Cleats logo

Biggest Soccer Club Rivalries in the World

The biggest soccer club rivalries in the world will remind you that to many, soccer isn't just a sport; it's about history, lifestyle, and success.

By Stephen ClearyPublished 5 years ago 5 min read

From Barcelona vs Real Madrid all the way to Manchester United vs Manchester City, these are the top ten biggest soccer club rivalries in the world. What makes up these rivalries? The first is either a historic, economic, or industrial rivalry, and what brings fuel to the fire behind their fans. Second, is the success of the teams, giving their fans reason to be a ride-or-die fandom. And last, is a combination of these two, which will ultimately create some of the longest, and most intense rivalries in the soccer world.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid

The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, or El Clasico, is first on our list of the biggest soccer club rivalries for many reasons. One of the most nail-biting derbies in the world, Barcelona and Real Madrid are both two giants of Spanish soccer, from two of the biggest cities in Spain.

With such legendary players like Raul and Ronaldinho, as well as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the teams both have huge reputations to uphold, which is what makes the rivalry so intense. El Clasico provides games that everyone has to watch, even if they aren't Real Madrid or El Clasico fans themselves.

Boca Juniors vs River Plate

Boca Juniors vs River Plate is next on our list of the biggest soccer club rivalries. El Superclasico was the name that was given to the rivalry between the Beanos Aires clubs. Both being Argentine giants, many would even go as far to say that they have some of the most passionate fanbases of the world.

With an incredibly long history of rivalry, their games have supporters who have huge differences in both social and political issues, certainly amping up the tension, plus geographical conflicts. This means that the games are definitely must-see events, for the history of the sport.

Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos

Considered to be one of the biggest soccer club rivalries of the history of the sport, Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos, or The Derby of the Eternal Enemies, is a local derby in the Athens urban area. Between two of the most successful clubs of Greece, the rivalry is certainly an intense one.

Traced back to social, regional, and cultural differences, the two Greek Clubs have a rivalry that goes back for decades. Plus, both of the clubs being very popular, each side has large and loyal fanbases. So this is what brings up the hatred, which has led to violence in several regions of Athens, specifically before and after a derby.

Celtic vs Rangers

The collective name for the two clubs is called Old Firm, and being one of the soccer club rivalries, the Celtic vs Rangers rivalry is deeply embedded in the Scottish culture. What is contributed to by social, religious, and political division, the Old Firm consists of two of the most successful clubs in Scotland, both based in Glasgow.

A rivalry that is practically embedded in Scottish culture, the clubs between the two of them have won 102 Scottish league championships, 44 Scottish League Cups, and 70 Scottish Cups. The teams have played each other over 410 times, all in major competitions. The Rangers have won 159 of those matches, and the Celtic have won 152, 99 ending in a draw. The rivalry clubs' presence has been estimated to be worth £120 million.

Manchester United vs Liverpool

Manchester United vs Liverpool is yet another great rivalry in English soccer, if not the greatest. As one of the greatest soccer rivalries in the world, it is known as the North West Derby. With not only a rivalry between the clubs, but their historic, economic, and industrial rivalry is relevant as well.

As some of the most successful English teams in not only domestic competitions but European competitions as well, the two teams have won 38 league titles, four EUFA Cups, four EFUA Super Cups, eight European Cups, 13 League Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup. With both clubs claiming historical supremacy over the other, the rivalry can get ugly.

Ajax vs Feyenoord

The main rivalry of the Netherland, De Klassieker is one of the biggest soccer club rivalries. A rivalry between Ajax and Feyenoord, the two clubs brought a record attendance in their match in Rotterdam, bringing in 65,562 attendants, on January 9th of 1966.

The rivalry expands past the soccer aspect, and more into the rivalry specifically between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which began when the two cities received their city rights, back in the 13th century. With city pride and soccer pride backing these clubs, the rivalry is explosive.

Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

Named the Intercontinental Deby, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are age-old rivals. Also known as the Eternal Rivalry, the two clubs are both extremely successful in all of Turkish soccer history.

Bringing in a huge audience for their matches from the start, the record attendance was over 71,000 people. What started the rivalry were the riots that occurred after what was meant to be a friendly match between the clubs, which was played at Taksim Stadi in 1934, and the rest is history.

AC Milan vs Inter Milan

A rivalry between two prominent Milanese clubs. Called the Derby della Madonnina, this is one of the biggest soccer club rivalries of all time.

With a name like Deby della Madonnina, it was given in honor of the statue of the Virgin Mary, which can found on the top of the Duomo, or Madonnina (Little Madonna.) With a rivalry that has graced Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and the Champions League, they will always bring in a plethora of loyal fans, on both sides of the stadium. Always played in San Siro stadium, Milan and Internazionale call this field home.

Roma vs Lazio

Named the Derby della Capitale, Roma and Lazio have a huge rivalry. An inner-city derby, the rivalry is one of the most major local derbies in the world.

Comprised of two Italian giants, the fan bases are both equally as large, both with great success. And as we know, this is a recipe for an incredible rivalry. With massive crowds, racist undercurrents, and even violence, the rivalry is certainly not a friendly one. The stadium is even often lit with flares and banner.

Manchester United vs Manchester City

Last, but not least, on our list of the biggest soccer club rivalries is the age-old Manchester United vs Manchester City rivalry, referred to as the Manchester derby.

First contested in 1881, the two teams play at the City of Manchester Stadium, and fill it with incredibly loyal fans, and tons of energy and nail-biting. Having played over 175 matches, United has won 72, while City has won 51, with the remaining 52 matches ending in a drawn.


About the Creator

Stephen Cleary

Either playing soccer, working out, or at the movies.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.