Top 10 Best Rivalries in Sports

Sports and rivalries go hand in hand. There's something about a heated competition that brings out the best, and sometimes worst, in athletes and fans alike. Whether it's a classic showdown between two teams with a long history of bad blood or a recent rivalry that's just starting to heat up, sports rivalries always seem to bring out the passion and intensity in everyone involved.

And with so many sports and teams out there, it's no surprise that there are countless rivalries to choose from. From the gridiron to the diamond, from the ice rink to the basketball court, there are rivalries in every sport and at every level of competition.

So which rivalries are the best of the best? That's where you come in. We've put together a list of some of the greatest sports rivalries of all time, but we want your input. Vote for your favorites and let us know which ones you think deserve to be at the top of the list.

Whether you're a die-hard fan who lives and breathes your team's colors or just someone who loves the thrill of a good game, there's sure to be a rivalry on this list that will get your blood pumping. So grab your foam finger, paint your face, and get ready to cheer on your team as we dive into some of the most intense and unforgettable rivalries in sports.
The Top Ten
1 Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona

Umm baseball and American football/rugby or whatever it is, is played only in america and a handful of nations which is only say 10% of the world population. Ask an Indian like me or a Chinese or Russian we don't even know what the michigan or yankee teams are. Soccer on the other hand is universal. Even a kid in sudan knows Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Hence the greatest sport rivalry ever simply has to be the greatest soccer (football) rivalry in history.

by the way a match between Madrid and Barca is called the "El Classico" or "The Classic" and when they play, every professional football player has admitted this, each and every football player or manager around the world stops whatever he or she is doing and sits and watches this game.

El clasico is the clash of two different philosophies, two different religions, and in a way, two different countries. Their rivalry was set by the Spanish civil war and ever since, Barcelona has vying for independence on the football field. Political ties add that backdrop to the rivalry that no other rivalry has. The fans will always hate each other, going to extreme lengths to express that hate. It is not Real Madrid vs Fc Barcelona, it is Spain vs Catalonia, the spaniards vs the cules, Spanish language vs Catalan Language, it is most definitely the biggest rivalry in world sport.

One of the biggest rivalries probably the biggest. The both are football super powers. They dominate they pitch and they are the best teams in Spain. They both have top class players like Messi Neymar squarez dani Alves and people like that for real they have Ronaldo bale and benzema. Even FIFA approve this. I was playing career mode as Barcelona and I was trying to sign Ronaldo he said he won't come because the rivalry is to big and the fans would not accept him

We are talking about a world wide rivalry right here. Yankees vs Red Sox what? Ask a person in Qatar about some Yankees vs Red Sox and let me know if he even knows what you're talking about, and also y'all might be what is Qatar well search it up and you'll see till where soccer has an impact!

2 Michigan vs. Ohio State Football

I don't understand what money brought in has to do with biggest rivalry. If biggest rivalry is based on financial gain all spots should be NFL. This game is a big deal because 3 quarters of all Big 10 football seasons this game determined conference champ. The two neighboring statesdo not like each other. Oh and this game does pull in a lot of dough. Michigan plays in the largest stadium in the country and Ohio St the third. Both stadiums sellout every game they play. Michigan has had at least 100,000 in attendance since the early 70's. To scalp a nose bleed seat to this game it's gonna cost you 500 a ticket. Michigan Ohio St is the biggest rivalry in sports period.

This isn't a one day a year rivalry. This game defines both States for the entire year. No one from Ohio is caught dead with blue on, and no one from Michigan is caught dead with Scarlet on. This is more than football. When I was a child, even before I knew what sports were, I was taught to Hate Michigan. I didn't just hate the University of Michigan, no that is too easy we are taught to hate the whole state and all of its inhabitants. I know people who drive through each others state and they refuse to stop and get gas or eat a meal because they don't want their tax money going to the other state. This is more than a sports rivalry, this is just pure unadulterated hatred between two groups of people.

First of all I am a Liverpool supporter so full disclosure. I was curious what statistics you are basing this list off of? LFC v United pulled in 700 million views on game day this year on the same day as Real v Barca pulled in 500 million audience and they are just league (regular season) games. The largest ever viewing of even the Super Bowel is an audience of 114 million? I find it terribly hard to believe that Ohio State v Michigan State pulls in next to near what the Super Bowel does, so like I said I am curious as to what you are basing this list off of? Liverpool and United have been playing each other for over 150 years also? Oh I forgot to mention I am also a Spartans Fan, but strictly hoops, for March Madness especially. I am also happy to accept if this list in no particular order?

A lot of people may not know this but this rivalry goes far beyond sports. It is a rivalry of States. Ohio and Michigan have actually declared war on eachother. These two have been at it for over 150 years and the college football rivalry is just an extension of this rivalry. So my response to the duke Carolina advocate is simply this, Learn your history these two schools have been at it for almost 100 years and an animosity that stretches beyond that. Their anger towards eachother pushes them to go above and beyond what their record says they can do to achieve great things. A good team doing well is expected but a low ranked team beating a the top team? That is rivalry!

3 India vs. Pakistan Cricket

Arguably the biggest rivalry in sports! There is an immense excitement prior to the match, people skip their offices, shut their business, students bunk their schools & colleges just for this game. A game watched by 1.2 Billion mad cricket fans of both the countries. The match gets so close and intense at times, that fans from both sides loose their cool, by which they end up breaking their T.V sets in anger. And a few suffer a Cardiac arrest at times, unable to digest the loss. Such is the love and craziness for this game here in the Subcontinent. Should have been ranked 1 on the list.

Very intense, stressful, entertaining, argh, yeah and dynamic matches. Players put in the hearts and souls into the each I vs P game...fueled by the mammoth energy and drive from the crowds on and off the field. Either would prefer a victory over the other than winning a particular tournament which is at times funny, specially the fans.

It's so intense that the buildup and T.V. shows (pre and post game) to the game are 10-15 times more in number of airtime than the actual games.

Past players describe the feeling of feeling extra 100 kg of weights on their shoulders before every game and immense sign of relief post games.

Parents in India usually prefer studies the most important thing. But in an India vs Pakistan match even most of the parents allow us to stay at home and watch the game, the schools and offices almost go vacant. And just 1 to 5 matches played in an year makes it even more interesting. People remember every second of the match and people from the winning country mock each other. Losing side fans burn the houses of Cricketers, abuse them. I saw during Champions Trophy 2017, India vs Pak final was trending at number 2 in USA on Twitter. What more to say?

This is not the rivalry of sport or any kind of game. This match represent the actual war between two countries. In history books there are 4 wars between these two countries but no one count the wars when they face each other on cricket ground.

4 Yankees vs. Red Sox Baseball

former baseball and Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee once said "The people of Boston live in silent dread of the Yankees. Whenever the Red Sox prepared to play the Yankees, it was as if they were dressing up for battle... We knew we were getting ready to take the field and uphold our values, as though we were knights in armor. That's how I felt. And I Wasn't alone."
Its Joeysworld

The most intense rivalry the world. The 2003 and 2004 ALCS just defines it. the curse of the bambino. The Red Sox trading the best player in baseball history to the Yankees that would put a curse on the for 86 years. The intense brawls in the 1970s, then more brawls in the early 2000s in an overall peaceful sport. An 80 year old pitching coach being thrown down by a pitcher. in 2003 the walk off homerun in Game 7, Bottom of the 11th that would send the Yankees to the world series. Then the next year in 2004, after the Yankees took a 3-0 series lead, the Red Sox won 4 strait to go to the world series and reverse the curse. Games with some of the best, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguesz, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez. There is no question that this is the best rivalry in all of sports. Case closed.

Absolutely the biggest rivalry in sports: from Frazier selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1929 to the Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the 2004 ALCS and everything in btween, this rivalry has been absolutely fierce. I don't know why this is behind some little college football rivalry. This is the real deal.

I don't know why but Boston's sports teams have some of the most intense rivalries, but Yankees vs. Red Sox takes the cake. I can't say I've ever known a fan of one who doesn't hate fans of the other.

5 Celtics vs. Lakers Basketball

They are the biggest of the Nba, the green vs yellow. Also they had some of the best players. Larry bird, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille o'neal, just to name a few. Plus the Celtics have 17 championships, the Lakers have 16. 1st and 2nd place. Undoubtedly the best in the Nba

Green and Yellow Jerseys. What a good match up

When they play, it gets tense. Go Celtics!

6 Bruins vs. Canadians Hockey

I'm a habs fan and I despise the Bruins. Growing up in Montreal hockey is a part of life. The folk heroes are Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, And Jaques Plante. When Chara almost killed Pacioretty a few
years ago I Flipped out. I couldn't believe those Bruins were trying to beat the clearly superior team. Go Habs Go!

Biggest, and most brutal rivalry in sports. Any time the two teams meet, its extreme high intensity, and a blood battle. Should be top 3, if not, then first place on this list. Most bostonians would agree this rivalry is much more intense than sox's vs Yankees

I don't know how you could not have this in the top ten. Two teams that have faced each other almost 900 times including 33 playoff series and 8 game 7 battles. Colts vs. Patriots? You're out of your mind.

The Bruins and the Habs are easily the best rivalry in sports. They have death threats, bench brawls, and literal neck breaking action. Undoubtedly the best sports, let alone hockey, rivalry of all time.

7 Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal

Two of the best athletes ever in the world's hardest sport. It may not have the hate of other rivalries but the competition is intense.

Fiercely contested and always exciting, strong candidate for the best rivalry.

Two of the greatest players ever in a rivalry spanning so many years.

This legendary rivalry has to be higher on the list.

8 Duke vs. Carolina Basketball

This is by far the best because both are continuously great. OSU and Michigan took long breaks from win national championships. So long for Michigan, in fact, that between their last two championships we sent a man to the moon. For Ohio State, the US exited the Vietnam War and communism fell and much more. If you aren't in the national conversation, your rivalry is consistently insignificant.

The best rivalry in college athletics without any doubt. The fact that both programs are as good as often as they are (they account for 8 national championships since 1982 not to mention that one or the other has been in the Final Four 20 of the 28 years since 1982 and once both made it! ) is unparalleled in any rivalry in ANY sport. Although the Red Sox-Yankees and Liverpool-ManU rivalries obviously are professional and therefore attract much larger urban and national fanbases in a way that Duke-Carolina cannot, no other rivalry has as sustained a record of success for BOTH teams in their respective leagues for so long, making this the best rivalry possibly of all sports. The fact that these 2 play each other twice in no way diminishes the rivalry aspect, much as many proponents of the Ohio State-Michigan football rivalry like to claim. (No one claims that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is in any way diminished by the fact that they play multiple games against each other, to prove the ...more

If you live on North Carolina, you are born rooting for Carolina or Duke. The state shuts down for the game. Tickets are upwards of thousands of dollars a ticket. It's bationslly known. Carolina and Duke also have 12 national titles between the 2. They share 80 percent of season champs and 60 of tournament champs. Have you ever seen a final four without duke or Carolina in it!?

No contest best rivalry in sports. The number of times that these teams have been ranked within the top 3 in the country or 1 and 2 in the nation is unbelievable. They are annually a part of the top ten year in and year out. The same can not be said of Michigan and Ohio State. This explains why Duke and UNC is the best rivalry in sports.

9 Packers vs. Bears Football

The Chicago Bears. A team built on toughness and centered in the great city of Chicago. One of the most respected teams in the sport, no matter what their record might be.
The Green Bay Packers. A team built on cheese in a small town that could easily be fit into the stadium.

I'll let you choose which one you like better.

Don't care if Rodgers is #1. Don't care on how many Super Bowls. Don't care on how many championships. Don't care about Vince Lombardi. Don't care about Bart Starr. Bears rule forever, no matter how they suck.

Hands down the best. Games usually come down to the wire and they have played almost 190 times over the course of 90+ years.

This is a great rivalry. My family are all Bears fans and we love the Packers Bears games. The best rivalry in sports.

10 Rangers vs. Islanders Hockey

The Rangers have a original 6 legacy and 4 cups. The Isles have the longest playoff series winning streak in North American Sports history (1980-1983, 19 consecutive series won) and... 4 cups.

You can't take away either of those from either team. Both teams have history, and while the Rangers are more popular, the Isles have won earned their keep in New York much more quickly by getting the same amount of cups in half the time.

Neither team is going anywhere...

Two teams from New York that each have huge fan bases and is always a close game? This is one of the top NHL rivalries by far.

I'm from New York and I can safely say this is the only true local rivalry (Go Isles)

The Contenders
11 Notre Dame vs. USC Football

The two greatest teams in college football history. The Irish and Trojans historically have fought for a national championship as the two programs claim 11 National Championships each all though Notre Dame has 11 consensus championships compared to USC's 6. Both schools have 7 Heisman winners and have produced the most NFL players, NFL Hall of Famers and College Football hall of Famers in history. This rivalry is a respectful one but stakes are always high. They fight on the field and in the recruiting war. MICH-OSU may have more hate for each other but and-USC is the rivalry of champions.

It' is only number 15 because people don't respect long distance rivals like instate rivals. This is shameful because of who we are talking about. It's and vs USC. One of these teams gathered millions to watch, but the rivalry was something everyone needed to see. A general fan of college football would rate this in the top two rivalries.

This is easily the best rivalry in all of the football universe.

12 Blackhawks vs. Red Wings Hockey

Should be way higher up I think. One of the oldest Original 6, and western division rivalries before the 2013 reallignment. Intensity and hatred similar to habs bruins.

Who ever said that the red wings and Blackhawks are football teams is a moron.

13 Army vs. Navy

No matter who wins this college football game, America wins. Go Army! Beat Navy!

Best most patriotic game in the land. Go Navy beat Army.

That isn't a sport

14 Colts vs. Patriots Football

Its just not the same anymore ever since Peyton left, but the games are still pretty fierce. Just wait until Andrew Luck becomes more experienced, and Colts vs Pats is gunna be the game to look for again.

15 Cracovia vs. Wisla Krakow
16 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier

Great rivalry. Ali was overall the better boxer but boy, oh boy... Joe punished him brutally.

17 Liverpool vs. Manchester United Soccer

Liverpool vs Manchester United is undoubtedly the greatest football rivalry, if not sports rivalry. The most competitive and intense game. Last season it was Manchester United winning both games 2-1 and Liverpool finished 7th. This season Liverpool beat United 1-0 and 0-3 and United are finishing 7th. Shows the unpredictability.

18 Galatasaray vs. Fenerbahce

This is a very intense rivalry and they both are great at kicking the ball really hard. Galsjbsjvruu is extremely good at megging the Fejdyhsjcsh players. This is cool. Go ghaubeihs.

19 Glasgow Rangers vs. Celtics

*Rangers vs Celtic. Rangers are sometimes referred to as Glasgow Rangers but their proper name is Rangers Football Club - "Rangers". And Celtic (no 's' on the end) are Celtic Football Club - "Celtic"

This should be hands down no1 you should go to a match and see the measures to stop fans from killing each other. It is pure hate in its purest form

Easily #1. Even though the names are incorrect.

Do a bit of reading on this, and you'll change your mind.

This is a should be #1

20 River Plate vs. Boca Juniors

If we are going beyond the pitch, one can make a case for top 3 because it is so volotile. Sadly, violence is guaranteed when these two clubs meet.

Should be top 10, but some American (United States) made this list...
NCAA Basketball rivalry top 2? Are you kidding me?

21 Michigan vs. Michigan State

Everyone in Michigan rather bleeds green or blue. The winner gets bragging rights at every family reunion!

22 Canadiens vs. Nordiques

There has been blood, some bad calls and, mostly, great series. It's the most intense rivalry of alls!

23 Red Star Belgrade vs. Partizan Belgrade
24 Maple Leafs vs. Senators Hockey
25 Auburn vs. Alabama Football

I grew up in Alabama. You were either yelling War Eagle or Roll Tide. That's it. There are no other distractions. No pro teams in ANY sport to get in the way. Zero. It's all about college football. I'll be honest with you - there's nothing else to do in Alabama. The world revolves around this rivalry that involves two of the best programs in the nation every year. 7 out of the last 8 years the winner of this game was in the National Championship Game. Can Michigan and OSU say that? Close? Uh, no. Not close. It's the Heisman Trophy. It's the National Championship. It's the Iron Bowl. It's what exemplifies college football. I can't speak for other countries in the world, but in the United States, this is the best rivalry in sports.

Losing the iron bowl is similar to losing a relative. Simply the greatest rivalry in all of sports. The hatred shared between the two schools is unmatched. An Alabama fan poisoned the famous Toomers corner trees in auburn because Alabama lost in 2010. People become unhinged in November in Alabama. An added bonus is the caliber at which the two teams play at. The winner of the iron bowl has played in the last five national championships. I didn't really care that auburn lost the national championship as long as I had my 364 days of bragging rights against Alabama.

Alabama has 2 legitimate sports teams that's it there are no other teams to watch or cheer for in the whole state you have Auburn and Alabama THAT IS IT. There is no other place like it. The atmosphere at the Iron Bowl is like no other. One of the best sports experience I have ever had. This coming from a die hard Georgia fan that has been to many Georgia vs Florida games and Georgia vs Georgia Tech games and they just don't compete.

Simply the best rivalry in all of college football. Since these two teams absolutely despise each other and are usually competing for a national title, this rivalry has passed historic rivalries such as Texas/Oklahoma, USC/Notre Dame, BYU/Utah, and even Michigan/Ohio State as the best rivalry in the sport.

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