“Derby” is a term used to describe rivalry between two football clubs and literal meaning of derby is a match between two clubs from the same city. However over the years derby word has been used even for rivalry between two clubs who are not in the same city. We take a look at some of the greatest football derbies/rivalries in world football. Before we get into some iconic football rivalries lets take a look at what actually make a good derby why not every derby match is special.
What factors make a top football derby ?
- #1. Manchester United vs Liverpool
- #2. El Classico – Barcelona vs Real Madrid:
- #3. Derby della Madonnina (AC Milan vs Inter Milan)
- #4. Old Firm Derby (Rangers vs Celtic)
- #5. Superclásico (Boca Juniors vs River plate)
- #6. Der Klassiker (Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund)
- #7. Kıtalararası Derbi (Fenerbahçe vs Galatasaray)
There are obvious factors which make some football derbies special ones and we discuss them here.
Locality: Like we mentioned before the literal meaning of word derby is for the rivalry between two clubs from the same city. So historically speaking local derbies usual are the most fierst ones even if the teams are not very good on global scale.
Historical developments: Sometime football clubs from the same city represent two different values and when a child is born and gain consciousness he has to pick one side his decision might be influenced by his family or locality he lives in. The historic matches between the two teams that might be cup finals or some controversial games and these kind of things give birth to hate/rivalry between two local clubs.
Competitive nature: If one club is very successful and the other club from the same city is not at their level when they play each other it will still be an derby game but wont have that competitive edge and the bitterness which two equally matched sides usually do. That is why competitive nature of derbies is one of the biggest factor in making a proper rivalry.
Now lets get into some of the greatest football derbies in world football that may or may not be local derbies.
#1. Manchester United vs Liverpool
- City: Liverpool and Manchester
- Country: England
- First Ever Match: 1894
- Head to head Record: Manchester United 84-62 Liverpool
Easily the biggest game in English football but arguably the biggest game in the club football considering the following these two teams have not only in native England but around the world as well. It might not be the local derby from the same city but these two cities are so closed to each other and even before this derby became a thing, these two cities were head to head during industrial revolution.
Over the next few decades these teams enjoyed so much success that these football clubs became absolute arch rivals and divided the country on the matchday.
#2. El Classico – Barcelona vs Real Madrid:
- City: Barcelona and Madrid
- Country: Spain
- First Ever Match: 1902
- Head to head Record: Barcelona 115-102 Real Madrid
Barcelona vs Real Madrid has developed one of the most iconic rivalries not only in Europe but in world football. Hence the word El Classico is used to describe this match. There are several reasons behind this match being absolute pinnacle of club football number 1 being historic rivalry between Spanish and Catalunya region. Then comes these two teams dominating Spanish football for not only years but decades.
#3. Derby della Madonnina (AC Milan vs Inter Milan)
- City: Milan
- Country: Italy
- First Ever Match: 1909
- Head to head Record: AC Milan 82-77 Inter Milan
This one is a special one because it is also a proper local derby. Both clubs hail from the same city of Milan and over the last few decades the have actually shared the stadium called “San Siro”. There is a certain competitive edge to this match as both teams are usually very well matched and you wont find one sided games often in this match.
#4. Old Firm Derby (Rangers vs Celtic)
- City: Glasgow
- Country: Scotland
- First Ever Match: 1888
- Head to head Record: Rangers 167 wins in 426 matches.
Probably the most historic one on the list, Old Firm derby is unique in a sense it hails from the same city, two even matched sides, always fighting for titles in Scotland and absolute hatred towards each other making it one of the most bitter rivalries in world football. The only thing it lacks is iconic footballers as Scottish league will always be in the shadows of English football.
#5. Superclásico (Boca Juniors vs River plate)
- City: Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- First Ever Match: 1913
- Head to head Record: Boca Juniors 89-84 River Plate
Now this one is not as much exposed to rest of the world as other top european derbies but this is as fierst as any derby in world football. Both set of fans cant stand each other and we have below the best documentry available on Superclasico.
#6. Der Klassiker (Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund)
- City: Munich vs Dortmund
- Country: Germany
- First Ever Match: 1965
- Head to head Record: Bayern Munich 62-33 Borussia Dortmund
This one is relatively new and maybe not as competitive as the others we mentioned. However Bayern Munich as good as they have been they need some competition in their native league and Borussia Dortmund is the only team which is able to stand up to Bayern Munich every now and then.
#7. Kıtalararası Derbi (Fenerbahçe vs Galatasaray)
- City: Istanbul
- Country: Turkey
- First Ever Match: 1909
- Head to head Record: Fenerbahce 147 wins in 394 matches
Unlike the top derbies we mentioned in this article, Istanbul derby is pretty unique one to say the least. It divide not only the city, country but the continent. As Istanbul is divided into Asia and Europe.