The Derby du Rhône (French pronunciation: [døbi du ʁon], Rhône Derby; also referred to as the Derby des Rhône-Alpes or simply Le Derby) is a football match contested between French clubs Olympique Lyonnais and AS Saint-Étienne. Both clubs are located in the region of Rhône-Alpes. Saint Etienne, though, does not stand near the Rhône river nore belongs to the Rhône département. It rather belongs to the Loire département, taking its name from another famous French river, the Loire. Saint Etienne fans thus insist that the Derby's and rivalry's name is incorrect, although it is widely used in French media.
The two clubs first met in 1951 and, due to the each club's close proximity towards each other being separated by only 50 kilometres (31 mi), a hotly contested rivalry developed. The Derby du Rhône is cited as one of the high-points of the Ligue 1 season and, like other major rivalries, extends outside of the pitch. The rivalry is locally considered a symbolic challenge between the two cities, as the city of Lyon is considered white collar while its counterpart Saint-Étienne is viewed by the locals as more blue collar.
The derby also pits the recently most successful French club (Lyon) against the formerly biggest French club (Saint-Étienne). During the 20th century, Saint-Étienne was the most successful club in French football winning ten league titles between 1957–1981, a record that still stands today. During that span, the club also won six Coupe de France titles and performed well at European level. However, following the club's relegation to the second division in 1984, Saint-Étienne's stranglehold on the football scene in France began to dwindle. Lyon began a similar ascension into French football at the beginning of the new millennium when the club won their first-ever Ligue 1 championship in 2002. The initial title started a national record-breaking streak of seven successive titles, a streak unmatched in French football history. Lyon have also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, a feat that hasn't been matched by a French club since 2004 when AS Monaco reached the final.
Due to the clubs' ongoing rivalry, few players have played for both Lyon and Saint-Étienne. Since the two clubs first contested each other in 1951, only 27 players have played for both Lyon and Saint-Étienne and only 13 players have transferred directly from Lyon to Saint-Étienne and vice-versa. The first player to "commit" the offense was Antoine Rodriguez in 1951, when after having a nine-year spell at Saint-Étienne, he moved to Lyon, where he spent only one season. Other notable players who made the switch were Aimé Jacquet who, after having a successful 13-year career with Saint-Étienne, departed the club for Lyon, where he spent three seasons. Jacquet later went on to manage Lyon and coached the team to the 1973 Coupe de France Final. Similarly, strikerBernard Lacombe established himself as one of Lyon's all-time leading goalscorers before leaving the club for Saint-Étienne in 1978 where he was often booed and jeered, which led to the player departing the club for Bordeaux after one season. The other players who transferred directly between clubs are François Lemasson, Alain Moizan, Andre Calligaris, Romarin Billong, Jean-Luc Sassus, Christopher Deguerville, Grégory Coupet, Franck Priou, Lamine Diatta, and Bafétimbi Gomis.