Twenty of football's greatest local derbies ranked by 'passion and ferocity'

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League

From AC Milan vs Inter Milan to Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid, there's always something special about derbies in football.

You only need to look at Wednesday's 5-2 thriller between Liverpool and Everton to get the point with passion running high and players going toe-to-toe amidst the battle for three points.

So, it's only natural that fans find themselves debating which derby is the greatest of them all: Is it the Old Firm? Is it the North London Derby? Or is it an obscurer clash in eastern Europe?

Well, that's the unenviable task that talkSPORT took on earlier this week, ranking 20 of the world's most famous derbies by, in their own words, 'passion and ferocity.'

It's also important to note that they ignored the hooligans and ultras, who can often ruin these derbies for the rest, in their deliberation process. You can check out the full rankings below:

20. Partizan Belgrade v Red Star Belgrade

For all the pyrotechnics and banners, the Eternal Derby - forged in the aftermath of the Second World War - has been pegged down for repeated violence that even saw 35 police officers injured in 2015.

FK Crvena Zvezda v FK Partizan - Serbian Super League

19. Bolivar v The Strongest

Played at the dizzying altitude of La Paz, this derby marks the coming together of a club founded by intellectuals and other started up by soldiers. The former boasts 28-12 league title advantage. 

18. Ijsselmeervogels v SV Spakenburg

Despite being played in the Dutch third division, this underrated clash sees planes flying over head, ticker tape and pitch invading pigs (seriously, look it up). Over 70% of this small Dutch town attends derby day live.


17. Aston Villa v Birmingham

Few games attract more partisan fans than the 'Second City Derby' and you only need to see what happened to Jack Grealish last season to appreciate what can happen when things go too far.

16. CSKA Moscow v Spartak Moscow

The fact Spartak are traditionally the team of the people and CSKA formerly represented the Soviet Army means this derby often stokes political flames which, naturally, can express itself in various ways.

PFC CSKA Moskva v FC Spartak Moskva - Russian Premier League

15. Barcelona SC v Emelec

No, not that Barcelona, the Ecuadorian one. This derby is so huge because it often decides the destination of the league title, but has become marred in recent years after a young Emelec fan was killed by a flare in 2007.

14. Nacional v Penarol

A clash between the former Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club and a team founded by European immigrants is actually South America's oldest - as well as one of its fieriest - local derbies.


13. Lazio v AS Roma

Another derby with political undertones given the history involving Benito Mussolini, there's always drama when Rome's two biggest clubs meet and no fewer than 13 fans were arrested during a 2004 riot. 

12. Celtic v Rangers

It's a shame that Rangers don't offer as much competition as they used to, but you're never far away from a red card or controversial moment when Glasgow's footballing juggernauts meet every year.

Celtic v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

11. AC Milan v Inter Milan

This derby is worthy of a place on the list for the Marco Materazzi-Rui Costa photograph alone. It's just disappointing that it doesn't throw up as many Serie A-deciding clashes as it used to.

10. Benfica v Sporting Lisbon

Another game that has suffered a lack of competitiveness in recent years, the Lisbon derby still places highly for its tough tackling and tensions between two teams just three kilometres apart.


9. Fenerbahce v Galatasaray

You could probably close your eyes, swing a stick and end up hitting a police riot-shield when these two play each other. Don't believe us? Just ask Graeme Souness after he planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre-circle in 1996.

8. Everton v Liverpool

Aside from this week, the goals have actually dried up in Merseyside derbies recently, but you can never fault the clubs' respective fans - who are only separated by Stanley Park - for atmosphere and passion. 

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League

7. Flamengo v Fluminense

The Rio Derby still holds the global attendance record for when 194,000 crammed into the Maracana to watch the two sides play out a 0-0 draw in 1963. That's all the justification we need.

6. Olympiakos v Panathinaikos

Drama, drama, drama. The match was scrapped in 2012 after petrol bombs were ignited in the crowd and Panathinaikos boss Giannis Anastasiou was floored by a projectile from the crowd two years later.

Greek riot police watch a fire set by a

5. Arsenal v Tottenham

One of the most goal-rich derbies in the world has become even more competitive in recent years and you only need to see Thierry Henry's iconic 2002 celebration to gauge the fixture's passion.

4. Al Ahly v Zamalek

The most violent derby in a league which has cancelled entire seasons, the Cairo derby has been abandoned four times and foreign referees are flown in because all Egyptian officials are deemed to favour one team over the other.


3. Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid

This high-profile derby gets such a hight ranking because of Atletico's 'Underdog' status which has seen this battle for the capital arguably rival 'El Clasico' for entertainment and drama over the last decade.

2. Manchester United v Manchester City

The 'Noisy Neighbours' have made this a thrillingly exciting tie over the last decade and few derbies have produced more iconic moments than this. Martin Tyler might even say it defies description.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

1. River Plate vs Boca Juniors

What else could possibly take top spot? With 70% of Argentina allegedly supporting either side, you can understand why Buenos Aires shuts down when these two play and especially when the Copa Libertadores is at stake.

Boca Juniors v River Plate - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2019

GIVEMESPORT'S Kobe Tong says

First and foremost, I completely agree with the winner.

There's something about the passion for football in South America that you can't find anywhere else in the world and seeing Argentina's premier clubs locking horns is always a global event.

But the Manchester derby in second place? Come along.

It might be huge on a footballing scale, but you can hardly give it the silver medal for 'passion and ferocity' when there's controversy surrounding Old Trafford's atmosphere and City's attendances.

Manchester City v Leicester City - Premier League

There's definitely a greater feeling of partisanship in both the Merseyside Derby and the Old Firm, never mind some of the flare-waving, pyrotechnic derbies that have also wound up behind it.

I'm looking forward to this weekend's Manchester Derby as much as the next football fan, but let's not pretend that the Etihad Stadium will have anyone in Argentinean football sweating.

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