Le Classique

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Le Classique
PSG-OM 2007.jpg
PSG vs. OM at the Parc des Princes in 2007.
Other names Le Classico
Derby de France
French clásico
Locale France, Europe
Teams Paris Saint-Germain
Olympique de Marseille
First meeting OM 4–2 PSG (1971)
Stadiums Parc des Princes (PSG)
Stade Vélodrome (OM)
Meetings total 91 (official matches)
Most wins PSG (38)
Most player appearances Steve Mandanda (22)
Top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimović (11)
Largest victory PSG 5–1 OM (1978)
OM 1–5 PSG (2017)

Le Classique (French pronunciation: ​[lə klasik], The Classic),[1] also known as Le Classico,[2] Derby de France,[1] or French clásico,[3] is a football match contested between French clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille.[3] PSG vs. OM is considered France's biggest rivalry,[1] and one of the greatest in club football.[4] At the very least, it is France's most violent. Important security measures are taken to prevent confrontations between the fans, but violent episodes still often occur when the duo meet.[1]

PSG and l'OM remain, along with Saint-Étienne, the only French clubs with a big history pre-millennium. The duo are the only two French clubs to have won major European trophies and were the dominant forces in the land prior to the emergence of Olympique Lyonnais at the start of the millennium.[3] They are also the two most popular clubs in France, and the most followed French clubs outside the country. Both teams are at or near the top of the attendance lists every year as well.[1]

Like all the game's major rivalries, PSG vs. OM extends beyond the pitch.[3] The fixture has a historical, cultural and social importance that makes it more than just a football match.[1] It involves the two largest cities in France:[3] the upper class in Paris against the working class in Marseille, capital against province and north against south.[1]


The origins[edit]

While the southerners have been around for over a century now, the Parisians only came into being in 1970 and in their early meetings there was little indication the two would become arch-rivals. All that would change during the mid-1980s, when PSG won its first titles and really became a big team from the capital.[3]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the arrival of Bernard Tapie president of l'OM and television station Canal + as owners of PSG, the two sides bought some of the best players available and battled each other for the Ligue 1 title during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[3][1] Marseille signed Chris Waddle, Jean-Pierre Papin, Rudi Völler, Basile Boli and Enzo Francescoli, while Paris responded with David Ginola, Youri Djorkaeff, George Weah and Raí.[3]


The Derby de France increased in importance and ferocity as a result. The rivalry has been marred with injuries and arrests over the years. In 1995, fighting during the semifinal of the French Cup between PSG and Marseille resulted in 146 arrests and nine policemen hospitalized.[1]

In 2000, a Marseille fan was paralyzed for life after being struck by a seat thrown from the PSG section in Paris. Even fans of the same team have turned on each other as in 2010 a PSG supporter was put into a coma and eventually died after being attacked by members of another PSG supporters group.[1]

Despite the hostilities, many players have played for both clubs and have subsequently suffered abuses from the rival supporters. In the 2004 French Cup final, PSG captain Frédéric Déhu was constantly booed by Parisian fans after it had been revealed earlier in the week he would be joining deadly rivals l'OM when his contract expired at the end of the season. After lifting the trophy, Déhu disappeared into the dressing room in tears.[5]

Months later, Fabrice Fiorèse also left PSG for Marseille after a confrontation with then manager Vahid Halilhodžić. He went from being a fan favorite to being the most hated. Upon their return to the Parc des Princes, Déhu and Fiorèse were effectively whistled and chanted out of Le Classico by Paris fans outraged by their transfer to their arch-rivals.[5]

Memorable matches[edit]

Inspired by strike duo Roger Magnusson and Josip Skoblar, Marseille claimed the inaugural meeting between the two teams in 1971 with a 4–2 win. An equally unforgettable match was the 1989 title decider at the Stade Vélodrome with just three games left in the season. The championship looked to be heading to Paris with the score tied at 0–0 and only a few seconds remaining. A long-range strike by Franck Sauzée, however, gave Marseille the points and set them on the road to their first league crown since 1972.[3]

Three years later, then-PSG coach Artur Jorge announced his side would crush their arch-rivals. l'OM president Bernard Tapie had other ideas, though. Seizing the opportunity to motivate his players, Tapie cut out the offending newspaper article and stuck it up in the dressing room. Marseille would not disappoint him, walking away with the victory.[3]

Another memorable Marseille date is 29 May 1993, only three days after they had defeated Milan in the UEFA Champions League final. The newly crowned continental kings and league leaders welcomed closest challengers PSG in a match that would determine the title. Tired of their European celebrations, l'OM quickly fell behind, only to hit back with three goals. Among them was one of the finest goals ever scored in French clásico history: a team effort finished by a 18-yard header from Basile Boli.[3]

The men from the Parc des Princes have had big nights as well. In 1999, a struggling PSG side earned a 2–1 win over league contenders Marseille, their first over their rivals in many years. What made the victory even more special for the Parisians was the fact that Marseille would finish the season a point behind eventual champions Bordeaux.[3]

PSG fans have fond memories of 2003, when their players defeated Marseille three times, including two wins at the Stade Vélodrome, one of them a memorable 3–0 triumph thanks to Ronaldinho's star performance. And when the two sides met in the 2006 Coupe de France Final, Paris SG won 2–1, with Vikash Dhorasoo scoring the goal of the night.[3]

The rivalry today[edit]

Since the mid-1990s, with some exceptions, both teams have rarely been at their best at the same time. Marseille dominated the fixture for many years and did not lose to their northern rivals between 1990 and 1999, although they did spend two seasons in the second division during that time.[3]

Since then PSG have turn things around, most notably with a spectacular run of eight consecutive wins between 2002 and 2004. And when they won at the Vélodrome in October 2013, the Red-and-Blues took their tally of wins to 31, just one behind Marseille.[3]

Marseille were generally more frequent title contenders during the 2000s, but that changed with arrival of Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSi) as PSG owners in 2011.[3] Now with the money to compete with the best clubs in Europe, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva are part PSG's all star-lineup that Ligue 1 had not seen since the early 1990s Marseille squads.[1]

On the other hand, Marseille has fallen behind since Qatari investors took over Paris SG. While the capital side has won the last four French titles, the Olympians have struggled to keep up. l'OM has not won a trophy since 2012, when former coach Didier Deschamps left after leading them to the League Cup.[6]

However, Marseille's new owner Frank McCourt pledged in 2016 to spend 200 million euros over the next four years to make the team competitive again, and the recent arrivals of Dimitri Payet and Patrice Evra have boosted fans' hopes that their team will be able to compete with PSG.[7]


PSG celebrate the 2005–06 Coupe de France title after defeating Marseille in the final.
Paris SG Competition Marseille
6 Ligue 1 9
1 Ligue 2 1
10 Coupe de France 10
7 Coupe de la Ligue 3
6 Trophée des Champions 3
Coupe Charles Drago 1
30 Total 27
UEFA Champions League 1
UEFA Europa League
UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup
1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
1 UEFA Intertoto Cup 1
2 Total 2
32 Overall total 29
[8] Source [9]

Official matches[edit]

Fans from both clubs at the 2006 Coupe de France Final.
As of 26 February 2017.[10]
Competition Matches PSG Goals Draws OM Goals
Ligue 1 76 27 96 18 31 100
Coupe de France 12 9 23 2 1 11
Coupe de la Ligue 2 2 5 0 0 2
Trophée des Champions 1 0 0 1 0 0
Total 91 38 124 21 32 113
Olympique de Marseille Draw (including penalties) Paris Saint-Germain


Both starting elevens in the 2010 Trophée des Champions that Marseille won on penalties.

Biggest wins[edit]

  • Paris SG
    • 5–1 home (1978).
    • 1–5 away (2017).
  • Marseille
    • 4–0 home (1986).
    • 0–3 away (2010).

Most goals in a match[edit]

  • 7 goals: Paris SG 4–3 Marseille (1979).
  • 6 goals: Paris SG 5–1 Marseille (1978).
  • 6 goals: Marseille 1–5 Paris SG (2017).
  • 6 goals: Marseille 2–4 Paris SG (2016).

Longest runs[edit]

  • Unbeaten
    • 12 wins, 2 draws: Paris SG (2012–present)
    • 8 wins, 1 draw: Paris SG (2002–2005)
    • 6 wins, 3 draws: Marseille (1990–1994)
    • 6 wins: Paris SG (1979–1984)
    • 4 wins, 1 draw: Marseille (1975–1977)
    • 3 wins, 2 draws: Marseille (1971–1975)
  • Winning
    • 10 wins: Paris SG (2012–2016)
    • 8 wins: Paris SG (2002–2004)
    • 6 wins: Paris SG (1979–1984)


PSG's star lineup in the 2010s.
  • Paris SG at home
    • Highest attendance: 48,000 (at the Parc des Princes in 1994).
    • Lowest attendance: 13,707 (at the Parc des Princes in 1979).
  • Marseille at home
    • Highest attendance: 65,252 (at the Stade Vélodrome in 2017).
    • Lowest attendance: 5,556 (at the Stade Vélodrome in 1979).


Former PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimović is the leading goalscorer in the French clásico.

Most appearances[edit]

Name Position Club Period Appearances
France Steve Mandanda GK Marseille 2007–2016 22
France Sylvain Armand DF Paris SG 2004–2013 18
Argentina Gabriel Heinze DF Paris SG
France Blaise Matuidi MF Paris SG 2011– 12
Portugal Pauleta FW Paris SG 2003–2008 11

Top scorers[edit]

Name Position Club Period Goals
Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović FW Paris SG 2012–2016 11
Portugal Pauleta FW Paris SG 2003–2008 6
France Hervé Florès FW Marseille 1975–1981 5
France André-Pierre Gignac FW Marseille 2010–2015 4
Ghana André Ayew MF Marseille 2007–2015 4
Algeria Mustapha Dahleb FW Paris SG 1974–1984 4
Republic of the Congo François M'Pelé FW Paris SG 1973–1979 4
Croatia Josip Skoblar FW Marseille 1966–1967


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Joey Barton puts the "punch" back into the Marseille-PSG rivalry". Bleacher Report. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Succès historique dans un Classico !". LFP.fr. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "France's passion play". FIFA.com. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "THE LIST: The greatest rivalries in club football, Nos 50-41". Daily Mail Online. 13 September 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "PSG-OM : ces «traîtres» qui passent à l'ennemi". Le Figaro. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Former Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt to Buy French Soccer Team Marseille". Miami Herald. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "PSG destroys Marseille 5-1 in French league". Miami Herald. 26 February 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Paris S-G Titles". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Marseille Titles". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Paris S-G vs. Marseille". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 3 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Official Websites