11 of football's biggest rivalries

Youssouf Hersi of the Wanderers is challenged by Hagi Gligor of Sydney FC during the round 22 Sydney derby last season. (Getty)

It's rivalry round in the A-League this week with interstate foes Adelaide United hosting Melbourne Victory on Friday night, before Sydney FC welcomes Western Sydney in a local derby on Saturday. Whet your appetite for those matches, and all the others in Round 2 with 11 of the best rivalry contests football has to offer.

1. PARTIZAN BELGRADE V RED STAR BELGRADE

Punch the two protagonists of this Serbian grudge match into Youtube and you'll be there for hours, watching the fans. Luckily we've done it for you. This is why the 'eternal derby' is one of Europe's most intense.

2. ROMA V LAZIO

Italy is full of rivalries and it would always take a big one to knock out the glamorous Milan derby from our list. Step up the two teams from the capital, who do not like each other one bit. And it shows.

3. REAL MADRID V BARCELONA

'El Clasico' is huge: the world's best players, two of the world's best club teams and more spiteful history than a war documentary. Heaven help the player who jumps from one to the other, just ask Luis Figo.

4. LIVERPOOL V MANCHESTER UNITED

Liverpool has its Merseyside derby against Everton and then it has its rivalry with Manchester United, the similar industrial heavyweight which wrestled the mortgage on the trophy cabinet from the Reds in the early 1990s. Tensions have escalated in recent seasons.

5 OLYMPIACOS V PANATHINAIKOS

In Australia we may call it 'silvertails' versus 'fibros'. In Greece this city stoush is known as the 'derby of eternal enemies.' In one corner of the tinderbox sits Olympiacos, from the working class port town of Piraeus and with a swag of titles and cup wins to its name. In the other corner is the equally storied Panathinaikos - the rich boys. This is what happens when the two meet.

6 RANGERS V CELTIC

The Old Firm is not just about opposing sides of a class divide or a city. There are religious divisions – catholic or protestant, political divisions – loyalist or republican, ideological divisions – conservative or socialist - and background divisions. When it's on it's on and none more so than when opposing fans invaded the pitch in 1980 after the Scottish Cup Final, duking it out in a battle that led to alcohol being banned from matches in Scotland.

7 BOCA JUNIORS V RIVER PLATE

A visit to Buenos Aires and the iconic stadium of working class Argentinian club Boca Juniors, la Bombonera, should be on the bucket list of every football fan. If you can get there when fierce city rival River Plate is in town for 'Il Superclasico', even better. This is why:

8 TEHRAN DERBY - PERSEPOLIS V ESTEGHLAL

This derby, considered the biggest in Asia, has a familiar story: working class Persepolis up against establishment Esteghlal. Over the years the matches have been punctuated by violence between fans, fights between players and damage to property. Contested at venues throughout Iran, these stoushes have been officiated by foreign referees since 1995 due to fan concerns over bias. In a direct link with the A-League, Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Liam Reddy played for Esteghlal in a derby. Look for him in this clip.

9 FLUMINENSE V FLAMENGO

'Fla-Flu' holds the world record for attendance at a football match, the fierce Rio de Janeiro rivals attracting 194,603 people to the iconic Maracana Stadium in 1963. Hostilities kicked off between the two clubs in 1911, when a bunch of fed-up Fluminense players defected to Flamengo. Just like that a rivalry was born. These days the renovated Maracana only holds a tick under 75,000, but boy do they know how to make some noise.

10 GALATASARAY V FENERBAHCE

Australia legend Harry Kewell described Galatasaray fans as the best he has played in front for. This might be why. Both Turkish clubs - the protgonists of the 'intercontinental derby' have the requisite amount of mutual disrespect to ensure the usual array of fan hostility that heightens these rivalries. But when they choose to use their powers for good, the result can be spectacular.

11 AL AHLY V ZAMALEK

These two Cairo-based rivals have squared off 213 times in a derby match World Soccer Magazine has described as the eighth-most fierce in football. More than 100,000 fans square off in the stands and in many cases, outside them. During the 1970s one clash caused the entire league to be cancelled. Like with the Tehran derby, the match is refereed by a foreigner and often in a neutral venue.

Source SBS