lows, during heartbreaks and breakups. Here is what Williams once told Vogue. “Let’s just put an end to this myth that women players cannot be friends. We can!” Such friendships are not the norm, but they have managed. Photo: Getty Images
The basketball stars were great when they squared off. They were even better when they powered the Miami Heat to NBA titles together. Photo: AFP