Top Ten Biggest Football Rivalries

football rivalries

There are football rivalries and there are FOOTBALL RIVALRIES!

Some go much deeper than your average “grudge match”. Here we explore some of the biggest football rivalries in the world.

1- Celtic vs Rangers

If you are lucky enough to experience ‘The Old Firm’ first hand, you’ll know what we mean. It’s deafening. The religious undertone to this match makes it cut much deeper for some fans Celtic is the Catholic club with strong routes and upbringing from Ireland, while Rangers are strongly protestant.

2- Arsenal vs Tottenham

Its the North London derby though technically, Arsenal are from Woolwich in south London originally. Spurs fans see them as trying to claim their territory. Always a fierce edge-of-seat match. It’s great from a neutral spectator’s point of view.


3- Panathinaikos vs Olympiakos

Billed as a clash between the ‘eternal enemies’ of Greek Football, this game sees passions run high on and off the pitch. Olympiakos dominate this rivalry having won 14 league titles out of 15. Much like other European leagues, political forces are the forefront of power for both of these clubs.

4- AC Milan vs Inter Milan

AC Milan was formed by a group of English immigrants in 1899 but, citing disapproval at a lack of international personnel, some disgruntled members broke away to form a city rival, hence the new name Internazionale.

5- Palmerias vs Corinthians

Brazil’s biggest rivalry stems from Europe who would later be referred to as ‘the betrayers’. Rebel members split from Corinthians to create a team for Italians, known as the Palestra Italia, developing into simply Palestra (Palmerias). As the years passed honours and fans were split between the two great football clubs. Just like the culture, this rivalry is full of colour and sound.

6- Lazio vs Roma

The Olympico is shared by the two clubs, but there is very little else that they agree on. Polotics have a big say in this clash as well as the proximity to which they play one another. but historically it is the decision of Lazio not to merge with three other clubs from the capital, and so creating AS Roma, this is what really sparked the rivalry to begin.

7-  Manchester United vs Liverpool

The Best of British, it is always the most eagerly anticipated game in the Premier League. United’s dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson as seen them over take Liverpool with 20 titles to Liverpool’s 18. Liverpool do trump United with 5 European titles to United’s 3. Last season saw Liverpool run out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford and it was 1 of the final nails in the coffin for David Moyes.

8- Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

These two clubs are only separated by a mass of water. Istanbul’s two dominant sides were created only 2 years apart that adds extra spice to a rivalry that is already fierce due to its geography. Gala were seen by many as a club for the aristocracy with Fener the ‘people’s club’. English fans will remember Graeme Souness famousely running onto the Fenerbahce pitch and planting a Gala flag right on the centre circle after Gala had beaten Fener in the Turkish cup final of 1996.

9- Barcelona vs Real Madrid

‘El Classico’ globally is the most hyped and watched game in the World. The finest footballers in the land have played in this fixture, including Ronaldinho, Cruyff, Zidane, Maradona, Romario to name but a few. Switching teams is certainly frowned upon, as Luis Figo found out when a pigs head was thrown onto the pitch when returning to the Nou Camp having signed for Real Madrid.

10-  Boca Juniors v River Plate

Spain has ‘El Classico’, Argentina has ‘El SuperClasico’. Pure social hatred as well as proximity is prominent in this rivalry. It is meant to be 1 of the best atmospheres in the World and the build-up to this game can start weeks before the nerve jangling 90 minutes. The fixture was recently listed as one of the 50 sporting events to attend before you die.