Hora de clásicos: The five biggest rivalries in Liga MX

Liga MX is entering the final stretch of its regular phase, which means it is time for clásicos. National derbies, regional derbies, all kinds of derbies. 

There are several rivalries in Mexican soccer, but just five of them reach what we can label as tectonic levels. Those kind of rivalries where people talk all week before the game and those kind that people talk all week after it.

Biggest rivalries in Liga MX

If you follow Liga MX regularly, you know those rivalries. Congratulations! But in case you are a stranger to this fascinating universe, those derbies are:

  • Clásico Nacional
  • Clásico Joven
  • Clásico Capitalino
  • Clásico Tapatío
  • Clásico Regio

Clásico Nacional

Clubs: América vs. Chivas

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Also known as "el clásico de clásicos" or "superclásico" this is the biggest clash in Mexican soccer. The mother of the battles, if you want. And the reason is simple: América and Chivas are the country's most decorated and popular teams.

On the one hand, you have América. Las Águilas are based in México City, have 13 titles and are owned by the TV empire Televisa. On the other side, Chivas are from Guadalajara, have won 12 titles and are very proud of a peculiar tradition: their squad only has Mexican-born players.

At some point, social class was also a distinctive element in the rivalry, with América being the team of the wealthiest and Chivas representing the lower classes. However, those differences have blurred since fandom became another good in our current consumer society.

  • Biggest América win: 7-2 (1944)
  • Biggest Chivas win: 7-0 (1956)

Clásico Joven

Clubs: América vs. Cruz Azul

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While Chivas is their biggest enemy in the country, Cruz Azul is América's most ardent opponent in México City. Imagine something like a Real Madrid vs. Atlético de Madrid.

Cruz Azul during the seventies and América in the eighties dominated Mexican soccer, so much of the heated sentiments they currently feel against each other were born during that era.

The passion of the fans and an extra dose of hate forged in a few finals there are also ingredients of a clásico that nobody wants to miss. 

  • Biggest América win: 7-0 (2022)
  • Biggest Cruz Azul win: 4-0 (1991-92, 1999, 2014)

Clásico Capitalino 

Clubs: América vs. Pumas

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People say the second most popular team in México after América are the Antiamericanistas. This is because Chivas and Cruz Azul are not alone in being foes of Las Águilas. In México City, there is another club that takes their rivalry seriously and that's Pumas UNAM.

Much of the antagonism comes from the philosophies behind both teams. Most of América's successes have come through investments and the wallet of their owners, while Pumas – born as an amateur college team – is known for its impressive youth academies. In other words, acquired talent vs. talent made at home. 

And since both teams are from Mexico City, hence the "Capitalino" label. 

Brewed in the sixties, you can say the rivalry feels bigger coming from Pumas than the other way around, but at the end of the day, it is a game that América fans don't enjoy losing, either. 

  • Biggest América win: 6-1 (2018)
  • Biggest Pumas win: 5-2 (1991)

Clásico Tapatío

Clubs: Atlas vs. Chivas

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The game between the two biggest teams from Guadalajara is also the oldest clásico in México, with both hating each other since 1916. 

While Chivas enjoys wide support nationwide, most of Atlas' fanbase is in Guadalajara. The rivalry was seen from a class perspective for a long time, with El Rebaño Sagrado representing working-class people and Atlas the richest. But again, those boundaries have blurred over time.

Chivas is by far the most successful team of the pair, with 12 local titles. Atlas? They won a championship in the fifties and then had to wait 70 years to break the curse, winning two titles in a row (Apertura 2021, Clausura 2022), a feat that revitalized the rivalry.

  • Biggest Atlas win: 5-1 (1964-65, 1974-75)
  • Biggest Chivas win: 8-1 (1932-33)

Clásico Regio

Clubs: Monterrey vs. Tigres

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For a long time, the game only mattered to those who live in Nueva León, but lately, its popularity has surpassed the regional boundaries becoming one of the most exciting games in the Liga MX fixture.

Rayados and Felinos have been facing each other since the sixties, but the force and the passion behind the derby started to make waves at the beginning of the 21st century when both began to inject big amounts of money into their squads.

And in the attempt to dominate the north of México, both have also challenged the position of the known big four of Liga MX – América, Chivas, Cruz Azul and Pumas – winning titles and increasing their fanbases. 

Basically, they are the new rich of Mexican soccer. 

  • Biggest Monterrey win: 4-0 (1975, 1997)
  • Biggest Tigres win: 6-2 (2004)

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