Who are the biggest European football rivalries?
Rivalry in sports is part of the fueling enthusiasm that gives a sense of belonging and meaning of which football is no exception. Die-hard soccer fans of different clubs in Europe have that one team they dare not lose to. Defeat is a sin beyond forgiveness to these fans whenever their favourites are up against rival teams.
SportyTell has ranked the top-20 domestic rivalries in European football. Matches between these rivals are the most enthralling to look out for in the calendar.
Here are the famous European football rivalries
20. Hajduk Split vs. Dinamo Zagreb
The rivalry between these two teams is unending. ‘Eternal Derby’ a title coined for the clash of these football titans in the Croatian league is one of the superior and intense clash in European football. The Bad Blue Boys of Dinamo’s owing to the fact they come from the capital always sees victory as a right they owned over Hajduk.
19. Olympiakos vs. Panathinaikos
The ‘Derby of the Eternal Enemies’ a name given to this rivalry is fitting to its literal meaning. The rivalry between these two clubs which happens to be placed in Greece stretches beyond the football horizon and exist in other sporting activities. Both clubs have enjoyed a substantial amount of success in football with Olympiakos having over 40 league trophies to its credits and Panathinaikos being crowned Greece league champions over 15 times, still, it’s a hot tussle whenever the two teams play, sometimes resulting in violence among fans.
18. Partizan Belgrade vs. Red Star Belgrade
If you were one who watched football just for the fun of it, this is one derby you shouldn’t miss. Off and on the pitch, the rivalry between these two European clubs features intense drama. The fact both teams are just a stone throw from each other magnifies the intensity of the rivalry they share. Whenever a Belgrade derby is about to go down, violence is surely part of the norm with parks converted to battlefields among fans.
17. Fk Velez vs. HSK Zrinjski
Although not one of the most popular derby in Europe, however, it is one of the fiercest. It is a win-or-die kind of play between opposition players in this encounter. Political differences in the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina largely influence the ardent competitiveness of this derby.
16. Celtic vs. Rangers
The financial crisis has taken a toll on Rangers and has affected the rivalry it shared with Celtic, with both sides not having met in the past six years. Nevertheless, there was more to their rivalry and football happens to be just another tool to settle the supremacy.
15. Benfica vs. Sporting
The Portuguese sides have spent longer than usual in the top flight than any other club in the league’s history, aside Porto and so, therefore, have built an intense rivalry over the decades. Despite the stunning stats of Benfica over Sporting, whenever the sides meet, stats and records are unreliable as spectators are in for a threshold of surprises.
14. Galatasaray vs. Fenerbache
A match between Galatasaray and Fenerbache is undoubtedly Istanbul’s biggest derby. The two Turkish clubs shares a fierce rivalry and is one of the most sought after match in the Turkish league calendar.
13. Ajax vs. Feyenoord
The most successful club in the Dutch league is Ajax, having at least 30 league titles. But a match with Feyenoord is nothing short of a breathtaking war of soccer. The tension and violence are often a feature that comes along with this rivalry. It surpasses any other sports rivalry in the whole of the Netherlands.
12. Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke
Both clubs are local rivals from the Ruhr region in Germany, and as next-door neighbours to each other, it all spurs the rivalry more intense. Fans live and die for the outcome of this explosive match whenever they meet.
11. Legia Warsaw vs. Wisla Krakow
The rivalry between the two clubs stem from historical division and thus has come into play in its football life. Whenever both side clash, it is much more than just two soccer team playing the game of football. It is more of a justification to historical dispute and whoever wins likely has made a point of supremacy.
10. Roma vs. Lazio
Rome as the capital of Italy is home to two of the biggest soccer clubs, Roma and Lazio. There’s a never-ending rivalry between the Italian football powerhouse. Both teams are always vying to outdo each other, in terms of achievements in the sport.
9. AC Milan vs. Inter Milan
The rivalry between AC Milan and Inter was birth after a disagreement of the signing of foreign players led to the founding of a new club, Inter. Since then, matches between the two teams have been more of a revenge kind of derby. Although Milan has achieved more European success compared to Inter, the recent form of inter looks to level that achievement.
8. Liverpool vs. Everton
In March 1892, a disagreement between Everton Football Club and owner of Anfield stadium, President John Houlding over rent issues led to Everton relocating to Goodison Park. Houlding left with an empty stadium, founded Liverpool F.C. That altercation became a seed of rivalry between both teams. Not as intense as other European football rivalries, both clubs, however, input their very best whenever they clash.
7. Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Sociedad
Both clubs from the same region share a strong rivalry. A match between both teams is greatly looked forward, with wins from any side summing up to bragging rights amongst supporters.
6. Manchester United vs. Manchester City
The reds and the blues have never been rivals until the recent amazing form of Manchester City, which saw Manchester United losing the prestigious Premier League title that was usually won by them to the men in blues in recent past seasons. That bore the heated rivalry between both teams.
5. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
With Atletico Madrid’s intriguing form in recent years, their rivalry has sparked renewed intensity. The clash of the two capital clubs has always featured a match filled with tension and exhilarating gameplays.
4. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Marseille
The two teams are from two of France’s largest cities and share a heated rivalry. ‘Le Classique’ the name given to this intense clash lives up to its name as it showcases the best of football and never fails to thrill spectators.
3. Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur
One of the biggest derbies in London shares an intense hatred towards each other as fans of both teams would jab at the slightest of opportunity to throw shades at each other. However, Arsenal has often come on top of this rivalry, but Tottenham’s recent form looks intimidating enough to balance the scale.
2. Liverpool vs. Manchester United
It is always a contest of the greats when these two most successful football clubs in England take to the pitch. The rivalry between the reds has grown more intense in recent years especially with the fact that Manchester United overtook Liverpool in its pride record of holding the most Premier League titles.
1. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
This is notably one of the most sought after European football rivalry ever. Cities come to a standstill to watch the clash of these phenomenal soccer teams. ‘El Clasico’ as it is often called has been the most-watched and famous derby ever. A contributing factor is a fact that both teams field the best footballers in the world. That makes the El Clasico even more exciting.
What are your thoughts on our ranking of the top-20 famous European football rivalries? Feel free to share in the comments section below.