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Skysports.com draws up a 10-strong list of top derbies from across the globe ahead of Sunday's colossal clashes.
Manchester City and Manchester United go head-to-head at Eastlands, while Arsenal make the trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea - with both games live on Sky Sports 1 & HD1.
We look at some of the fiercest rivalries in football; from Scotland, to Argentina, to Egypt.
The Old Firm derby between Scotland's two most successful clubs dates back to 1888. The encounter is world famous for commitment and tension. The atmosphere when the duo contest at Ibrox Stadium or Celtic Park is rated as one of the most thumping. Violence has often surrounded the clashes as supporters let their emotions get the better of them in a game that is steeped in religion, politics and differing social attitudes. In 1980, around 9,000 fans fought an on-pitch battle in the aftermath of Celtic's 1-0 victory in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden. Gers currently edge the overall match-ups with more wins over their rivals, but the Hoops, who have won three straight SPL titles, will be eager to reduce that deficit when they next do battle in December.
Derby della Madonnina (the Milan derby) sees Italian giants Inter Milan and AC Milan go head-to-head in a contest that always captures the imagination. The rivalry is fierce, the result everything to the supporters. The most infamous of meetings came in 2005 when the pair were drawn against each other in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final. With Inter trailing, tempers boiled over as the fans in black and blue rained objects down onto the pitch. Milan keeper Dida was struck by a flare and the match was soon abandoned. Of late, Inter have dominated Serie A, although their rivals relieved some of their pain with a 1-0 success in September; Ronaldinho the hero/villain that day.
Spurs and the Gunners have played out some truly memorable North London derbies. From 1971's double-clinching triumph for Arsenal to a truly epic final few moments this season as Tottenham Hotspur somehow clawed back a 4-4 draw at Emirates Stadium. Few players have made the switch from white to red and white. Sol Campbell's controversial transfer in 2001 was fraught with debate and even saw the defender receive death threats from enraged supporters. The 2005/06 campaign threw up an engaging finale as the two clubs battled it out for fourth place. The outcome went to the final day when Spurs, hit by food poisoning, lost to West Ham and Arsenal triumphed to finish two points above their rivals and deny them of a Champions League berth.
Blue meets red to leave those loyal to the sides in question decidedly purple-faced with passion during 90 minutes of all-out devotion to the badge. The first league meeting between the Lancashire pair took place in the 1894/95 season, and Sunday 30th November 2008 marks their 150th clash in all competitions. The Manchester derbies in the 1970s were often bad tempered affairs; on one occasion Red Devils legend George Best tackling and breaking Glyn Pardoe's leg. Then 2001 saw Roy Keane's infamous hack at Alf-Inge Haaland that resulted in the Norwegian calling a premature end to his playing career. United have enjoyed unrivalled glory over the years, although City recorded their own delight last term when they claimed victories in both derby matches, beating their rivals at Old Trafford for the first time since April 1974 in the process.
Superclasico: the colossal encounter that sees two clubs from Buenos Aires battle for bragging rights until their next South America rendezvous. The match-up is world-renowned for its devoted capacity crowds that conjure an unforgettable atmosphere. Football fanatics travel far and wide to witness the meeting of Argentina's two biggest sides. Riots have been plentiful while police often have to battle against violence. 23rd June 1968 marked a grey day for the fixture as 71 fans died at Estadio Monumental when they were crushed at gate 12. The rivalry between the pair remained thick in the air after the tragedy as an investigation found nobody guilty despite several theories behind the happenings on that summer's day. Social class also plays a part in the history of his contest, with Boca Juniors said to be the club of Argentina's working class, in contrast with the supposedly upper-class support base of River Plate.
The Merseyside derby is a monster of an encounter that sees Liverpool and Everton fans run their fingers down a fresh fixture list hungry to discover the dates of their scheduled match-ups for the term ahead. The 'friendly derby' is blue v red, Goodison Park v Anfield - with Stanley Park acting as the border that separates two rivals. It is the longest currently running top-flight derby in England, having been at that level since 1962 when Liverpool were promoted to the First Division. The duo have played out countless epic matches, including Ian Rush's quartet of goals in a 5-0 triumph over the Toffees, Everton bringing an end to Liverpool's 29-game unbeaten run in 1988, and 1991's 4-4 goalfest in the FA Cup. This term, the Reds were triumphant on their opponents' soil as Fernando Torres netted a clinical double.
The Derby della Capitale is more than just a game; it is a war of football. Twice a season Lazio and Roma lock horns in the league at their home, the Stadio Olimpico. This is a derby great. Battles often ensue between the Lazio ultras in Curva Nord and the Roma ultras in Curva Sud. Violence is usually prevalent. In 1979, Lazio fan Vincenzo Paparelli died after he was hit by a flare. Paparelli is remembered to this day and is a symbol of the Biancocelesti's passion for the derby. In 2004, the encounter was abandoned after rumours spread suggesting a child had been killed by the police. The aftermath saw stands set on fire, 13 arrests and over 170 injuries. Earlier this November, Roma claimed the Eternal City bragging rights after disposing of Lazio in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Turkey's two most successful clubs engage in an enthralling and heart-thumping derby, with some fans regarding the result of the meeting more important than their final Super Lig standing. It is suggested Fenerbahce, situated on the Asian side of the Istanbul Strait, were primarily supported by the working class with Galatasaray followed by the affluent. Lately, though, it is said that Fener have received financial following, too. It is reported that in 1934 the first friendly match between the pair took place and was abandoned as riots broke out. An unforgettable incident in the clubs' histories centres around Graeme Souness' hotly debated decision to plant a large Galatasaray flag in the middle of the Fener pitch after his side, Galatasaray, had won the Turkish Cup final in 1996.
The Cairo derby sees Africa's two most successful clubs lock horns in an almighty contest viewed by many. Al-Ahly and Zamalek were named as the top two African clubs of the 20th Century by Confederation of African Football. The duo - located in Greater Cairo - combat in a tense and closely-fought fixture. So heated are the meetings that a foreign referee is drafted in to officiate. In Egypt, 1966 is remembered for a different reason to that of the Three Lions after a controversial penalty sparked riots causing damages to Zamalek's main stadium and the burning of a factory near the ground.
While technically not a local derby, Real Madrid v Barcelona is a match that encompasses a fascinating rivalry between two Spanish giants. El Clasico is one of the grandest match-ups in football. Barca and Real are torn by adversary regions in Spain: Catalonia and Castile, respectively. Furthermore, Francisco Franco's regime suppressed the Catalan ways, deepening the Blaugrana's friction with Franco's preferred side, Real. In the 1950s, the clubs battled off the field over the signing of Alfredo Di Stefano, who eventually joined Real. Luis Figo then caused outrage in 2000 when he left Barca for their foes; a move which led to the infamous throwing of a pig's head onto the pitch as fans vented their disgust.
Tyne Wear Derby for sure!!! Its surely not based on what the games are like its the aftermath that makes it the most fiercest derby in England!!!
Posted 21:49 3rd December 2008
Birmingham Vs Villa? Why would this be before any of the above teams? Birmingham are in the Championship. I've seen a better Derby with Dundee and Dundee UTD and thats bad lol.
Posted 15:37 1st December 2008
Well as great as these derbies are only two of them could be classed in the top 10 when it comes to fiercest, thats roma/lazio and river/boca. but instead of all these british ones, you need to be looking towards eastern europe where wars and deaths regular occur from football. Also if you are going to include barca - real, then what about Southampton - Portsmouth haha.
Posted 13:24 1st December 2008
Spurs vs Arsenal got ahead of Sunderland vs Newcastle! Madness! I think that they have left the biggest derby out of the entire list!
Posted 12:52 29th November 2008
You are joking? You include Arsenal v Spurs, but not the Tyne-Wear derby? Seriously? Arsenal-Spurs games are often dull with little atmosphere.
Posted 20:50 28th November 2008
Not a bad list, but too Euro-centric. Boca-River is obviously huge, but there are several other South American derbies that are way beyond the scale of, for instance, Spurs-Arsenal. Flamengo-Fluminense in Rio, Colo Colo-Universidad de Chile in Santiago, and two other huge derbies in Argentina: the Avellaneda Derby between Racing and Independiente, and the Rosario derby between Newell's Old Boys and and Rosario Central. You'll find way more passion and atmosphere at these games than at the Emirates, that's for sure.
Posted 18:32 28th November 2008
what about newcastle - sunderland!!!
Posted 16:46 28th November 2008
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