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Biggest Football Club Rivalries - TheFootballSay

Updated: Feb 17

biggest football rivalries

Here are some of the Biggest Football Rivalries of All Time -

  • Real Madrid vs Barcelona

  • Boca Juniors vs River Plate

  • Liverpool vs Manchester United

  • Inter-Milan vs AC Milan

  • Cronantinais vs Palmerias

  • Galatasaray vs Fernarbahce

  • Celtic vs Rangers

  • Arsenal vs Tottenham

  • Ajax vs Feyenoord

  • Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona

This is arguably the most Biggest football club rivalries. It has a very deep political meaning behind it. Both are clubs that belong to Spain. Real Madrid was founded in 1902 and Barcelona was founded in 1899. The rivalry between these clubs is due to the political settings of both the clubs Real Madrid belongs to people speaking Castilla whereas Barcelona belongs to Catalan-speaking people.

Due to the intense Independence moments in Barcelona from Spain, the environment is always tense as Real Madrid is seen as a club from Spain who aren’t granting them their freedom.

Given this political setting, there is an intense environment whenever these two clubs face each other. The fan following generated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is also one of the causes of rivalries among the fans. This rivalry is shown whenever the two clubs met in their domestic leagues or in European Nights.

Legendary Players from Real Madrid

Alfredo Di Stefano, Zinedine Zidane, Puskas, Paco Gento, Cristiano Ronaldo

Legendary Players from Barcelona

Ronaldinho, Iniesta, Xavi, Lionel Messi, Rivaldo

Boca Juniors and River Plate.

Boca Juniors and River Plate are both South American Clubs based in Argentina. This rivalry is much more class-based as Boca Juniors fans are often middle or working-class people mainly the immigrants who came to migrate to Argentina during the wars in Europe. This has to be the Biggest football rivalry in South America.

River Plate fans are more like upper-class people who like to splash the cash on players. During the SuperClassico the atmosphere is so intense that the police force is mandatory in the stadiums. Many clashes between the fans have left many people dead for years.

Legendary Players from Boca Juniors

Maradona, Riquelme, Martin Palermo, Hugo Ibarra

Legendary Players from River Plate

Angel Labruna, Alfredo Di Stefano, Enzo Francescoli

Liverpool vs Manchester United

This is the oldest rivalry in English football history. These are also the most successful clubs in England with both having 9 UCL’s between them. The rivalry dates back to the Industrial Revolution when the cotton mills were very lucrative, as merchants from Manchester were not at all pleased with the high import taxes imposed from Liverpool port. Manchester decided to build its own port via a canal.

This ultimately upset Liverpool as they lost a strategic advantage and Manchester took the lead in the cotton Industry race.

Liverpool has not been able to recover from that strategic debacle and there is still bitter resentment among the fans regarding the whole thing that happened at that time.

Legendary Players from Manchester United

Bobby Charlton, George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo

Legendary Players from Liverpool

Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Bob Paisley

Inter-Milan vs AC Milan

The top Italian sides have a bitter rivalry among them. Surprisingly they both share the same stadium San Siro for their matches. They both have 10 UCL titles between them as AC Milan has the second most UCL (7) titles in history.

The rivalry between these clubs was an ideological split regarding the signing of foreign players. In 1908 Inter was formed which was called Football Club Internazionale which allowed the signing of foreign nationals.

Due to Inter signing many foreign players at the beginning, it was also called the club for “elites” but this narrative was shattered when Milan also started signing foreign players in the late 1940s.

Both the teams have aspired to dominate football as Milan went on to win numerous trophies. Legendary names have played for both clubs over time, At a time in history Milan Derby was much more intense and crucial than El-Classico of Real Madrid vs Barcelona.

Legendary Players from Inter Milan

Javier Zanetti, Samuel Eto, Alessandro Altobeli, Christian Vieri, Wesley Sneijder

Legendary Players from AC Milan

Paolo Maldini, Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Cafu, Kaka

Cronantinias and Palmerias

These both clubs are the biggest there are in Brazil. This rivalry peaked in Brazilian football during the decades of the ’60s and ’70s.

The origins of the Derby Paulista can be traced back to the early 20th century when both Palmeiras and Corinthians emerged as powerful forces in Sao Paulo football. Palmeiras, founded in 1914 as Palestra Itália, represented the Italian community, while Corinthians, established in 1910, had a working-class heritage, The distinct social and cultural backgrounds of these clubs laid the foundation for a passionate and sometimes contentious rivalry.

Over the years, the Derby Paulista has witnessed countless thrilling encounters that have left an indelible mark on Brazilian football history. From heated battles in the Campeonato Paulista to high-stakes clashes in national competitions, Palmeiras and Corinthians have produced memorable moments that have been etched into the minds of fans.

Legendary Players from Crontinians

Carlos Gamarra, Del Debbio, Biro-Biro, Socrates, Neco

Legendary Players from Palmerias

Roberto Carlos, Heitor, Ademir da Guia, Pinto, Dudu

Galastasaray vs Fenarbahce

This rivalry spans two continents it is often called “The International Derby”. Based in Turkey the rivalry between these two historical clubs also has class roots.

Galatasaray was founded by the children of Turkey elites and always had the backing of Turkey’s elite class whereas Fenerbahce is often associated with the clubs that were founded by the locals.

These two don’t have a bad trophy history but Galastasary is more successful domestically they have won 22 League titles compared to 19 of Fernarbache.

Legendary Players from Galatasaray

Tugay Kerimogulu, Gheorghe Hagi, Oktay, Arda Turan

Legendary Players from Fenerbahce

Mesut Ozil, Luis Gustavo, Dirk Kuyt

Celtic vs Rangers.

This is an old Scottish rivalry as the team from the North has not always been on good terms with them. There has been a religious battle between them as Celtic supporters are mainly Roman Catholic and Ranger supporters are Protestant.

The rivalry is deeply religious, social and cultural. The rivalry is based on intense battles between players and a high-octane atmosphere.

Legendary Players from Celtic

Roy Keane, Henrik Larrson, Nakamura, Mark Viduka

Legendary Players from Rangers

Akky McCoist, John Greig, Richard Gough, Brian Laudraup

Arsenal vs Totthenham

This is the North London Derby as the two clubs hail from the same geographical position. Other rival clubs often mock these two clubs because of their poor record in winning major trophies.

Arsenal gained major popularity during the Arsene Wegner era when the team went invincible. Tottenham's best run came when they reached the recent Champions League Final in 2019. But Tottenham has had more success than Arsenal in Europe historically with One “European Cups winner Cup” and two “UEFA Cups”.

Most of the sounds are made inside the stadiums as fans often take turns mocking each other. Tottenham is often ridiculed for winning any major trophies in a long time.

The multi-ethnic economic hub London has helped to spread this rivalry as a wildfire. The popularity growth of the Premier League has also engaged fans in online banter regarding the two clubs.

Legendary Players from Arsenal

Henry, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vierra, Robert Pires

Legendary Players from Tottenham

Kimmy Greaves, Gareth Bale, George Hunt, Harry Kane

Ajax vs the Fenerhood

This Der Klassiker is played between the two biggest clubs in the Netherlands. The fierce rivalry is often regarded as the most intense rivalry in the Netherlands.

Fenerhood is based on the historical city of Rotterdam and Ajax is based on the cultural and tourist hub of Amsterdam. This is the rivalry between the people of the two cities. Rotterdam is seen as an industrial city where main earnings are made hence for the working class people whereas Ajax which is based on Amsterdam is often seen as a city which is a waste of hard-earned money.

However, Ajax is more successful than Feyenoord as they have way more League titles and UCLs compared to Feyenoord. Ajax alone has 3 Champions League compared to 1 Feyenoord.

Legendary Players from Ajax

Johan Cruyff, Clarence Seedorf, Frank Rijkaard, Edgar Davids

Legendary Players from Feyenoord

Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Robin van Persie, Rinus

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

The German Classico might have the most passionate fans when it comes to football. German football is highly about team performance rather than individual excellence. The majority of the rivalry between the two clubs is because of the trophies they are competing in.

They even came face-to-face in a German UCL final in 2013 in which Robben’s last-minute thrilling goal was crucial for the Bavarians to wrap up the title.

In recent times there has been huge discontent with Dortmund fans regarding the transfers that take place between the two. Despite the rivalry, Bayern are able to land a deal with Dortmund for their players.

Some of the great names in football have played for both Dortmund and Bayern.

Legendary Players from Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski, Gerd Muller, Oliver Kahn, Franz Beckenbauer, Thomas Muller

Legendary Players from Borrusia Dortmund

Marco Reus, Dede, Lukasz Piszczek, Matthias Sammer, Micahel Zorc.

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