THE LIST: The greatest rivalries in club football, Nos 10-1By Matt Fortune
Last updated at 12:01 AM on 18th September 2009
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WHAT IS THE GREATEST RIVALRY IN CLUB FOOTBALL?
This week’s LIST on Sportsmail Online runs down the top 50 rivalries in club football across the globe. The usual suspects should dominate the top 10, surely, but do you agree with the selections of our team? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK From Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and London. Rome to Rio and Buenos Aires.
Most cities have football clubs where derby day is the main event in the calendar for fans, publicans, pundits and police.
But some of the greatest football rivalries make no sense geographically.
Supporters of teams across the world look forward to traveling miles and miles just to earn the bragging rights for another season.
So, whatever the background to the biggest grudge matches, Sportsmail’s team of experts have put their heads together to come up with the 50 greatest clashes that really get the blood boiling.
Join us for our countdown to No 1.
Read Nos 50-41Read Nos 40-31Read Nos 30-21 Read Nos 20-11
10 Palmeiras v Corinthians
The story of Brazil’s greatest football rivalry begins with a group of Europeans who would later become known as the ‘betrayers’. The rebel members split from Corinthians to create a sports club for Italians, known as Palestra Italia, and later just simply Palestra (Palmeiras). As the years passed honours and fans were split between the two great football clubs. True to Brazilian culture, the fixture is awash with colour and sound.
VIDEO: Watch it all kick off after an a rather un-Brazilian tackle in the Palmeiras-Corinthians derby…
9 Olympiakos v Panathinaikos
Billed as a clash between the ‘eternal enemies’ of Greek Football, passions run high on and off the field in Athens. History favours Olympiakos, the traditionally working-class club, with 12 of the last 13 domestic titles. In an echo of other European leagues, political forces are present in the club’s respective corridors of power, which simply adds to the tension in the city.
Welcome: Panathinaikos players try to dodge missiles thrown from the Olympiakos end
8 Roma v Lazio
It is perhaps surprising that such a devilish rivalry can exist in a city shared with God’s top man. Yet when Rome’s best sides lock horns, all hell breaks loose. Politics and proximity have equal claim to be the source of the hate, but historically it is the decision of Lazio not to merge with three other clubs from the capital, and so creating AS Roma, that began the rift.
VIDEO: See a West Ham legend goad fans in the Rome derby
7 Liverpool v Manchester United
A struggle for the Best of British title has kept these two adversaries in battle for over a half a century. United’s dominance of the Premier League era has hauled them level with the Merseysiders on 18 domestic titles while Liverpool trump their rivals on the Continent with five European Cups to three. Culturally, too, an industrial rivalry exists between the two beacons of England’s north-west.
Lancashire hot pot: Wayne Rooney gets a kick from Javier Mascherano at Old Trafford
6 Ajax v Feyenoord
They say opposites attract. Holland’s most successful clubs certainly don’t think so. On one side, the cultural, historical and liberal socialist capital of Amsterdam with a club famed for championing ‘the beautiful game’. On the other is Rotterdam, a rugged, industrial city, which was the birthplace of Pim Fortuyn’s anti-immigration party, and home to Feyenoord. As a result violent fan clashes have long marred occasions when the two sides meet.
Mustard gas: Fans make it a colourful clash between Ajax and Feyenoord in Amsterdam in February
5 Barcelona v Real Madrid
You traitor: Barcelona fans throw a pig’s head on to the pitch for Figo’s return to the Nou Camp with Real
‘El Classico’ never fails to live up to its name. Throughout the years the fixture has brought together the planets finest footballers – Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Romario, Cruyff – in two of the world’s most formidable stadiums. Politically, too, it pits the capital of Spain against the capital of Catalonia, a fiercely independent region in the north-west of the country. Crossing the divide is hardly recommended, as Luis Figo found out. After a world record move from the Nou Camp to the Bernabeu fans threw a pig’s head at him.
Fiery reception: A poster of Figo is set alight
Serbs you right: Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic (centre) gets stuck into Partizan Belgrade during his time with Red Star
4 Partizan Belgrade v Red Star Belgrade
Out of the ashes of the Second World War, two teams were created in Belgrade. FK Partizan became the central club of the Yugoslav Army and Red Star were the civil adversary. Both can lay claim to being the supreme team in the country – it has largely been a duopoly since their inception – although Red Star’s European Cup title in 1991 sets them apart. However in a country were the game is rife with corruption allegations, this once great on-field battle has left its better days in the past.
3 Celtic v Rangers
The religious undercurrent to the Old Firm derby makes it unlike in any other fixture in the world. Away from the obvious antipathy that exists between two dominant clubs in the same city, there is a long and passionate rivalry that goes beyond the confines of the stadium. Celtic are the Catholic club with routes entrenched in Ireland while the Protestant faction of the city are linked strongly with Rangers. Between them they dominate Scottish football in a way that has led for calls for them to join the English Premier League.
Scottish grit: Rangers striker Kris Boyd shows little sympathy as Celtic’s Darren O’Dea takes a tumble
2 Fenerbahce v Galatasaray
Sparks are bound to fly when football clubs are added to a city separated by a mass of water, especially when the city straddles Europe and Asia. Istanbul’s dominant sides were founded two years apart and a social rift soon added spice to the rift already created by geography. Gala were seen by many as a club for the aristocracy with Fener the ‘people’s club’.
Turkish delights: Fenerbahce’s Ugur Boral (right) tries to hold off Umit Karan Sabri Sarioglu of Galatasaray
Boca Juniors’ Cristian Chavez (left) vies River’s Oscar Ahumada at a colourful La Bombonera (below)
1 Boca Juniors v River Plate
Spain has ‘El Classico’, Argentina has ‘il Superclasico’. And what an occasion it is. Like many other fiercely contested same-city fixtures, social resentment is as much the catalyst as proximity. From humble beginnings in the La Boca neighbourhood, River detracted to the aristocratic suburb of Nunez, earning the nickname ‘Los Millonarios’. Juniors, meanwhile, remained in the poor suburb. The entire country is gripped for days in the lead up to match day and the game kicks-off so too do 90 minutes of ear-bursting and nerve-jangling atmosphere. The fixture was recently listed as one of the 50 sporting events to attend before you die.

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