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The 10 Biggest Derbies In World Football

The Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is the biggest fixture in South Africa, and sits in position 31 of FourFourTwo's biggest derbies in the game. Here are the top 10, including one other African derby.

Tired of reading? Click through the gallery to see the 10 biggest derbies in world football, according to FourFourTwo.

FourFourTwo journalists collated a list of the 50 biggest derbies in world football, and the Soweto Derby appears in 31st position.

While it's not explained how FFT came up with their ranking, they do explain the popularity of the biggest South African derby as follows: "Soweto's population is around 1.2m, but something like 30m follow its two biggest clubs.

"The first derby was in 1970 and the clubs have been close rivals ever since, fighting not just for local superiority but national supremacy.

"Since the 1996 founding of the Premier Soccer League they have won four titles each, and although billionaire-backed Pretorian club Mamelodi Sundowns – known as the Chelsea of South African football – have won six, the two Soweto teams are easily the most popular clubs in southern Africa.

"Such is their pull that derbies have been staged in packed stadiums as far away as Durban and Port Elizabeth.

"Sadly, this popularity has proved disastrous. During a 1991 friendly at an overcrowded Oppenheimer Stadium, violent reaction to a controversial goal caused a stampede which killed 42 people.

"A decade later, up to 120 000 people were admitted to the 60 000-capacity Ellis Park, and the ensuing crush killed 43."

The Egyptian derby between African giants Al Ahly and Zamalek was listed in 10th position, while clashes such as Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool vs Manchester United, the Rome derby and El Clasico also appear in the top 10.

However, the clash between Argentina superclubs Boca Juniors and River Plate has been named the biggest rivalry of them all.

Opposing fans call each other gallinas (chickens) and chanchitos (little pigs), and both sides have dominated Argentine football, with River having won 36 league titles and Boca 31.

"A hundred years ago it was about working class vs aristocracy. Today it's just about hate," Martin Mazur, an Argentine expert, describes the biggest, baddest derby of them all.

"The on-pitch atmosphere reflects the 2 000 policemen that patrol the stadium: bust-ups, red cards (two per game is common) and controversy are part of the derby.

"Attending a Boca-River game, especially at La Bombonera, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In the stands you can expect anything – from chicken feathers to flying pigs."

Read: 10 Stars Who Believe Messi Is Better Than Ronaldo

Which do you think is the biggest derby in world football, and how does the Soweto Derby compare to football's biggest clashes? Have your say in the comments section below.

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