Top 12 best derbies in football
Derbies have always played a major role in the history of football. Between, these matches are not “simple” matches. Their dramaturgy is different, their stakes are different. These are special encounters that a player or fan will never forget.
“The Eternal Derby” – Belgrade
The Derby of the Serbian capital is certainly the most politicized in Europe. Created the same year, in 1945, the two clubs were destined to hate each other.
While the Red Star, as its name suggests, is an emanation of the Yugoslav Communist Party, its enemy of the Partizan is a creation of the People’s Army of Yugoslavia.
Incidents during matches between the two teams have become a norm in the Balkans.
“The Old Firm” – Glasgow
It is difficult for a club to exist in Scotland because the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is such a burden on the country. On the one hand, a traditionally Protestant club, and on the other hand Catholics close to the Irish community, the inevitable meetings between the two groups – given that the Scottish League has 12 clubs – have led to legendary fields invasions and score-settlements that only Scots people have the secret to.
“The Casablanca Derby” – Casablanca
The derby of the”enemy brothers” is always full at Mohammed V Stadium where Raja and Wydad offer a stylistic opposition between Wydad’s pragmatism and Raja’s technique. The direct encounters between the two Casablanca clubs are often called upon to designate the supremacy of one of the clubs over the whole country and are among the most spectacular “derbies” on the planet.
“Derby della Madonnina”, Milano
The Derby della Madonnina is an expression used in Italy to designate one of the greatest derbies in Italy, the one between the two Milanese football clubs: AC Milan and Inter. The “derby” between the two Milanese clubs is always a very intense match, during which the historical rivalry between the two clubs and their supporters is exacerbated.
Initially, an Englishman, Alfred Edwards, founded the Milan Cricket and Football club in 1899. But in 1908, the Italian federation decided to ban the presence of foreign players in the Italian league, which caused tensions within the club. In reaction, a group of Italians and Swiss created another club and called it Internazionale (International). The former club keeps its title in English but adds Associazone Calcio.
The rivalry began six months later when the first Milanese derby, lost by Inter 2-1, arrived on the pitch. This match is called Derby della Madonnina out of devotion to the little golden Madonna on the rooftops of Milan Cathedral.
Over the years, this opposition has resulted in a difference in culture and ideology between the two clubs. AC Milan is more popular while Inter is more of a bourgeois club, although nowadays the socio-political opposition is more blurred.
“Mersey Derby” – Liverpool
The Liverpool Reds cross paths with Everton’s Bleus every year. A match that doesn’t cost much by bus since the two stadiums are only separated from Stanley Park. This proximity has contributed to making this opposition the “Friendly Derby” since many families have supporters from both clubs.
“El Derbi Madrileño” – Madrid
The match is about the Real Merengue, who have one of the best records in Europe and are associated with the wealthy class of Madrid, against the Colchoneros of Atletico, a team known to be those of the workers and proletarians. However, Real Madrid fans can be found in all classes of Spanish society. This derby is the first in history to be played in the Champions League final, for the 2013-142 season, and then the 2015-16 3 season, both of which saw Real’s victory. It is also the first derby in the history of the UEFA Super Cup, which Atletico won in 2018.
“Fla Flu” in Rio de Janeiro
It is the Maracanã and its 95,000 seats that traditionally host the meetings between Flamengo and Fluminense. The history of the two clubs is indeed linked since the Flamengo football section was formed in the early 1910s with part of the Fluminense workforce that had left the club due to a disagreement with its leaders.
The first meeting took place on 7 July 1912 and Fluminense won three goals to two. Since then, Fla-Flu has gone far beyond the football field, becoming the “clássico”, a popular and colourful event, perceived as an off-season carnival do Brasil.
“Superclásico” – Buenos Aires
River Plate was founded on May 25, 1901, in the La Boca district. Boca Juniors was created on April 3, 1905, in the same district by Genoese immigrants.
The rivalry began following a match on 20 September 1931: the match was stopped after 65 minutes of play following the expulsion of three players and a general fight between the players. There were then clashes between supporters as River Plate fans reportedly burned a Boca Juniors flag. The supporters were then dispersed with tear gas.
Riverplate plays at El Monumental. Boca plays in La Bombonera.
On Sunday, December 9, 2018, River Plate beat Boca Juniors 3-1 in a historic Copa Libertadores final.
“Ktalar Aras Derbi” – Istanbul
The rivalry between Fenerbahce SK and Galatasaray SK refers to the rivalry between two of the main football clubs in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city.
Their confrontations are therefore known as the Istanbul Derby.
This meeting is also sometimes called an “intercontinental derby” because of the location of the two clubs and the city’s position. Indeed, Istanbul is located on either side of the Bosporus Strait, straddling two continents: Europe and Asia.
Galatasaray was the first Turkish club to win a continental cup, the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup, which was followed a few months later by the 2000 UEFA Super Cup. At the end of the 2011-2012 season, both clubs won 19 Turkish Championships. Since May 25, 2015, following Fenerbahce’s defeat, Galatasaray has won its twentieth victory followed by its fourth star. The club is the first to have achieved it.
“Derby of the Eternal Ennemies” – Athens
The rivalry between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos refers to the confrontation between the two most successful Greek football clubs based in Athens (the capital of Greece) or its suburbs. The encounter between the two teams is often called “derby of the eternal enemies”.
Panathinaikos was founded in central Athens in 1908 and quickly became the club of the high society while Thrylos (nickname of Olympiakos in modern Greek meaning legend), born in 1925, was founded in the port district of Piraeus and became the voice of the working class. From now on, the social divide has given way to a strong sporting rivalry in football but also in other sports such as basketball or volleyball.
Nationally, Olympiakos are ahead of Panathinaikos, having won more than twice as many Greek championships (41 against 20) and eight more Greek cups (26 against 18). But on the continental level, only Pana reached a European Cup final: the 1970-1971 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final lost to Ajax Amsterdam.
“Derby Della Capitale” – Roma
The Roman Derby, also known as the Derby Capitolino, Derby del Campidoglio or Derby del Cupolone, refers to the rivalry between the two main football clubs in the city of Rome. It pits AS Roma, which is the team that has won the most derbies and is supported by the majority of Romans, against Lazio, which is the first team born in the city of Rome.
The two clubs currently share the same stadium, the Olympic Stadium. This rivalry is the strongest in Italy and one of the most important in the world with often things going crazy in the stadium.
“Holy War” Krakow
The Holy War is a rivalry in Polish football between Wisła Kraków and KS Cracovia, the two biggest clubs in Kraków and reportedly the oldest in Poland, both founded in 1906.
If this derby is considered one of the hottest, it is because it is one of the most violent. Hooligans have power in Poland. They have all signed the “Poznan Pact” which prohibits knives in stadiums except for two teams… we let you guess which ones. Every year, this match is placed under high tension. The rivalry is both geographical and historical.
What would be your dream derby?