Soccer is a passionate game for the tradition of the sport and it’s long history, there are teams that have been around since the 1800’s. One thing that makes soccer unique above all other sports is the intense rivalries that are on display in some of the leagues around the world.
River Plate - Boca Juniors, Real Madrid - Barcelona, Manchester United vs Manchester City, are just some of the cases of over 100 years of rivalries and passion. These games capture the world’s attention for the play on the field and the spectacle in the stands.
If you’re traveling and want to catch a game, try to book your trip around the time of a great soccer rivalry. You won’t regret it. Here are 15 of World soccer’s biggest derbies!
15. Nacional vs Peñarol
The Uruguayan clasico is one of the fiercest rivalries in the world. Uruguay is nearly split down the middle as 85% of the country are either fans of Nacional or Peñarol. The games resemble more of a karate match with a soccer ball than fluid attacking soccer. Still, the atmosphere in every game is incredible.
14. Benfica vs. F.C. Porto
Two of the three biggest clubs in Portugal, Benfica and F.C. Porto have fielded legendary players during their histories. A rivalry similar to Nacional and Peñarol due to Benfica and F.C. Porto’s dominance in the Portuguese league, when these two clubs clash passions run high!
13. Ajax vs Feyenoord
A rivalry that has been made famous by its intense fan violence, the Netherland’s biggest match between Ajax and Feyenoord has a rough history. Ajax are usually heavy favorites in this match but that doesn’t stop Feyenoord from leaving it all on the field.
12. Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid
The Madrid derby has gained a lot of attention in recent years with the vast improvement of Atlético Madrid. Now these matches are just as intense and interesting as Barcelona vs Real Madrid, and it is not uncommon anymore to see world class players on both Madrid teams. While always intense, these games mean a lot more today as Atlético Madrid are now direct competitors with Real Madrid.
11. Manchester United vs Manchester City
Similar to the Madrid derby, the Manchester derby has gained more notoriety over the years with the global dominance of Manchester City. Both clubs are two of the most heavily supported teams in the world, and when they meet, millions from around the world are glued to their televisions. The Manchester derby is the pinnacle of what the Premier League has become a spectacle that honors its tradition but is as modern as the latest iPhone.
10. Flamengo vs Fluminense
The Fla–Flu derby is one of the biggest matches in Brazilian soccer, not only that, but the matches are also played in the mythical Maracanã Stadium. Fans show up hours before the game to have the “war in the stands” as each side sings for their team, then the games are as beautiful as they are brutal, bringing out the best and at times worst of Brazilian soccer. The Fla–Flu derby has shattered attendance records as many games in the 20th century were attended by 120-150,000 fans.
9. Lazio vs Roma
The Rome Derby of Italy’s Serie A pits the two biggest clubs in Rome against each other: Lazio - Roma. The games are tough and hard fought with the intensity of playing in the Eternal City. If you are ever in Rome for one of these matches it’s a dream experience.
8. Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos
Greek soccer may be second tier, but Olympiacos and Panathinaikos is first rate, the derby is called “Derby of the eternal rivals”, images of flares, chants, and when things get too intense match suspensions are common when these giants of Greek soccer hook up. Well worth the price of admission and the caution you need to take when seeing this match live.
7. Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich
German soccer’s marquee match, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are great matches to watch, high scoring, well played, everything the Bundesliga wants to sell across the world. Borussia Dortmund is at times steps behind Bayern Munich, but the games are as intense as they come.
6. Liverpool vs Manchester United
Maybe the two most traditional and successful clubs of English soccer, Liverpool and Manchester United were big clubs long before the money of billionaires came to the Premier League. A match of pure bragging rights, be it at Old Trafford or Anfield the experience will raise the hair on your arms.
5. Fenerbahçe vs Galatasaray
The Turkish derby is as intense as they come, flares, smoke bombs, and goals, the passion in the stands is what makes this match so intense and eye pleasing. The crowd at these games can get a bit intense and whoever wins the match, it was said once celebrate by shooting guns in the air. A unique experience.
4. Inter Milan vs AC Milan
The Milan derby not only pits the two biggest clubs in Milan but at one point two of the biggest clubs in the World. The games are played in the legendary and beautiful San Siro stadium. The rivalry was made even more famous when a scooter was thrown from the stands and a Champions League game was suspended due to flares being thrown.
3. Celtic vs Rangers
Scotland can boast that they have one of World Soccer’s greatest rivalries, hell they can boast they have one of the best matches in ANY sport. The Old Firm derby dates back to the 1800’s and has a lot of cultural and religious undertones, Celtic fans are generally and largely Catholic while Rangers are Protestant.
2. Barcelona vs Real Madrid
The Spanish Clasico, one of the biggest soccer games in the world, legends have played this match, Diego Maradona, Hugo Sanchez, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Figo, Johan Cruyff, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. The best of the best suit up for Barcelona and Real Madrid and be it at the Camp Nou or the Santiago Bernabéu the stage is perfect for such a great match.
1. River Plate vs Boca Juniors
The most passionate and intense soccer rivalry in the world belongs to River Plate and Boca Juniors. The Argentine Super Clasico is a must see for any sports fan, a game that truly showcases the history, passion, and different aspects of a society like a River - Boca. World renowned for the passion in the stands, the game is a show be it from the fans to the players on the field, to how a city transforms itself in preparation.