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World Derbies

Old topic, new list.....

The esteemed World Soccer magazine has unveiled its choice for the world's top 50 rivalries. (Sorry, no Galaxy-Chivas USA, but India's Mohun Bagan vs. East Bengal is No. 48.)

What do you think of the top 25?

1. Real Madrid-Barcelona
2. Boca-River
3. Celtic-Rangers
4. Galatasaray-Fenerbahce
5. Ajax-Feyenoord
6. Lazio-Roma
7. Schalke-Dortmund
8. Al Ahly-Zamalek (Ahly has roots in Egypt's anti-colonial struggle, Zamalek is seen as the club of the priviledged.)
9. Betis-Sevilla
10. Partizan-Red Star
11. Marseille-PSG
12. Juventus-Fiorentina
13. Flamengo-Vasco
14. Olympiakos-Panathanaikos
15. Milan-Inter
16. Bilbao-Sociedad
17. Benfica-Porto
18. Corinthians-Sao Paulo
19. Racing-Independiente
20. America-Chivas
21. Nacional-Penarol
22. Pirouzi-Esteghlal
23. Spartak-CSKA
24. Steaua-Dinamo
25. Kaizer Chiefs-Orlando Pirates

For the full list and descriptions of each rivalry, be sure to pick up this month's copy at the newsstand. A comprehensive Euro '08 review is in there, as well.

By Steve Goff  |  July 16, 2008; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  World  
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I agree with #1, Barcelona and Real Madrid absolutely hate each other. I'm guessing that Man.U vs. Chelsea isn't a real rivalry, but I'd just about almost say that D.C. vs. Chicago is, they hate each other too.

Posted by: person | July 16, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Orlando Pirates, eh? I thought MLS left Florida years ago...and how did they get into a rivalry with an indie rock band?

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 16, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

No Flu-Fla? No Man U.-Liverpool?

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 16, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I thought that the Gals vs. San Jose prior to the move to Houston could have made the top 50...

Posted by: frank | July 16, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Agree with number one. And with the high ratings for the Argentine derbies - those are something!

No Arsenal-Spurs?? I'd have them in the top 15.

Posted by: Kev | July 16, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Indie rock band is named after the football club. The football club, in turn, is named after the NASL's Atlanta Chiefs. South Africa also has a team named the Jomo Cosmos because South African great Jomo Sono played for NY.

Posted by: S | July 16, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

No Flu-Fla? No Man U.-Liverpool?

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 16, 2008 4:27 PM

Good points, perhaps they were being too fair and open minded. Manchester United could have three entries in the top 50 - City, Liverpool and Leeds.

And no Liverpool-Everton?

Are Juventus and Fiorentina that big of rivals? More so than Juve-Torino? This is a weird list the more I look at it.

Posted by: Kev | July 16, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I am very surprised that no EPL teams made the list. I definitely think Rangers-Celtic deserve to be up there, they truly hate each other and usually makes for a good game...

Posted by: Susan | July 16, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm a huge Fiorentina fan but I'm frankly stunned to see Juve-Fiorentina ahead of the Milan Derby, and also ahead of the Derby Dalla Italia (Juve-Inter). I mean, that game is huge for Fiorentina fans (largely due to residual bitterness about Juve signing away Baggio) but I always have had the impression that the game is more important in Firenze than in Torino.

Posted by: tmc | July 16, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The examiner is reporting DCU has signed Joe Vide.


Posted by: Who is Joe Vide? | July 16, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

10. Partizan-Red Star

That's a really interesting one... I read recently about how the Red Star supporters clubs formed the backbone of their militia in the 90's, and that rivalry took the "war by football proxy" metaphor a lot further than usual.
I don't remember enough about it to elaborate, but I thought that deserved a mention.

Posted by: jrnail23 | July 16, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Shocked that there is no fla-flu, no English ones, Barca - Real madrid is obviously deserving of #1 but also Real-Atletico and Barca-Espanyol should be somewhere on the list..

Posted by: Not a great list.. | July 16, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Vide is available in the waiver draft at 5 p.m. today. DCU is deep on the list, so the only way they can claim him is if almost everyone else in the league passes. We will know soon enough.

Posted by: Goff | July 16, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Vide is a UVA product who I believe spent time with NYRB and recently the SJEarthquakes.

I'm guessing he'd be central mid-field back-up for Simms, or he may find some other role on the team.

Posted by: not a big guy | July 16, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

When the great director Bruno Barreto (of Dona Flor fame) made a film about a crosstown rivalry, he made one about Corinthians and Palmeiras. If Corinthians-Sao Paulo (#18 on this list) is even bigger than that, it must really be a big deal.

Posted by: tri-village | July 16, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

D.C. United v. Chicago Fire will crack the Top 50 someday. Unless the Red Bulls actually get their act together. Unlikely.

Posted by: Posted by: | July 16, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The Barca/Real rivalery is grounded in civil war politcs. No need guess which team represents the Republic and which was the team of Franco.

Posted by: A Hardwick | July 16, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I've gotta be better than George Gelnovatch.

Posted by: Joe Vide | July 16, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the list lost all credibility when Liverpool-Man United wasn't in the Top 5 and Liverpool-Everton and Arsenal-Spurs weren't in the Top 25.

Is it purposefully excluding English teams?

Posted by: Chase | July 16, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

the post's title is a bit misleading, as the list ranks rivalries, not derbies...

tottenham - arsenal should still be in the top 50 of either list though.

Posted by: johnxavier | July 16, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The Manchester Derby not being on that list is a bit surprising.

Posted by: Brandon | July 16, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

sorry, but no indian rivalry should be on there other than vasco-salgaocar, and that's a goan rivalry, not indian, not matter how badly india feels goa is part of their country, i will never subject myself to being called indian or my football teams indian, besides, east bengal and mohun bagan aren't even good teams

Posted by: ifootylover | July 16, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, any list without Gooners-Spurs in the top 10 is a joke...

Posted by: Jimmy Greaves | July 16, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

'Pool - Everton?!
Any London Derbie?!
They must be omitting English teams for a reason...
Milan Derby has to be top 5.

Posted by: Lemoyne | July 16, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Uh, no. 21 should read "Peñarol-Nacional" since we've owned them for more than 100 years. Hijitos nuestros!

Posted by: Soy United! | July 16, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

No Avatiu/Nikao Sokattack? Horrible list!

...Seriously, I'm surprised by the lack of Arsenal/Spurs, Fla/Flu, and the Sicilian Derby.

Posted by: B.A. | July 16, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Given the nasty political history, I would have rated Partizan-Red Star a few spots up from #10.

Posted by: edgeonyou | July 16, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@johnxavier - When is a derby not a rivalry?

Spurs actually beat the Gooners (ok, their JV squad) this year in a game so if anything the rivalrly should be higher in the list after not beating them in an ignominious amount of time.

Wait, they play soccer in India?

Posted by: AM | July 16, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Red Star, I'd throw Red Star - Dinamo Zagreb in there, even though they're no longer in the same league. Not exactly a derby, but they hate each other. A lot.

Posted by: Goose | July 16, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

As others have said: No Liverpool vs. Man U!?!?!?!??!

No English teams in the top 25?!?!

Unbelievably stupid.

Have we forgotten the classic "Nuke Manchester" sign?!? :D

Posted by: USvsIreland | July 16, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, no Colo-Colo vs. Universidad de Chile? Maybe not top 25, but surely ahead of the some the top 25 in that list.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 16, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Dinamo vs. Hajduk, or a Croatian team vs. a Serbian team should be top.

Posted by: Mark | July 16, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I'd move Real/Barca down to #3 and shift Boca/River and Rangers/Celtic up a spot.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | July 16, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

What about the savage violence that is inevitable in the Real Maryland/Crystal Palace USA derby? Doesn't that rate ahead of ranger/celtic?

Posted by: pigman sweet | July 16, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

@AM. No, they play football in India. NFL as an actual football not pointy helmate ball.

Posted by: PM | July 16, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

@johnxavier - When is a derby not a rivalry?

Posted by: AM | July 16, 2008 5:52 PM

I would assume he means that a derby is a cross-town match up, which may not necessarily be a rivalry. It can be a rivalry but it also may not be.

Posted by: Lucigol | July 16, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

@johnxavier - When is a derby not a rivalry?

Posted by: AM | July 16, 2008 5:52 PM

I would assume he means that a derby is a cross-town match up, which may not necessarily be a rivalry. It can be a rivalry but it also may not be.

Posted by: Lucigol | July 16, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Just goes to show how overrated the english league is, that none of those teams are on this list, and its considered "the best" league in the world. pffff...

Posted by: Carlos | July 16, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Goose and Mark- Red Star/Partizan is intense, but Dinamo Zagreb/Red Star is even more so. I'd think they would be somewhere on this list.

Posted by: DCUDayton | July 16, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Juventus - Fiorentina? Do they mean Torino? Regardless, it's ranked above the Milan Derby?

Posted by: jmcg | July 16, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Real VS FC Barcelona is the #1 derby in the world, so I agree with this...
i think that the derby that many in the soccer community tend to overlook is DC United VS LA Galaxy. The history (back from the first MLS cup in 1996 to now), the hatred between the fans and the players (especially Landon Donovan) and the atmosphere surrounding the game is so great and so undervalued by many in the MLS.
Thats the real SuperClasico

Posted by: DC Shady | July 16, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

my bad.....i just read what derby really meant
But DC VS LAG is a great rivlary

Posted by: DC Shady | July 16, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

#1. Shirts v skins

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | July 16, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Having spent time in Spain I can say that there just isn't the same level of hatred between Barca and Real Madrid as there is with many other rivalries in the world. Sure, that is the most glorified because of the quality of the league, and the size of the clubs, but in terms of a real rivalry it really isn't too much different than say UNC-Duke. Boca-River and Celtic-Rangers are on completely different levels, not to mention some derbies in lesser-known leagues (like Red Star-Partizan).

Posted by: Max | July 16, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE that there are no English teams on the list. I myself watch the EPL every week of the season, and I like it an awful lot. It is of course, overrated by the US.

1. They speak our language, so we're innately attracted to them.

2. The EPL is covered TO DEATH by the British media. Their love of the game is admirable, but it feeds an arrogance we Americans have come to believe ourselves, having been force fed for so long.

3. It's obvious the list is not based on TV ratings, money, or prestige, and that's the best part of all. I know it's tough for the Capitol Hill, Hollywood and Harrod's crowds to stomach, but just because it isn't available on DVD for 29.99 doesn't mean it isn't any good.

That's what you get for pricing out the hardcore fans England. Now go eat your prawns and don't forget to stop by the team store on your way to the company suite.

Posted by: spectre | July 16, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Man U - Liverpool is #28
Arsenal - Spurs is #42

That's it for England.

Posted by: DemonJuice | July 16, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

When you compile by league:

Brazil, Italy & Spain: 4 each
Argentina: 3
England: 2

No other league has more than 1 rivalry on the list.

Posted by: DemonJuice | July 16, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and one of the Spanish rivalries is between 2nd division teams.

Posted by: DemonJuice | July 16, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse


Give it a rest with the whole "Goa is not a part of India" crap. It was a part of India before the Portuguese were Portuguese. They just didn't have the sense to leave India quietly while they could.

Posted by: Matt Mathai | July 17, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

while being #4 is nothing to sniff at, I would put Fehnerbace-Galatsaray at #1 or #2. I would also put Benfica-Sporting over Benfica-Porto. Porto has been slapping around the rest of the league for a few years now, but Benfica and Sporting stadia are only a kilometer from each other and the city is divided neighborhood by neighborhood.

Posted by: troy | July 17, 2008 3:47 AM | Report abuse

Orlando Pirates, eh? I thought MLS left Florida years ago...and how did they get into a rivalry with an indie rock band?

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 16, 2008 4:20 PM

Since no one else is letting you know, I LOL'ed.

Posted by: James | July 17, 2008 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Boca vs. River is #1, sorry. Madrid is a few hundred miles away from Barca (and I'm a fan of Barca mind you). River and boca are pretty much across the street. The rival fans have to live and breath the same air as their enemies all year. Far bigger rivalry.

Also, Dortmund vs. Schalke is no worse than #5. That is a blood fued of all blood feuds that engulfs a region of around 13 million people.

It is a bit sad that Bayern vs. 1860 has faded away. St. Pauli vs. HSV is nasty as hell but they rarely play for anything being that they are rarely in the same division.

Posted by: papa bear | July 17, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

oh and Indian league derbies being in the top 50 are a joke. That league is more lightly regarded than MLS and the sport is virtually ignored in India far worse than it is in the US.

No matter how grand MLS ever gets, no rivalry in the league will ever make a list like that simply because it's a league in the US.

Posted by: papa bear | July 17, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Only comment on the derby list is I would move Partizan-Red Star well up into the top 10.

Posted by: Eddie C | July 17, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

This list is incomplete without D.C. United and Charleston Battery. Coffee Pot Forever!

Posted by: Sam | July 17, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

It's not flamengo-Vasco; it's Vasco-flamengo

Posted by: VascãoPaixão | July 17, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

A derby is played between two teams from the same area.

So, Real V. Barca is not a derby but Boca v River is.

Posted by: bribri | July 17, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The multi-billionaire West London super classico is coming (back) soon... QPR - Chelsea

Combined wealth - more than all the clubs from #2-25 combined. :-)

Posted by: Kev | July 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Having met some of their fans, I would put Sunderland and Newcastle (the Tyne-Wear derby) in there, too.

Posted by: Dan in FL | July 17, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that Partizan-Red Star needs to be moved up. And Juve-Fiorentina should be lower (tmc is right, Juve fans don't see this one has huge as Fiorentina fans). Would've expected to see the Juve-Inter somewhere in the top 25 though. Still its hard to argue with the top 5 at least, if not the specific order.

Posted by: G-Dub | July 17, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

That's what you get for pricing out the hardcore fans England. Now go eat your prawns and don't forget to stop by the team store on your way to the company suite.

Posted by: spectre | July 16, 2008 10:24 PM

Spectre - I agree with your last points to an extent - football has become way too expensive and the Premier League too predictable.

However, you can't argue with the fact that the Premier League has had 2 European Cup winners in the last four seasons and 4 different clubs in the final (3 semi finalists last season). Not to mention the best player in the world at Manchester United. I don't think there is any doubt that the Premier League is the most accomplished in the world. Best atmosphere, value for money, parity? Definitely not.

Also, English football is not just about the Premier League. The Football League has a lot of intriguing clubs, rivals and much more drama. Plus it draws attendances that many of the world's top divisions would aspire to have.

England pretty much invented the local derby - mostly because there are so many clubs in such a tony space. England is roughly the size of Alabama, with about 90 professional football clubs. It goes without saying that these clubs basically lie on top of each other.

Some great derbies not mentioned above in England/Wales...

Portsmouth-Southampton (this is top 50 in my mind)
Sheffield United-Sheffield Wednesday
Wolves-West Brom
Birmingham-Aston Villa
Nottingham Forest-Derby
West Ham-Millwall
Bristol Rovers-City

I could go on. Don't be fooled by the corporate heavyweights, the strength of English football and its derbies lies in the depth.

Posted by: Kev | July 17, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

absolute weakery.

spurs v. ar5ena1 absolutely has to be top 10.

i'd see celtic/gers go #1. histories of violence, comparative quality of matches, and roots in long standing religious conflict give extra points over copious cash and tepid support.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Milan - Inter should be top 5.
No Manchester United - Manchester City?
No Liverpool - Everton?

Posted by: bob | July 17, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Chivas-America should be higher.

Oh, and time for spell-check, Mr. Goff. "priviledged"?

Posted by: Evan | July 17, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

A derby is played between two teams from the same area.

So, Real V. Barca is not a derby but Boca v River is.

Posted by: bribri | July 17, 2008 9:40 AM
Absolutely: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid is very intense. I look forward to that almost as much as Real Madrid-Barcelona

Posted by: Max | July 17, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The World Soccer list is pretty bad.

This site,, is much better

Posted by: Mike in Takoma Park | July 18, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I love these kinds of lists, and have been privileged to attend several big matches in my life.

Been to the original "superclasico" at Nou Camp and I love the grandeur of the Real-Barca match, but someone previously hit the nail on the head - it is remarkably tame. Yes the passion is intense, but the ambience is quite disappointing. I would describe the attitude/feel as being more "we're better than you" than the IMO quite necessary for this list, "we HATE you." Great game, but not the greatest rivalry, sorry.

Have attended Boca-River,and it is a quite hyped rivalry, very intense, very much hate filled. But the teams are quite national, many in the fan base from all over (bandwagon hoppers on, frankly)and while the ambience at the Monumental was amazing and electric, Argentina has many hate filled games. I'm biased, but there is no game in Argentina with more hate and violence associated with it then the Rosario derby, Newell's Old Boys and Rosario Central. Been twice, @ Central's Gigante de Arroyito, and it remains the most loud intense event I've ever attended. That is the less hyped big game. Independiente-Racing is a great game, the Racing fans put on a great great show, but the intensity is something I question, Estudiantes de la Plata- Gimnasia de la Plata and Cordoba's Belgrano-Talleres match are each quite intense, loud and IMO more hate filled.

Finally, The Italian followers are correct, Fiorentina-Jumerdus is not even Juve's biggest game. If Juve fans were polled about being able to win only one game any year (hypo of course) you bet they'd all say Inter, especially after calciopoli. Juve is the biggest game for lots of teams, and as a Torino fan it makes me want to puke to say this,but whover Juve want to beat the most has to be the biggest rivalry in Italy. It certainly is for my beloved Toro. Roma-Lazio is a great match between two teams that dislke eachother, but the political angle gives it more fanfare then perhaps it should get. Lazio province dwellers aside, you will not have many Italians telling you Roma-Lazio is the biggest rivalry in Italy.

Boca-River #1, but ONLY due to the fact that Rangers-Celtic play eachother too often, 4 times excluding the cup competitions. Sometimes, less is more. Otherwise, I don't think it's fair to say one is better/bigger than the other.


Posted by: Rico Pallazzo!Rico Pallazzo! | July 19, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

There have been numerous reports done on the top 50 places to be before you die and 'la bombonera' during Boca vs. River is rated as #1 or 2 in nearly every one. I have never heard of Real vs. Barca being more than jus a storied rivalry, made up of two great teams. Rivalries are always better when the teams are from the same city, or something other than football is thrown in like religion or natural hatred toward each other like Panathinaikos v. olympiakos, or Partizan v. red star. Move real v. barca down a few and move celtic v. rangers up to #2, and boca up to #1.

Posted by: Max | July 27, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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