Top ten biggest European football derbies

Top ten biggest European football derbies

In as far as derby matches are concerned, European football hosts some of most breath taking derby matches in football. There is nothing more thrilling and exciting to a football fan that seeing one's favorite team emerge triumphant in an intensely contested local derby. Such games are beyond the meeting between two local teams, culture, emotions, religion and history are often provoked in such matches. Despite meetings between top clubs being any season's most anticipated matches, derby matches usually mean more to football fans since bragging rights on the chopping board.

The following list reveals Europe's top ten derbies along with a history and culture behind each derby. All the matches listed below evoke both spiritual and emotional responses from fans as well as analysts and depict the nature of football itself. The players on the field are enthusiastic, the managers are engulfed by pressure while the fans are overwhelmed by emotions and the media is live.

To clarify the term derby; this is nothing but a match between clubs coexisting with the same city and sometimes state. Therefore. popular and famous fixtures like Barcelona-Real Madrid, Liverpool-Manchester United, Inter-Juventus and even Bayern-Borussia Dormund do not feature on the list. More emphasis is on the rivalry rather than the number of trophies amassed over the years.

The following are top ten biggest football derbies across Europe

10. Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (London, England)

The derby dates back to as far as 1887 when the two sides met for the first time. Prior to the onset of the First World War, this fixture was often characterized by friendliness. But, after that Arsenal got promoted to the English First Division leaving behind Spurs. This sparked the onset of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs up to this day. Their fixture is often referred to as the North London derby. The two have often met each other during semis a number of deciders, but never in a final. They have met a total of 177 times with Spurs winning 54 against Arsenal's 76. This is the tie which has been characterized by the greatest number of goals of the Premier league, 125 goals scored in only 43 matches.

9. Real Betis Sevilla (Seville, Spain)

Although the El Classico is arguably the most famous and fiercest rivalry in Spanish football, Seville city boasts of the most enthralling derby of Spanish football. 1915 was the year when the fixture was staged for the first time in which Sevilla won 4-3. The two clubs were formed in 1905, but two years later they split into two following a dispute. Since then, the two have each secured one La liga title, they share 5.6% of the total number of La liga Fans, with Real Betis Boasting of 3.3% of the fans. A total of 118 matches have been played between the two. Sevilla have won 53 against Real Betis's 37.

8. Dinamo Bucharest vs Steaua Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

This is often referred to as "The Eternal derby" featuring Dinamo Bucharest and Steaua Bucharest. It was literally said to be Army vs Police when it began during the communist era. The two clubs remain Romania's most successful club since that country's premier league began. There are 46 titles between them with Steaua winning 24 of these. Both teams were established during the communist era and their rivalry was mainly influenced by politicians and generals. During the era, all the good players were evenly shared between the to clubs.Nowadays, frequent clashes between fans often occur both inside and outside the stadium. A portion of the Steaua stadium once set ablaze by the Dinamo fans. The fixture is quite important and attracts a lion share of the football fans in Romania.

7. Everton vs Liverpool (Liverpool, England)

Both Liverpool and Everton are Liverpool's two most successful clubs and they have been based at Goodison Park since their establishment in 1892. The derby is commonly referred to a Merseyside derby and remains the longest running derby in the top English league.Since the 1962/1963 season, the match was traditionally a friendly, however the rivalry between the two has intensified since the mid era of the 1980s. This is the fixture which also produced the greatest number of red cards since the inception of the Premier league in 1992. It is also the match which is characterized by ill-discipline of the highest degree.

6. AC Milan vs Inter Milan (Milan, Italy)

This derby is locally referred to as Derby della Madonnia and remains one of the most anticipated derbies across Europe and the world at large. According to history, Inter parted company with Milan in 1899, the same year when AC Milan was established by immigrants from England. In 1908, the two played their first competitive fixture in a match which saw AC Milan win 2-1. The two clubs share the same stadium, the San Siro. It is the only derby that is mainly played on the basis of glory and prestige. The rivalry is exceedingly fierce and the supporters often care a lot about the result. In 2005, the two played in the Uefa Champions league quarter final. While Inter trailed, one of the fans in the stands hit the AC Milan goal keeper with a flare leading to the suspension of the match. 294 derbies have been played between the two with Inter winning 107 against Milan 110.

5. Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos (Athens, Greece)

This is a fixture which involves two great teams of Greek football, with the two clubs being termed as eternal enemies. All the matches involving the two teams are characterized by ferocity and violence both on the pitch and in the stands along with post match riots. There is an excellent footballing atmosphere that is created by chants from passionate fans, banners and flags. This is an important fixture in the country and the world as a whole. It is mainly fueled by the political forces that are behind the club's power and money. Since the onset of the fixture, Panathinaikos have emerged triumphant at 47 occasions against Olympiakos's 76 out of a total of 189 games. According to the British daily mail, this fixture is ranked 9th on the list of greatest football rivalries in football history.

4. Lazio vs Roma (Rome, Italy)

The local name for this derby is Derby della Capitale and it is one of the most heavily contested rivalries that world football has ever seen. In literal sense, it is a war between two teams sharing the Stadio Olimpico stadium. The game is often characterized by massive crowds along with violence and excitement. In the year 1979, the nadir was reached after a Lazio fan, Vincenzo Paparelli died following the firing of emergency flare from the stands. In 2004, the derby was canceled by match officials after rumors of a child's death circulated around the stadium. Riots arose outside the stadium, stadium stands set on fire, 170 injuries and over 10 arrests were made. Nowadays, the derby has assumed a political nature with an increase in the number of racist banners during the course of the matches.  174 matches have been played between the two, with Roma winning 64 of the matches against Lazio's 48.

3.Partizan Belgrade vs Red Star (Belgrade, Serbia) 

The rivalry between the two clubs has been around since they were founded in 1945. This derby is commonly known as the Eternal Derby and it mainly characterized by violence including wounding police officers and setting ablaze certain sectors of the stadium leading to many arrests, injuries and fatalities. Attendance is normally more than 90.000, but up to 108.000 spectators have been recorded at Red Star's home pitch. By statistics, 60 wins have gone in favour of Red Star against Partizan's 42 out of a total of 145 matches which have been played. According to the British Daily mail ranking, the Eternal derby is the 4th on the list of the greatest rivals in football history.

2. Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce (Istanbul, Turkey)

The two clubs attract a huge portion of Turkey's football fan community. Therefore, fans are more interested in winning this fixture irrespective of the standings in the local league. This fixture is characterized by excitement and violence which can range from simple to severe riots. According to history, Galatasaray supporters made up the country's affluent society, while the Fenerbahce class made up most of the working class members. Based on such ascription, Fenerbahce was regarded as "People's club", while Galatasaray team was given great accord on account of its aristocracy. They played each other for the first time in 1934 in a friendly match which was later abandoned before it could even start as riots broke out. According to the British Daily Media, the match is 2nd on the greatest football rivalry list which also features Boca Junior vs River Plate on top.

1. Celtic vs Rangers (Glasgow, Scotland)

The match is played in the British football, Scottish league and the two clubs are by far the most successful clubs in the Scottish Premier league. They share up to 99 trophies between them with Rangers winning 54 of them. Since the inception of the league, they have played each other on 399 occasions with Rangers winning 144 matches and 96 matches ending in draws. It is one of the oldest rivalries in European and world football and it all dwells on religion; Catholics against protestants,. Violence is common with the most striking one being the 1980 riot which sparked by Celtic's Scottish Cup win following a 1-0 victory. Over 9.000 fans went into battle at the Hampden grounds. Celtic are Catholics while Rangers represent a protestant mass. 

Leave a comment