Best 5 Rivalries Of Football

The best type of rivalries are sports rivalries, be it football or any other sport. A good rivalry adds depth and interest to any would-be mundane match. And it is the same for the sport of football as well. The bigger the rivalry the greater the audience it will gain and create an atmosphere that would make football more beautiful and interesting. The amazing crowd with gigantic banners and the tifos, and the effective passion for the game are unparalleled. Fans stick with their support for the team and rivalries continue to gain the topmost attention. 

So here we’ll discuss the top 5 rivalries/derbies of the world football.







1: El Clàsico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid)


Being the most famous world rivalry, it takes place between two of the biggest football clubs in the world- FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga and sometimes in other competitions too. The teams stake their fame, power, and capital in this rivalry and not to forget this rivalry includes a political base. As Catalonia, which is the region of Spain in which Barcelona resides, battled for independence in the Spanish Civil War, both teams became representative of the ideals and policies of each side in the war. Thus, supporting Real Madrid or Barcelona wasn’t just supporting a soccer team, instead, it was identified as a whole political and cultural movement where Real Madrid is seen as representing Spanish nationalism while Barcelona is seen as representing Catalan nationalism. Real Madrid and Barcelona have been consistently facing showdowns with over 240 competitive matches recorded between them. Their rivalry is one of the most-watched with around 100 million viewers per edition from all over the world.


In this rivalry itself, two of the greatest players the game has ever seen played for opposing sides of the Clásico rivalry during their primes, Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid formerly. Apart from these two, there have been many individuals who used to play for these two clubs making a rivalry between themselves too. The rivalries of El Clasico are considered to be a dramatic ones where fans are always high on emotions and support for their individual bias.

2: The Old Firm Derby (Celtic FC vs Rangers FC)

The Old Firm derby is a long-time rivalry between two of the most successful clubs in the history of Scottish football, Rangers and Celtic which is also a major factor in generating millions of revenue for the economy of Scotland. The rivalry expands from the game of power competitiveness to age-old complex disputes based on religion( Catholicism vs Protestantism) and the national identity of the Irish Scot and the British. Celtic are associated with the Catholic church and Irish Nationalists. Rangers are associated with the Protestant church and Unionists. These differences act as fuel to gear up for intense matches between both teams. Also to watch an old firm derby match you have to be fully prepared to face any upheaval that might occur at any moment because the crowd gets outrageous sometimes to a point to lead to a massive fight that extended onto the pitch in 1980 and involved roughly 9,000 people. In short, it’s an action-packed rivalry that one should watch live at their own risk.

3: Derby Della Madonnina (Inter Milan vs A.C. Milan)

Considered to be the biggest football rivalry in Italy both the clubs call San Siro stadium their home and both clubs imply that they are the best on that pitch. Both teams have enjoyed a lot of success individually with both having 18 Serie A titles. The rivalry is rooted in the class rivalry between the fans where the Inter fans are mainly from the bourgeois class whereas A.C fans are more from the working class. Originally being on a single team, Inter Milan split from A.C Milan over a disagreement over the signing of foreign players. Inter Milan then wanted to sign more international players for the game but A.C Milan and its supporters insisted on a nationalistic feeling by including only Italian players. This disagreement led to the spitting of members and the leaving members created Internazionale Milan with more international players on it.


The stadium is always packed whenever this derby is held and occasional violence is also where fans go berserk like in the 2005 match which was halted when a flare thrown from the Inter crowd hit Milan’s keeper in the shoulder. Both teams have faced each other 296 times in official and unofficial games, and AC Milan holds an advantage with 112 wins.

4: The North West Derby (Liverpool FC. vs Manchester United FC)

The North-West Derby is of the greatest rivalries in English football passionately played between arch-nemesis and two of the most successful English clubs: Manchester United and Liverpool. It is a cross-town clash where both teams have powerful careers with a total of 137 trophies. But the question from where this rivalry originates is who is the best English club? Certainly, both are competing for the top spot at every showdown and the intense stadium environment mirrors the competitiveness. Along with the competition in both industrialization and modernization that goes between Manchester and Liverpool cities, we can see the football rivalry stemming out resulting in the most entertaining as well as sometimes extremely intense matches that leads to supplement to the thrills of fans making it a top-tier rivalry.

5: The Manchester Derby (Manchester City vs Manchester United)


The Manchester derby is played between longtime same city rivals Manchester United and Manchester City and undoubtedly these matches always attract large crowds. This derby gives Manchester City the chance to outshine their more popular rival whereas it also gives Manchester United the chance to show off some of the best English players to compete in the game and to show their dominion in the league. Like many other derbies, this one has also seen a lot of dramatic actions on and off-field between players and not to mention obviously between the fans. One notable game in 2011 saw a large upset as Manchester City won 6-1. Manchester City has always been an obstacle in Manchester United’s season. In recent times, Manchester City has played some top-notch and mesmerizing football while also winning more recent Premier League titles. However till now, Manchester United leads when it comes to the history of both these clubs.

It may look like the United is done but they can bounce back any time and dominate the Premier League again just as they did under Sir Alex.

No matter how deep the rivalry is or how much it matters to the people there should be resp[ect for each other. Rivalries help to make the beautiful game better but there should not be any unfavourable events because of such rivalries. Mutual respect and rivalry is the key to a prosperous league.

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