In the world of sports, football is way more exciting when it comes to two rivalries facing each other. The biggest football derbies are kind of special, because they always have a lot of passion, high level of winning spirit and mentality.
Speaking of football in Europe’s top-5 leagues, there are many derbies in those leagues, but not everyone is special.
The Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, and others have the biggest football derbies of all time.
Of course, most of these matches always result in fights with many yellow and red cards. It’s usually tough and rough in those derby games.
Aside from that, there are some matches that aren’t literally derbies. However, they normally face each other with a high level of winning spirit.
For instance, Manchester City vs Liverpool isn’t a derby game. Nevertheless, it’s always tough and tense between the two teams.
Obviously, the Premier League have many big teams, so winning the league title isn’t attached to one or two teams.
What’s a derby in football?
A derby football match can be described as a fixture between two football clubs that are close to each other geographically.
In other words, it can be defined as a match between local rivals, that is, teams from the same city or the same part of the country.
Of course, AC Milan and Inter Milan are very close to each other in Italy, and they are one of the biggest football derbies of all time.
The two Serie A sides always face each other with a high level of winning mentality, usually go tough on each other.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid cannot be considered a derby, because they aren’t from the same city or region.
However, they are seen as one of the biggest rivals in Europe’s top-5 leagues, because they are the most successful clubs in La Liga.
Therefore, Barcelona vs Espanyol is a derby game, same thing applies to Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid.
In layman’s terms, a football derby can be said to be a match between two neighboring clubs in the same city.
Here are the top 9 biggest football derbies of all time
9. The Superclásico
Boca Juniors vs River Plate
The two football teams are from the same city, which is Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, so it’s a derby.
Apparently, Boca Juniors and River Plate aren’t playing in Europe’s top-7 leagues. However, their derby is always 90 minutes long.
The Superclásico is more like AC Milan vs Inter Milan. They don’t go easy on each other throughout the game, regardless of the competition.
As expected, Boca Juniors have the most wins (90) in Superclásico history, but River Plates Reinaldo Merlo, has the most appearances (42).
8. Derby of Eternal Enemies
Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos
Only few football fans know that every game between the above two teams is a derby, always a tough one.
Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos is a football derby in Athens’ urban area, the two most successful clubs in Greece.
Judging from the name ‘derby of eternal enemies’. The game is always tough and rough, as they are from the same area in Greece.
However, the Olympiacos have the most wins (86) in the Derby’s history. Even though they are out of Europe’s top-7 leagues, it’s usually an interesting derby.
7. The Intercontinental Derby
Fenerbahçe vs Galatasaray
Of course, the two teams normally play in European competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, and others.
As a result, the intercontinental derby is considered the biggest football match in Turkey, having been in the same league.
Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray are literally the most popular clubs in the Turkish League, always a tough one as well.
Regardless, Fenerbahçe have the most wins of the intercontinental derby, which is 148, with Zeki Rıza Sporel as the top scorer (27).
6. The Old Firm Derby
Celtic vs Rangers
This is another one of the famous derbies of all time, even though they are out of Europe’s top-5 leagues.
Celtic and Rangers are from the same city, Glasgow, so any game between the two of them is tagged the “old firm derby.”
The two sides are literally the most successful teams in Scotland, showing their level of rivalry.
Nevertheless, Rangers have the most wins (168) in the old firm derby, usually face Celtic with a high level of winning spirit.
5. Derby della Capitale
AS Roma vs Lazio
This is a football derby between the two clubs in Rome, as they are playing in the same league, Serie A.
It’s always a tough and rough 90 minutes between the two Italian teams, with a lot of yellow or red cards.
Speaking of the 2022-2023, the previous Derby della Capital ended in a 1-0 victory in favor of Lazio.
However, both Serie A sides received red cards, and they both finished the game with 10 men on the pitch.
4. The Merseyside Derby
Liverpool vs Everton
Regardless of their ranking, this is one of the most watched derbies in the Premier League, always a tough one.
Of course, the two English teams reside in Liverpool, and they are very close to each other. That’s why it’s called the Merseyside Derby.
The Reds have the most wins (98) in the derby’s history, with Ian Rush being the top goal-scorer (25).
The previous Merseyside derby in 2022-2023 ended in a 2-0 victory for Liverpool, which took place at Anfield.
3. The North London Derby
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
Apparently, this is one of the most toughest derbies in Europe’s top-5 leagues, particularly in the Premier League.
Both the Gunners and the Spurs are based in North London, England. Therefore, it’s a derby between them in any football game.
Even though it’s a FA or Carabao Cup game, it’s always a North London derby, and they don’t go easy on each other.
Arsenal have the most victories (81) and Tottenham’s Harry Kane is the highest goal-scorer in the derby.
2. The Manchester Derby
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Of course, the two English sides are from Manchester, which is literally the fiercest derby in the English League.
Even though Manchester United are literally more successful than the Citizens, they don’t hold back against each other.
Regardless of the competition, it’s always a tough derby between Manchester City and Manchester United.
However, the Red Devils have the most wins in the Manchester derby, which is 78, with Ryan Giggs as the player with the most appearances (36).
1. Derby Della Madonnina
AC Milan vs Inter Milan
Just like the Manchester derby, the two Serie A sides are based in Milan, Italy, and play in the same league.
The Derby Della Madonnina is somehow older than any other derby in Europe’s top-5 leagues, having been around for so many years.
Just like AS Roma and Lazio, the Milan derby usually ends with many cards, both yellow and red.
It’s considered the best among the biggest derbies of all time, because it always ends in a fight.
Other football biggest rivalries that aren’t derbies
1. El Clásico
Barcelona vs Real Madrid
This is just a football match between rival clubs, it’s not a derby because they aren’t in the same city.
The name “El Clásico” is given to any game between Barcelona and Real Madrid, because they are the most successful in Spanish football.
Even though it’s not really a derby, it always comes with a lot of sweat, passion, and winning mentality.
2. Der Klassiker
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund
This is very similar to El Clásico, because they aren’t based in the same city. However, they are rivals.
Der Klassiker isn’t a derby, but it seems like one. It’s a 90-minute match between the two most successful teams in German football.
Bayern Munich have the most wins with 65, with Robert Lewandowski as the top goal-scorer with 32.
3. Le Classique
Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille
This is a rivalry game that’s similar to El Clásico and Der Klassiker, because it’s never a derby match.
PSG and Marseille are considered the most successful teams in French football, so it’s always rough between them.
Paris Saint-Germain have the most wins, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the top goal-scorer (11), having left Parc des Princes for many years.