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The best derbies in Europe – ranked

For football fans, there is nothing better than derby day.

Whether it’s a rivalry based off the success of your clubs or the locality of the two sides, the buzz in the air and atmosphere in the ground when these teams clash with each other is what makes everyone love football.

But which derbies across Europe are the best? Here’s the top ten – ranked.

Ajax vs Feyenoord is one of the biggest games in HollandAjax vs Feyenoord is one of the biggest games in Holland
Ajax vs Feyenoord is one of the biggest games in Holland | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

‘De Klassieker’ is the biggest derby in Dutch football, contested between Ajax and Feyenoord.

Two of the three most successful clubs in the Netherlands, the rivalry goes beyond football with fans clashing off the pitch several times over the years. Those battles often spill over onto the pitch too, where Ajax tend to come out on top more often than not – but the passion and hatred between the fans makes this a spectacle every time they meet.

The north London derby is one of the most electric in EnglandThe north London derby is one of the most electric in England
The north London derby is one of the most electric in England | Ben Radford/Getty Images

The north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is undoubtedly the most entertaining in England, and it is because there’s be more goals scored in this game than any other in the country. Simple.

Arsenal have the upper hand historically, twice winning the league at Spurs’ ground although in recent years Tottenham have closed the gap by finishing above the Gunners in the league.

The two most successful teams in Portugal have a fierce rivalryThe two most successful teams in Portugal have a fierce rivalry
The two most successful teams in Portugal have a fierce rivalry | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

‘O Classico’ is Portugal’s biggest game, played between their two most successful teams.

Between them Porto and Benfica have won seven European trophies, plus a whopping 66 national league championships.

Whenever the two sides meet there tends to be some sort of title implications and it almost always lives up to the expectations – with only 17 0-0 draws in 246 meetings between the teams.

Italy's capital is the home of two huge football clubsItaly's capital is the home of two huge football clubs
Italy’s capital is the home of two huge football clubs | New Press/Getty Images

The Derby della Capitale is the fiercest rivalry in Italy, played out between two teams who just genuinely hate one another.

Roma – Lazio is arguably the most heated derby in all of Italy, with the two sides regularly playing out ill-tempered games at Stadio Olimpico.

England's two most successful sides are bitter enemiesEngland's two most successful sides are bitter enemies
England’s two most successful sides are bitter enemies | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The north west derby is England’s biggest derby between the two most successful clubs in the country.

Manchester United and Liverpool have won a combined 39 league titles and nine Champions League titles, and often find themselves competing against each other at the top end of the league each season.

The Milan derby is one of the most famous in footballThe Milan derby is one of the most famous in football
The Milan derby is one of the most famous in football | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Notoriously two of the most successful teams in Italy, the two Milan giants have rekindled their rivalry recently after a few years of mediocrity.

If you think of the best Italian players ever, the likelihood is that they played for one of AC Milan or Internazionale.

An incredibly intense rivalry between two sides in SerbiaAn incredibly intense rivalry between two sides in Serbia
An incredibly intense rivalry between two sides in Serbia | Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images

When a derby is called ‘The Eternal Derby’, you know it’s a good one.

Local pride is always at stake when Red Star and Partizan meet, with fans turning out in their thousands with flares and drums to intimidate the opposition as much as possible.

They are the two most successful clubs in Serbia, with Red Star having won a record 31 league titles ahead of Partizan’s 27.

Two of four teams in Turkey's capital Two of four teams in Turkey's capital
Two of four teams in Turkey’s capital | OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

Istanbul is a lot like London in the sense that it has a lot of big teams that play there – but there are two that stand out more than any others.

Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are the two most successful teams in Turkey, and as such, bloody hate one another.

The hatred is true and runs deep through football and into society, making for one of the most passionate derbies in football.

This rivalry goes beyond footballThis rivalry goes beyond football
This rivalry goes beyond football | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Little old Scotland is the host of one of the greatest derbies in all of football.

The two biggest teams in the country are both based in Glasgow but the rivalry runs much deeper than just locality, as the two fan bases are usually at loggerheads over politics and religion too.

The biggest rivalry in Europe, by a distanceThe biggest rivalry in Europe, by a distance
The biggest rivalry in Europe, by a distance | David Ramos/Getty Images

Of course El Clasico is top of this list. It’s the derby game between two biggest football teams in the world.

The game has regularly pitted the best players in the world against one another with Champions Leagues, La Liga, and Copa del Rey titles on the line.

It’s fiery, passionate, high quality and, by quite some distance, the best derby in Europe.

Source: 90mins

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