Top 15 World Football Derbies

Football, much like any professional sport, is one which is very often governed by the laws of rivalry. Some are casual altercations that simmer in the match-day heat before dissipating from the public conciousness once the full-time whistle is blown - but there are more than a handful of big derby day clashes that no amount of silverware can ever replace, no managerial changes can eradicate and not even time can change. These are the big moments in the club football calendar that remain with us long after the match ends and continue to make us excited year after year.

Whether its local pride, the battle to prove oneself against a noisy neighbour or the chance to avenge past defeats, these fixtures always get their respective players riled up. Often times, clubs will save their best performance of the season just for matches like these - because to lose would mean shame and regret for weeks and months to come.

Ranging from Ireland to Argentina, there are a whole host of magnificent games where fierce competitors go head-to-head in an effort to prove themselves, but for this particular selection only matches from a country's top league have been considered. This list focuses largely on European battles due to the number of high-quality derbies situated there, but a select few from elsewhere have also been included. Notable absentees include the North London derby and the Tyne-Wear derby, excluded to avoid too much emphasis on one country; after all this list intends to focus on the best world football has to offer, as much as possible.

Nevertheless, there is something here for just about every type of football fan, whether you're a follower of the Irish Premier Division, La Liga, the Premier League, Dutch Eredivisie or the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.

Feel like we've left something out? Have your say in the comments section, below.

15 Dublin Derby: Bohemian vs. Shamrock Rovers


This Irish Premier Division clash is over a century in existence and it's no stranger to its fair share of brow-raising incidents and crudeness. Grabbing headlines a number of years ago when a severed pig's head was thrown on to the field of play before kick-off, it is also partial to violent scuffles between both sets of supporters.

14 Intercontinental Derby: Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray


Renowned for its lively atmosphere and often grotesque violence, it often gets neglected due to the lack of big name players in the Turkish domestic game. Nevertheless, it is never far from the headlines and is often mired in controversy.

13 Le Classique: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Olympique Marseille


The biggest club fixture in France has pitted so many ideals against each other since it began, and it's always adding new ones. In recent times it has not only been a clash of capital-south or new-old, rather it has become a clash of differing styles and, most importantly, a top-of-the-table wrestle for the Ligue 1 crown.

12 Derby Della Madonnina: AC Milan vs. Inter Milan

REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The first of two Italian derbies on our list, this one makes the cut despite how little it has mattered in deciding the Serie A in recent years. Two waning forces in the game, neither side have replicated their form of old in recent seasons, despite holding 36 league titles between them.

11 De Klassieker: Ajax vs. Feyenoord


It's interesting to note that Ajax have won twice as many Eredivisie titles as their fierce adversaries and they have also emerged victorious in four of the last five De Klassieker meetings - something that has only served to propel De Stadionclub to chase after De Godenzonen with added haste.

10 North-West Derby: Manchester United vs. Liverpool


A rivalry borne out of a battle for silverware throughout the early 90s and 2000s, this is unlike many of the other derbies featured on our list. Throughout much of this season, with both teams going through somewhat of a transitional period, it has been less about silverware and more about securing their places in a certain prestigious European club competition.

9 Derby Paulista: Palmeiras vs. Corinthians


Two of the most successful clubs in Brazilian football history, this match has long been considered the most mercurial of rivalries. In short, it is extremely volatile, competitive and strained - and there has always been a tangible hatred between both clubs ever since Palmeiras were first formed by a breakaway group of Italian players from Corinthians as far back as 1914.

8 Manchester Derby: United vs. City


"On derby day in Manchester, the city is cut in two. The Blues and the Reds invade the streets, and if your team wins, the city belongs to you." Those are the purposefully poetic words of Eric Cantona - his quote reveals a great deal about just how intrinsic the result is to both teams.

7 Merseyside Derby: Liverpool vs. Everton


Another battle in England, Merseyside plays host to one of the most heated derbies in world football between Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool have been the most prolific side of late, achieving a much better placing in the league on a more frequent basis.

6 Old Firm Derby: Celtic vs. Rangers


The Old Firm derby has not been allowed to shine as brightly in recent years, but with over 400 meetings behind them, there really is a great deal of history there. With Rangers consigned to the Scottish Championship, the match-day allure of their normally riveting battle has been greatly reduced.

5 Derby Della Capitale: AS Roma vs. Lazio


A truly inflammatory clash, this sees insiders and perceived outsiders go to blows time and again in Italy's most explosive tie. Most recently, in the Serie A, the closely-contested encounter ended in a 2-2 draw as goals from Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson were cancelled out by a delightful brace by one-club hero Francesco Totti.

4 Der Klassiker: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund


With their upcoming German Cup semi-final set for the end of April 2015, the hype is already starting to flow freely. The draw of this match remains very much intact despite Dortmund's spectacularly sudden implosion under Jurgen Klopp. Floundering spectacularly, Die Schwarzgelben have not cut a hugely imposing figure and yet the anticipation has stayed.

3 Madrid Derby: Atletico vs. Real


Two of Spain's greatest clubs, they have had a very long and distasteful relationship often fuelled by a misconception about exactly why fascist dictator General Franco was so much more fond of Los Blancos than he was of Atleti; in truth, he was merely using Alfredo di Stefano's five-time European Cup winning displays as propaganda for his own regime.

2 The Superclasico: River Plate vs. Boca Juniors


When River Plate face Boca Juniors in the Superclasico, they get pulses racing - and they have been doing so for over 100 years as the first-ever derby between the pair took place in August, 1913. Since then, they have gone on to become the most successful Argentine clubs.

1 El Clasico: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid


The footballing world stands still when these two sides square up. Because while local derbies mean so much to so many die-hard, dedicated fans, this one transcends boundaries like no other. Back in late 2014, nearly 500 million spectators tuned in to watch - evidence that it remains the biggest derby in world football by a country mile.

A constant source of anticipation, colour and exuberance, it is a must-watch for football fans everywhere. With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both the leading lights of their respective teams, scoring goals for fun, the reasons for watching are truly endless. In truth, only the most supremely talented players feature in this one and it never fails to amaze.

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Top 15 World Football Derbies