There’s a lot to consider when selecting the best football cities around the world
Team success and passionate rivalries are crucial
Read below for our group of the top 10 football cities on the planet
Anyone who keeps track of online betting will have their own views on the best football cities around the world.
This is a subjective category, and people will use different credentials to evaluate what makes a footballing city ‘great’.
This isn’t purely about filling the biggest stadiums in the world, nor is it a tally of silverware. Rivalry and success matters, of course, yet this is an evaluation of a city beyond the numbers.
We are looking for cities that live and breathe the sport, and a few areas immediately come to mind when this topic is brought up.
Featuring some of the most famous clubs in football betting odds, here are our top 10 football cities around the world.
Turkey’s ‘Big Three’ are all from Istanbul, combining for 57 titles since the Turkish Süper Lig was founded in 1959.
Add in İstanbul Başakşehir, and that number moves to 58. The dominance of Istanbul across Turkish football cannot be overstated.
These clubs are not just foes on the field either. There is a fierce rivalry between each of the Big Three, and the The Intercontinental Derby is one of the most intense contests in world football.
Fenerbahce and Galatasaray have Graeme Souness to thank for their rivalry jumping to another level of footballing hatred. While three is often a crowd, Besiktas are hardly friendly with their city neighbours either.
Not many cities can come close to how Istanbul feels about its football teams.
If your derby is called the ‘Holy War’, there’s a good chance the city is pretty serious about its football.
Wisla Krakow and Cracovia first played each other in 1908, and it has long been one of Europe’s most aggressive rivalries.
With a long history of violence between fans and the police, the Holy War divides a city. The stadiums are less than a mile apart, yet the rivalry is often brutal in nature.
Hutnik Kraków should also be mentioned, as they also hold a bitter friction with Wisla Krakow and Cracovia despite spending a lot of time outside of the top flight in recent decades.
The Manchester derby is often talked down as a modern creation after years of disparity.
There’s some truth in that, of course, and the relationship between United and City cannot be compared to many of the other city duels on this list.
Manchester is a truly football mad city, though. That much is clear.
Currently with seven teams in the Football League, Greater Manchester has long been a hotbed of professional clubs far beyond the riches of City and persistent attention on Old Trafford.
Glasgow is the home of Scotland’s largest stadia and has four teams in the Scottish Football League.
The Old Firm Derby deservedly sits alongside the Superclásico, Intercontinental Derby and others among the fiercest rivalries in the sport.
Celtic or Rangers have combined to win 106 league titles, and you have to go all the way back to 1985 for the last time any other team lifted the trophy.
While the hostile atmospheres of Ibrox and Celtic Park are what first comes to mind with football in Glasgow, it would be a mistake not to mention Queen’s Park and Partick Thistle, who have contributed to the city’s deep football history.
There’s a strong case for the Superclásico to be regarded atop the list of the biggest football rivalries.
River Plate and Boca Juniors are the names recognised worldwide, yet they are just two of an astonishing 24 professional teams in Buenos Aires.
River and Boca are the two most successful teams in Argentinian football, combining for 71 league titles and 10 Copa Libertadores crowns.
While clearly owners of the most packed trophy cabinets, their achievements are supplemented by the glories of San Lorenzo, Huracán and numerous other clubs who have won the Argentine league title and/or lifted continental hardware.
The derbies are just as plentiful as the silverware in Argentina’s capital. It’s got a football obsession only a handful of cities can come close to.
While two of the most successful football clubs do battle in El Clasico, no rivalry in Spanish football comes close to that of the Seville derby between Real Betis and Sevilla.
Like many local derbies, the historic context of this duel involves a split at Sevilla, which led directly to the founding of Real Betis.
El Gran Derbi first took place in 1915, and Sevilla holds a comfortable advantage in the record books with 64 wins to Betis’ 39.
It’s only a 10-minute drive between the two stadia. The whole of Seville is taken over on derby day. The larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona may have had more success, but neither can compare to the passion in Seville.
Palmeiras, Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Santos. What more is there to add?
Sure, Santos is actually a few miles outside the city, but the expanding metropolis has effectively engulfed the club to be included alongside the other Sao Paulo megapowers.
When it comes to local rivalries, we can take our pick from a few here.
The Paulista Derby, the Clássico Majestoso and The Kings' Clash are competed between combinations of Palmeiras, Corinthians and Sao Paulo, while Santos shares the Clássico Alvi-negro, San-São and Clássico da Saudade with Corinthians, Sao Paulo and Palmeiras respectively.
Tens of millions support this quartet all over Brazil. Over 12 million call Sao Paulo home, and there’s no question it’s one of the world’s best football cities.
Greece’s ‘Big Three’ are located within a stone’s throw of each other.
Olympiacos might be in Piraeus, but they are just a 20-minute drive from AEK Athens’ stadium and a similar distance from Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, home of Panathinaikos.
Even with the emergence of PAOK, the trio remain dominant in Greek football. They have combined for 77 of 84 Super League crowns and regularly occupy the top three spots in the table.
Controversy has only intensified the feelings between Athens’ three superpowers over the last few decades. Taking in the atmosphere when these teams meet is one for any football fan’s bucket list.
Sporting have never finished lower than seventh. Benfica have never finished lower than sixth. The two Lisbon clubs are prevalent in European football prediction tips each weekend.
Belenenses are one of two clubs outside Portugal’s traditional Big Three to have won a league title, taking Lisbon’s tally to 57.
The Leões and As Águias share the dérbi de Lisboa, the biggest rivalry in Portugese football.
First played in 1907, it’s been relatively level throughout the last century-plus. Benfica’s 86 wins is only 10 more than Sporting have accumulated.
It’s usually capital cities that are in the reckoning here, but Milan bucks that trend with two of Europe’s giants.
Inter and AC have cohabited since 1947, though don’t let that distract from what is a bitter relationship between Italy’s second and third-most successful clubs.
They have combined for 37 titles, with Inter’s triumph under Antonio Conte edging them just ahead with 19 Scudetti.
Other than Turin, no other city in Italy has amassed more than 10 league titles, and between them, Inter and AC have lifted the European Cup/Champions League on nine occasions.