north London derby

Football’s Greatest Derbies

Ask any football fan and they will tell you that their team’s derby is the biggest and the best, has the most history or anything else.  But if you stand back and look from a neutral viewpoint, there are some amazing derbies around the world but a few that stand out a little from the crowd.  Here are five of our (neutral) favourites.

Real Madrid v Barcelona

This one would be high on most people’s lists and even has its own name El Clasico.  Not only does it represent the contest of two of the top teams in Spain and the biggest sides in Europe but it even had a deeper meaning, the rivalry between the biggest cities in Spain and even the opposing political parties in the country – so plenty at stake here!  With their success, both clubs are big spenders and this often means that there are many of the world’s best players on show to add to the excitement.

Stats: 225 matches, 90 wins for Real Madrid, 87 for Barcelona, 48 draws.

Manchester United v Liverpool

Like the previous match, this one has its own name, known as the North-West Derby because both teams are from the northwest of England.  The two teams are historically the most successful in the country and there has always been an intense rivalry with over 100 trophies each in their cabinets, although Man Utd have had more of the recent success.  The match is often seen as the classic example of English football.

Stats: 189 matches, 75 wins for Manchester United, 63 wins for Liverpool, 51 draws.

Juventus v Inter Milan

Known as the derby d’Italia, this puts two of the big names in Italian football against each other and is as likely to end in a brawl as a draw.  It is one of the big games in the calendar, alongside the Milan derby with Inter playing local rivals AC Milan but this game is often a political contest with many of the countries elite supporting one side or the other.

Stats: 214 matches, 94 wins for Juventus, 67 wins for Inter Milan, 53 draws.

Arsenal v Tottenham

There is no shortage of derbies in London with hardly a weekend calendar going by without featuring one.  The North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is a notable one with a distinguished history and increasing importance as Tottenham has proved more successful in recent years than in the past.

Stats: 177 matches, 76 wins for Arsenal, 54 wins for Tottenham, 47 draws.

Celtic v Rangers

The Old Firm Derby takes place between the two teams in the Scottish city of Glasgow and is a fiery one.  One of the oldest and most fiercely contested derbies anywhere, it has a history of great games but also of some of the unsavoury sides of football matches of the past.  It will take on more meaning in coming times as Rangers have come through their rough patch and are once more in the top league.

Stats: 399 matches, 144 wins for Celtic, 159 wins for Rangers, 96 draws.