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Top Ten Biggest Football Rivalries

Football RivalriesRivalries in football are nothing new, some have been going on for ages, and some are just for bragging rights. No matter what the case here are the top ten biggest football rivalries in no particular order.

Liverpool vs. Manchester United

Probably the most well known rivalry, Liverpool vs. Manchester United has been a game to see for a long time. This is such a popular rivalry because these are the two best teams in England, with more than 110 trophies combined.

Although in days past fan violence was prominent, these days it’s rare to see fights break out.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

This is yet another age old rivalry and again one of the most popular. Just like Liverpool and Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the two most successful teams in their country of Spain.

This rivalry exists mainly because of the fact that Madrid is coupled with the Spanish royalty and Barcelona sits on its own. There has even been discussion of making Catalonia, the place where Barcelona is located, its own country.

So between the two it’s as if the rich pompous royalty is fighting against the common folk.

Penarol vs. Nacional

This is literally the oldest rivalry in the sport. It spans over a hundred years of competition, pretty amazing yea? Penarol claims 47 tophies and Ncaional claims 41, so you can see why they fight one another.

In fact, this rivalry takes place in Centenario, Uruguay where the very first world cup was played.

Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos

A truly “old school” rivalry based out of Greece, these two teams have one of the meanest game nicknames there is. The Derby of Eternal Enemies or the Mother of all Battles, strikes fear just by itself, but when you add in the fact that this rivalry still faces violent outbursts, it really conjures up some emotions.

Much like Barcelona and Real Madrid these two teams represent different ends of the spectrum. Olympiacos is more of the blue collar working class whereas Panathinaikos represents more of the upper class of Athens Greece.

Al-Ahly vs. Zamalek

This particular rivalry runs so deep that when the two teams play each other officials are typically brought in from different countries entirely to avoid any sort of biased judgments. Although this doesn’t do too much for the fans when they don’t get the call they’d like to get.

The fans have become so unruly here in Cairo, Egypt in the past that even today different routes are strictly managed to make sure the opposing teams fans don’t ever interact with one another.

Partizan vs. Red Star Belgrade

This rivalry makes the list strictly because of the fans in Belgrade, Serbia. While these teams are great in their own right and the two top cities in Serbia, it’s their fans and their derby name that tops them all. Their game’s nick name is the Eternal Derby, pretty ominous eh?

Well along with the great derby name there is a constant threat of fan violence. If you ever attend one of these games be prepared to see a lot of police in full riot gear ready to stomp out the flames of the fans.

Fenerbahçe v. Galatasaray

This is a pretty unique rivalry because they are based out of the same exact city except for one little thing. The Bosporus Strait is what separates them. As with a lot of rivalries these two teams represent the lower and upper class, Fenerbache is associated with the working class and Galatasaray is typically coupled with the upper class of Istanbul, Turkey.

Nowhere else is a rivalry in the same city split simply by a small body of water.

Flamengo v. Fluminense

These two teams are based out of Brazil which is a country we owe great thanks to for the game of soccer itself. When this match is played both teams go at it full throttle, and not to mention they have a, well, cute name for their rivalry.

Depending on which team you support you can switch it around but it’s Flu – Fla, or Fla – Flu. Obviously this is just the name of the teams shortened but still, kind of funny isn’t it?

AC Milian vs. Inter

Another great rivalry that spans just over 100 years, it is said that this whole rivalry started around 1908. Always a very exciting match both of these teams calls the Stadio San Siro, the stadium, in Milian, Italy their home.

Although these matches aren’t typically known for being the biggest or most violent, the games are played fiercely and with full heartedly.

Esteghlal v. Persepolis

This is another interesting rivalry for a couple reasons, the first being that it is held at one of the world’s biggest stadiums, in Tehran, Iran, with a capacity somewhere around 90,000 people. Another reason is because it dates back to the late 60’s and at that time both teams were known by different names.

Possibly the most interesting fact about this rivalry is that there are no women allowed in the stadium. This ban was lifted very briefly in 2006 just to be put back in order and still stands today.

Soccer rivalries will never die and some last literally over a hundred years with another possible 100 on the way. Get out there and support your team, be sure to wear the right colors and join in all the chants badgering the opposing team. Don’t keep switching your alliance or you may be labeled as a fraud and targeted on your own.

Fri 4 Jun, 2010
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  1. Glenn says:

    How have you not got Celtic Rangers in this list?

  2. Brad says:

    exactly Glenn. Celtics-Rangers really should’ve been top 3.

  3. what about queretaro vs puebla.lolz
    or the lakers vs celtics

  4. Brad says:


  5. shaunak says:

    another unknown rivalry has been watched by 100,000 people at least twice a year since 1925 in one of the largest stadiums in the world in calcutta. the mohun bagan ac vs east bengal fc – the calcutta derby. can be added to the list in spirit not for quality. anyone who has been to one of the matches will know how big this derby is.

  6. BenJ says:

    This is terrible. Rangers vs. Celtic should be number 1, easily. It’s been going on roughly 120 years, and is most definately the fiercest out there.

  7. Suarez L. says:

    Missing also AFC Ajax Amsterdam – Feyenoord Rotterdam

  8. bobby says:


    River Plate vs Boca Junior

  9. Suarez fTW! says:

    Ajax- Feyenoord
    and river plate- boca
    should have been in it

  10. Jeffrey-what about chelsea and arsenal.i can't believe u guys forgot.thats bad says:

    Chelsea and arsenal should have been 5th

  11. C.ronaldo says:


  12. Brad says:

    An honorable mention could’ve gone to L.A. Galaxy vs. Chivas USA. it’s not a top ten rivalry, but it’s a surprisingly fierce one all the same.

  13. Sk says:

    What about Orlando Parate and Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa

  14. Ruhpott says:

    Schalke 04 vs Borussia Dortmund!

  15. Billy says:

    What planet are we living on? The biggest and oldest local derby must be Celtic v Rangers. It splits a city down the middle, it splits a country down the middle what other match can do that?

  16. Mike says:

    Old Firm (Celtic v Rangers) and
    El Clasico (River Plate v Boca Juniors)
    are the top 2 in the world. They top the list of sporting events to attend before one dies.

  17. athan says:

    olympiakos v panathinaikos 1)-rangers v celtic 2)-barca v real 3)-river v boca 4)red star v partizan 5)TOP 5. u cant imagine the hate of greek rivalry…u got to live the atmosphere to understand..

  18. athan says:

    take a taste of olympiakos fans…at stamford bridge

  19. emile says:


  20. ETUK KERE says:

    AS ROMA – LAZIO should be no 8

  21. Airton says:

    Come on, what about…

    BOCA x RIVER ???


  22. raymen says:

    this list is missing 4 MAJORRRR rivalries:

    & OLD FIRM

  23. tom says:

    Derby vs forest

    Villa vs Birmingham are both crazy

  24. Joel says:

    River V Boca and
    America V Chivas
    Should have been their

  25. Brad says:

    tom your right about villa vs. birmingham. dont forget either one of those two against west brom, i’ve seen some pretty violent games between these three

  26. Maradona vs Pele should be on d list.

  27. Brad says:

    nah, just Maradona.

  28. Daniel says:

    Celtic v rangers #1 easily

  29. Jevgeni says:

    What about Spartak Moscow – CSKA Moscow???

  30. Sebo says:

    Celtic and Rangers but also Tottenham and Arsenal, there rivalry has been around way longer and has way more fights then then liverpool and man united’s. The soft rivalries are formed over trophies like Liverpool and Man United’s but the hardcore rivalries are over land, religion and cultural differences.

  31. AussieEverton says:

    Easily Celtic and Rangers. how could they forget but seriously you and they are forgetting one rivalry that will always be the king. the Everton FC vs Liverpool FC. without a doubt top 5. some of them on there are pretty stupid though

  32. damion says:

    tottenham and arsenal

  33. what about chivas vs america!!!!!!!!! they r the best but america are the best

  34. Carlos says:

    Who cares how old your rivilry is becouse boca v river is the most passionate and dangerous macthes too attend in the whole world. It also gets viwers from everywhere in the world expetioly the entire continent of south america so. Yea it’much bigger than the ones in England

  35. olamilekan says:

    rivalries;chelsea vs manchester united
    madrid vs barcelona
    arsenal vs mancity
    everton vs liverpool
    inter vs milan fc

  36. gabriel says:

    Vasco x Flamengo is way bigger than Flamengo x Fluminense. In Brazil, Fla-Flu would be the tenth rivalry if we put in ranking of rivalries

  37. Gustavo CL says:

    It’s Fla-Flu regardless of who you’re a fan of.

    Apparently Flamengo vs. Fluminense is very highly rated abroad (maybe because of the funny name) but here in Brazil it is controversial if it is even the biggest rivalry in Rio de Janeiro. It would be Flamengo vs. Vasco da Gama. Vasco has more fans and imporant titles than Fluminense.

    There is not a clear rivalry that stands above the others in Brazil. Besides the ones mentioned there are Corinthians vs. Palmeiras (Sao Paulo), Grêmio vs. Internacional (Porto Alegre) and Cruzeiro vs. Atlético Mineiro (Belo Horizonte).

  38. mus96 says:

    Where is manchster united vs manchester city??

  39. youba derhem says:

    this list is bulshit the morrocan casablanca derby between wydad and raja is the best in africa the fifa says it i dont know why theres the egyptian derby in the list

  40. mmp says:

    Inter and Ac Milan keep on exchanging soccer players and even managers, that’s NOT rivalry anymore, that’s ridiculous. rome vs lazio it is something yet running somehow

  41. john bhoy says:

    Celtic v Rangers not being included on that list is laughable!? Surely the oldest, fiercest rivalry in Europe if not the world????

  42. Jovan says:

    Red star vs Partizan should at least be second. Why? Well sometimes fans carry rocket launchers to matches. The loosing side always starts a riot and sets the stadium on fire. This rivalry divides its country. All the other rivalries are like a birthday party compared to red star vs Partizan

  43. Michael says:

    DERBY ETERNAL : SPORTING CP – SL BENFICA, in Lisbon – Portugal

  44. fuzzy says:

    ’m Not From A Country That play Much Football,I’m From a Country Obsessed With More Like Cricket…But I do Watch Football
    According To me Top 5 most extreme Rivalries Are
    1.Machester united vs Real Madrid
    2. Liverpool vs Manchester United
    3.Barcelona vs Real Madrid
    4.Chelsea vs arsenal
    5.Boca vs River
    I would Enjoy These Teams Playing With eachother 🙂

  45. lennon#1 says:

    i am celtic fan but not seeing old firm on that list is unbelievable
    over 50 arrests inside ground and over 40 casulties during every game
    should be number 1
    and who is number 3 and 10 never evan heard of them

  46. Power says:

    Anybody who has studied Spanish football (as I have) would know that Real Betis vs. Sevilla is the most heated match in the country. If a Sevilla fan gets in a taxi and the driver is a Betis fan they will often refuse to drive and sometimes resort to violence. Look it up…

  47. celtic v rangers? says:

    celtic v rangers? one of the most violent rivalries out there guys?? cmon

  48. AJ says:

    Partizan vs Red star enough said country is divided on these two teams you either support one or the other there is no other option. English rivalries arent what they use to be. And this dude posting these rivalries between united and real madrid should shoot him self, clearly a cricket fan. and i agree celtic v. rangers definetly top 5 in my mind

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