Biggest Football Rivalries In The World – Top 12

Rivalries are all around the world, in every sports, especially football. A match between two rivals is generally played with high intensity, and is watched by many fans. In this article, let us have a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in the world.

Here are the 12 biggest football rivalries in the world.

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12. Palmeiras v Corinthians (Brazil)

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Paulista Derby, is a match between traditional clubs Corinthians and Palmeiras. It is the rivalry between two of the oldest football clubs still active in the city of São Paulo.

The story of Brazil’s greatest football rivalry begins with a group of Europeans.In the early 20th century, Corinthians was the team for all immigrants. In 1914, people from Italian descent decided to create their own club, Palestra Italia (later called Palmeiras, as we’ve seen). Corinthians fans and executives nicknamed them “the betrayers.”

As the years passed honours and fans were split between the two great football clubs. True to Brazilian culture, the fixture is awash with colour and sound.

11. Ajax vs Feyenoord (Netherlands)

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The rivalry between these two clubs goes beyond the football rivalry, it transcends into the city rivalry between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This city rivalry began when these two cities first received their city rights in the 13th century. The football clubs are the pride of these cities; Ajax to Amsterdam and Feyenoord to Rotterdam.

The inhabitants of these cities differ extremely in both attitudes and cultures which is clearly reflected on to the football pitch.The clash is seen as between the artists of Amsterdam and the workers of Rotterdam.

Ajax’s style of play has long been a source of pride for the supporters, and one of irritation for the Feyenoord fans. The Rotterdammers feel that those hailing from Amsterdam possess delusions of grandeur, and there is a saying to reflect these sentiments: “While Amsterdam dreams, Rotterdam works”.

Violent fan clashes have long marred occasions when the two sides meet.

10. Partizan Belgrade v Red Star Belgrade (Serbia)

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The Eternal derby is the local derby in Belgrade, Serbia, between fierce city rivals Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade, two of the biggest and most popular sports societies in Serbia.

Out of the ashes of the Second World War, two teams were created in Belgrade. FK Partizan became the central club of the Yugoslav Army and Red Star were the civil adversary. Both can lay claim to being the supreme team in the country – it has largely been a duopoly since their inception – although Red Star’s European Cup title in 1991 sets them apart. However in a country were the game is rife with corruption allegations, this once great on-field battle has left its better days in the past.

9. Juventus vs Internazionale (Italy)

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As the teams are from the two biggest cities in Northwest Italy, the derby has also come to represent a regional rivalry. Incidents from this fixture have occasionally made its way into political debates as Turin and Milan are regional capitals and their respective regions of Piedmont and Lombardy have mostly been ruled by various opposing parties.

These two clubs are one of the most followed clubs in Italy as well as the whole World.The Derby d’Italia first got its name when the clubs involved were the most successful in the country. The clubs are ranked first and second in wins and goals in Serie A history. It is probably the most intense rivalry in Italy between clubs from two different cities.

8. AC Milan vs Internazionale ( Italy)

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The derby della Madonnia is one of the biggest rivalries in Serie A, Milan and Inter have been butting heads since 1908. Both clubs called Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) their home and it has been the setting for some of the nastier games in Serie A. The two clubs were once one, but in 1908 the foundation of Inter occurred. The working class is connected to A.C. Milan while the upper class is represented by Inter.

Checkout:10 Greatest Italian Football Rivalries


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7. Lazio vs AS Roma (Italy )

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They aren’t the biggest or most successful clubs in Italy, but the fight for Rome in the “Derby Della Capitale” is one of the world’s best. The lack of success in the Serie A for both these clubs forced them to focus on their hatred of one anther. The game is about control of a city and is said to be the fiercest rivalry in the country.

Roma was founded in 1927 as a result of a merger between three teams: Roman, Alba-Audace and Fortitudo, initiated by Italo Foschi. It was the intention of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to create a unified Roman club to challenge the dominance of Northern clubs.But because of the influence of Fascist general, Giorgio Vaccaro, Lazio were the only major team from Rome to resist the merger, thus a kind of rivalry emerged from the very early years of the coexistence in the same city.

Back in 2004 a match was postponed four minutes into the second half when a riot broke out in the stands and the president of the Italian League forced the referee to suspend the match. After the match, a battle among fans and police occurred which ended with fires being set in the stands, 13 arrests and over 170 people injured.

6. Manchester United vs Liverpool  (England)

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One of the most important rivalries in British football, the rivalry between the Red Devils and the Reds is one between the two most successful clubs in the history of English Football. The clubs share over 120 titles and the two cities, just 35 minutes apart, share a passion for football that few can match. It is a rivalry based on success rather than their derby rivalries.

United’s dominance of the Premier League era saw them overtake Liverpool’s 18 League titles, while Liverpool trump their rivals on the Continent with six European Cups to three. Culturally, too, an industrial rivalry exists between the two beacons of England’s north-west.

This is a big one whenever the two clubs meet. The biggest game of England is ranked 6th in ‘Biggest Football Rivalries In The World’.

5. Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce (Turkey)

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Turkey’s most successful teams represent two parts of Istanbul. Galatasaray represent the European part while Fenerbahce represent the Asian part of the city. It is one of the most dynamic rivalries. The game has been played for over 100 years and the fire is still just as fiery as ever.

Istanbul’s dominant sides were founded two years apart and a social rift soon added spice to the rift already created by geography. Gala were seen by many as a club for the aristocracy with Fener the ‘people’s club’.

When the two teams come together the city of Istanbul turns into an epicenter of color, passion, songs and fireworks. All things that promote a great rivalry.

4. Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos (Greece)

You know a rivalry is legit if it is called the “Derby of Eternal Enemies.” This rivalry isn’t just about football. It involves social, cultural and regional hatred. When Greece’s two biggest clubs meet, riot police, flares and red cards are as common as corner kicks.

This derby has always been a classic for the Greek capital, as well as the whole of Greece, the most prestigious in the country.

Panathinaikos are considered to represent high class Greek society. Olympiakos was founded in Piraeus, a port of Athens, which attracted support from the working class. Both teams have massive groups of fans and hooliganism is a very common phenomenon.


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3. Rangers vs Celtic (Scotland)

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These two clubs were the powerhouses of the Scottish league until Rangers financial implosion landed them in the Third Division. This caused the rivalry between the two clubs to take a hiatus, but the Rangers fought their way back in the Scottish Premiership.

The Old Firm is not just about opposing sides of a class divide or a city. There are religious divisions – catholic or protestant, political divisions – loyalist or republican, ideological divisions – conservative or socialist – and background divisions.

When it’s on it’s on and none more so than when opposing fans invaded the pitch in 1980 after the Scottish Cup Final, duking it out in a battle that led to alcohol being banned from matches in Scotland.

This game tops our list of biggest rivalries in British football.

2. Barcelona vs Real Madrid (Spain)

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El Clasico,played between these two Spanish giants is arguably the biggest football match in the world of football. Barcelona represented the Catalanism and the Catalan people, while Real Madrid has been linked with Spanish nationalism and the royal family of Spain.

Barcelona (116) holds a 18 win advantage over Real Madrid (98) as these matches are always the biggest of the La Liga season.

1. Boca Juniors vs River Plate (Argentina)

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Argentina is home to one of the world’s best rivalries, the Superclasico. Known for their passionate fans, these Argentine clubs engage in insane matches where fireworks, flags, toilet paper and riots are part of the norm.

Tourists flock to Argentina to see the game and the matchup is known around the world as one of, if not the most intense rivalry. The supporters and players match each other’s passion. Boca represents the working class while River represents the affluent neighborhood of Belgrano in northern Buenos Aires.

The entire country is gripped for days in the lead up to match day and the game kicks-off so too do 90 minutes of ear-bursting and nerve-jangling atmosphere.

It takes the top spot in our list of ‘Biggest Football Rivalries In The World’



A sports addict! @subhamchaurasia

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