On Sunday, we witnessed the biggest match in England as Liverpool faced Manchester United.
The two most successful clubs in the land have a huge worldwide fanbase and clashes between the two are watched by millions around the globe.
The millions that were watching on Sunday would have been disappointed as the two sides drew 0-0 at Anfield.
It wasn’t quite the same without a ferocious Anfield crowd but there’s no doubt this remains the most intense rivalry in the world.
But what other derbies rival it?
Well, ahead of the big match in the Premier League, the Athletic ranked the biggest rivalries in the world. To do so, each journalist submitted their candidate and they were ranked on five categories (combined social media following, combined turnover, stadium capacities, proximity and the first match between the two sides).
It created a table of the 14 biggest derbies in world football which you can see below:
14 | PSG vs Marseille
You only need to look at the clashes between Neymar and Alvaro Gonzalez last week – on the pitch and on social media – to see this rivalry. Le Classique features the two most successful clubs in France but, obviously, doesn’t have the history over proximity like other derbies.
13 | Boca Juniors vs River Plate
The Athletic’s Ed Malyon says: “When the two biggest teams in the most football-mad city on earth meet, there is simply no emotion like it. It fills the senses. Gunpowder, lights, smoke, choral symphony and the shaking. The very stadium shaking beneath your feet.”
12 | Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray
Try telling fans of Fenerbahce and Galatasary that the Intercontinental Derby is only the 12th fiercest in football. Separated by just 9.4km and featuring the two most successful clubs in Turkey, the derby is one of the most atmospheric games in the world.
11 | Celtic vs Rangers
The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell says: “It has become a hackneyed phrase to say that you do not appreciate just how fervent the Old Firm atmosphere is until you have spent 90 minutes amid the chaos. But only someone who has never experienced it would ask this question.”
10 | Dortmund vs Schalke
The Revierderby was first played in 1925 and features two sides separated by 27.4km. It’s not the biggest derby in Germany, though…
9 | Roma vs Lazio
The derby of the capital city. Football is a religion in Rome and this derby is HUGE. The two sides clashed on Friday and it resulted in nine yellow cards. And that’s without fans providing a fierce rivalry.
8 | Bayern Munich vs Dortmund
The Athletic’s Raphael Honigstein says: “Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund occupies an uncertain position in the global list of derbies. It’s undoubtedly the biggest game German football has to offer these days, but still not quite the biggest game in Germany. As far as history, geography and ferocity of feeling are concerned, the so-called “Klassiker” is comfortably out-derbied by the hot-blooded, neighbourly Ruhrpott battle that is Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04.”
7 | Flamengo vs Fluminense
The Athletic’s Jack Lang says: “It is fitting — and surely no accident — that the mythic quality of Brazilian football is so perfectly expressed by its biggest derby. Flamengo vs Fluminense isn’t so much a football match as a canvas upon which hopes, dreams and fears have been painted for over a century. You cannot understand Rio de Janeiro without getting to grips with it.”
6 | Tottenham vs Arsenal
The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke says: “What makes the north London derby so special? You can look back at the historical roots: at the grip that Tottenham had over north London at the start of the 20th century, a grip broken by the decision of Woolwich Arsenal to move from south-east London to Islington in 1913, undermining Tottenham’s control of the area. In 1919 Arsenal manoeuvred to take Spurs’ spot in the First Division, successfully planting themselves as London’s team of the future, appointing the great Herbert Chapman in 1925 and smashing the transfer record to buy David Jack, the first £10,000 player three years later. They were setting themselves up to dominate English football through the 1930s, leaving Tottenham in their wake.”
5 | Liverpool vs Everton
The Athletic’s Caoimhe O’Neill says: “Globally, it won’t have the same pulling power as say Liverpool vs Manchester United. But locally it’s huge and Liverpool has always felt like the centre of the universe. But on derby day it really is — there is only Anfield or Goodison Park. Two clubs, a mile apart. It doesn’t get much closer, it doesn’t get much bigger. “Liverpool is the pool of life. It makes to live. Even if that means to live on the edge of your seat. Nothing makes you feel the way that game does.”
4 | Man Utd vs Liverpool
The Athletic’s James Pearce says: “They are the genuine heavyweights of English football. The two most successful clubs with a staggering 39 top-flight titles and nine European Cups between them. Both boast vast global fanbases and the outcome of the fixture always reverberates around the world.”
3 | AC Milan vs Inter Milan
The Athletic’s James Horncastle says: “By my reckoning, four Italian derbies make this list. Atmosphere-wise, only Belgrade and Istanbul come close to an Italian rivalry. But if I have to pick — and it is like agonising over the primi and secondi at an osteria — I’ll go for the Madonnina.”
2 | Real Madrid vs Barcelona
The Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan says: “Even if you are sceptical of La Liga’s claims that about 10 per cent of the world’s population views each Clasico on TV, the entire football world usually stops whatever it is doing to watch. It really is the biggest club rivalry in world football, whatever way you look at it.”
1 | Man City vs Man Utd
The Athletic’s Sam Lee says: “It’s a day that means different things to different people, whether you wake up thinking of Shaun Goater and Yaya Toure or Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. No matter who is the dominant force, no matter who is down on their luck, the derby has always had that ability to make club legends of anybody in an instant, no matter their prior status. And a game that might not have meant too much to fans around the country 15 years ago is now one of the most important games in the English football calendar because there is always something riding on it beyond local pride.”