The 5 Best Football Derbys to Watch Around the World

During my travels to every country in the world, I made a point of watching as many live games as possible. I’ve been to league matches in Kenya, Senegal, Thailand, and South Korea. Even better, my dreams came true when I managed to watch the World Cup Finals in both South Africa in 2010, and in Brazil in 2014 (in the Maracana Stadium, no less). I also did some work with Qatar during Russia 2018 and watched Croatia beating England in the semi-final. But I haven’t seen any of the best Football Derbys in world football, at least not yet!

Best Football Derbys
Me at the World Cup final in 2010!

I’m a huge Liverpool fan too. So I’ve dragged my wife to watch Liverpool at Anfield a couple of times on top of that too. Something I think she’s resigned to getting used to on our future holidays from Thailand, where we live. But, there are 5 Best Football Derbys in the world that I’m dying to watch. And I’m making a point of trying to see them all before it’s too late. Picking who is going to be victorious when the rivalry is heated though? That’s tough. If someone can tell me how to bet on football and win, that would be helpful! But without further ado, here are the 5 best Derbys in world football to watch in person:

Superclásico, Buenos Aries, Argentina: Boca Juniors vs River Plate

Like all intense rivalries, this transcends merely football. The hatred stems from more of a socio-economic tension. Where River Plate are seen as the rich boys from the nice side of the city. And Boca, Madonna’s team, are the working-class heroes. The stadiums literally wobble when the crowd gets going. Especially at Boca’s stadium.

When I was in Buenos Aries I tried to get tickets for this one, undoubtedly one of the Best Football Derbys, but no chance. Next time I hope!

Superclasico Argentina

The Istanbul Derby, Istanbul, Turkey: Galatasary vrs Fenerbahce:

Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world. And while most people dream about the hot air balloon in Cappadoccia. It’s the football that does it for me!

And this one is possibly the fiercest derby of all them all. These two giants split the city with Galatasary being on the European side of Istanbul with Fenerbahce on the Asian side. Turkish fans are known for being, ahem, ‘passionate’. And on game day expect flares, missiles, and the odd spot of violence. If you are on holiday here and catch the game, don’t pick aside and don’t wear one of the shirts. Stay neutral and soak it up.

Galatasary Fenerbahce derby

The Old Firm Derby, Edinburgh, Scotland:  Rangers vrs Celtic

One of the oldest derbies in the world, this one is particularly explosive thanks to the religious connotations each side carries. With Celtic a famous Roman-Catholic team and Rangers a famous Protestant side.

It was only in the last 15 years or so that players of opposing religions would even sign for the other side! Don’t wear anything blue or green on this day, guys.

Best Football Derbys

El Classico, Madrid, Spain – Real Madrid vrs Barcelona

Perhaps the two most famous teams in the world play in El Classico each season to a backdrop of political confrontations.

Not officially one of the Best Football Derbys as it’s not quite a derby. One is in Madrid and the other in Barcelona, this game is often the most-watched match on the planet each season. It’s intensified due to the fact that each side has opposing political positions (Spanish and Catalan nationalism) so that cranks the atmosphere up another notch. And then the Messi vrs Ronaldo years too, what a rivalry.

El Classico Pigs head
Luis Figo transferred between the two teams, on his first appearance in the El Classico, someone threw a pig’s head at him!

The Fla-Flu, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Flamengo vrs Fluminese

This derby is played at unofficially the biggest football stadium in the world, the iconic Maracana. Where the record attendance was said to be 200,000!!

Flares and banners are rife. So, unfortunately, is the violence that comes too. But it’s a football spectacle, that’s for sure.

Best Football Derbys

And one bonus game to keep me happy? Liverpool against Manchester United. Again, not quite a derby but huge rivals, and the 2 most successful clubs in English football. wiTH Jurgen Klopp knocking Manchester United off their perch again in recent years. Reinstating Liverpool as the most successful English club in the game.

Things to do in Liverpool
Things to do in Liverpool; Visit Anfield, home of Liverpool FC. The best club in the world!

These are all on my travel bucket lists, even if it takes me a lifetime I’ll see all these games for sure.

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