Le Classique

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Le Classique
Montage OM - PSG Finale CDF 2006.png
PSG vs. OM at the Stade de France during the 2006 Coupe de France Final.
Other namesDerby de France
French clásico
LocaleFrance, Europe
TeamsParis Saint-Germain
Olympique de Marseille
First meetingOM 4–2 PSG (1971)
StadiumsParc des Princes
Stade Vélodrome
Meetings total96 (official matches)
Most winsPSG (42)
Most player appearancesSteve Mandanda (26)
Top scorerZlatan Ibrahimović (11)
Largest victoryPSG 5–1 OM (1978)
OM 1–5 PSG (2017)

Le Classique (French pronunciation: ​[lə klasik], The Classic), also known as Derby de France or French clásico, is a football match contested between French clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille.[1][2] The clash is considered France's biggest rivalry as well as one of the greatest in club football.[1][3] 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.[2]

PSG and l'OM remain, along with Saint-Étienne, Bordeaux or eventually Monaco, 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. 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][2]

Like all the game's major rivalries, PSG vs. OM extends beyond the pitch. The fixture has a historical, cultural and social importance that makes it more than just a football match. It involves the two largest cities in France: Paris against Marseille, capital against province and north against south.[1][2]


The origins[edit]

The rivalry between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille did not begin until the late 1980s. Before then PSG, who were only founded in 1970, rarely had a team capable of matching Marseille, traditionally a giant of the French game. Formed in 1899, Marseille have been competing for trophies for most of their history and, for the first 87 years at least, were more concerned about games against Saint-Étienne or Girondins de Bordeaux than trips to the capital.[4]

In their early meetings there was little indication the two would become deadly adversaries. The first meeting between the pair occurred in December 1971 at the Stade Vélodrome, just a little over a year after PSG were formed. It ended in a comprehensive 4–2 win for a Marseille side inspired by the strike duo of Roger Magnusson and Josip Skoblar.[1] Nevertheless, the potential for a North vs South rivalry was always there and when PSG claimed their first championship under Gerard Houllier in 1986, it finally emerged.[4]

Shortly after PSG's title success, two things happened that would shape the rivalry for years to come. First, Bernard Tapie, a socialist politician and adviser to the French president François Mitterrand, was elected president of Olympique de Marseille. Second, Canal+, the biggest pay television station in France, bought Paris Saint-Germain.[4] The two sides began to flex their muscles in the transfer market. 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.[1][2]

From 1989 to 1998 their list of honours was magnificent: between them they picked up five league titles, four French Cups, two French League Cups, a UEFA Champions League, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and reached two other European finals.[4] 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.[1]

The Derby de France increased in importance and ferocity during the late 1980s as PSG and Marseille battled each other for the Ligue 1 title.[2] However, the 1990s were the real starting point of the rivalry.[5] Indeed, Canal+'s main reason behind the buyout was to revive interest in a Ligue 1 completely dominated by Marseille as well as lure more subscribers by assembling a team that could compete with them.[5] With Bordeaux a fading force, Marseille president Bernard Tapie needed a new domestic rival to make the championship attractive again.[5][6] When Canal+ bought PSG in 1991, Tapie encouraged their directors to help him boost interest in the championship by promoting the enmity between the two clubs to a confrontational level, and the early 1990s witnessed the peak years of the rivalry.[2][6]


The hype may have been a clever marketing tool, but it also heightened tensions between the two sets of supporters. Reports of fan violence became more frequent in the early 1990s as rivalry turned into downright hatred.[4] Ever since then, the rivalry has been marred with injuries and arrests. In 1995, fighting during the semifinal of the French Cup between PSG and Marseille resulted in 146 arrests and nine policemen hospitalized. 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.[2]

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 l'OM when his contract expired at the end of the season. After lifting the trophy, Déhu disappeared into the dressing room in tears. 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 Classique by outraged Paris fans.[7]

Memorable matches[edit]

The 1989 title decider at the Stade Vélodrome was the match that set the tone for the years that followed.[1][6] PSG president Francis Borelli and his Marseille counterpart Bernard Tapie cranked up the temperature by exchanging provocations before the game.[6] The championship looked to be heading to Paris with the score tied at 0–0 and only a few seconds remaining.[1] Played out amid a tense, frenzied atmosphere, the match was settled in the 90th minute when Franck Sauzée drilled a shot past PSG goalkeeper Joel Bats from 25 yards, effectively sealing OM's first title in 17 years.[6]

Between 1989 and 1992, Marseille won four successive Ligue 1 titles, and their encounters with PSG were characterised by ferocious intensity.[6] One particularly brutal match at Parc des Princes on December 18, 1992, earned itself the nickname "The Butchery of 1992."[6] It was on this day that the so-called French clásico was born. PSG coach Artur Jorge announced his side would crush their arch-rivals, while Parisian player David Ginola promised war upon Marseille. l'OM president Bernard Tapie seized the opportunity to motivate his players and stuck the newspaper articles with PSG's provocations in the dressing room. Marseille would not disappoint him, walking away with the victory after a violent match with more than 50 faults, mainly sponsored by l'OM's Éric Di Meco and PSG's Laurent Fournier.[1][5]

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 an 18-yard header from Basile Boli.[1]

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. PSG fans have fond memories of 2003 as well, 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.[1]

The rivalry today[edit]

PSG and l’OM were less successful in the late 1990s and 2000s but the rivalry remained just as fierce.[4] Marseille were generally more frequent title contenders during the 2000s, but Paris Saint-Germain still managed to turn things around against their arch-rivals, most notably with a spectacular run of eight consecutive wins between 2002 and 2004.[1] Nowadays, however, the two clubs are operating on totally different planes since the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) as PSG owners in 2011.[1][4] Now with the money to compete with the best clubs in Europe, star players such as Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Edinson Cavani, David Luiz, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé have been part of PSG's all star-lineup that Ligue 1 had not seen since the early 1990s Marseille squads.[2][8]

In 2018, the capital side won its sixth consecutive French Super Cup. This latest trophy takes Paris Saint-Germain — France's most successful club — to 36 major titles overall (excluding the UEFA Intertoto Cup and Ligue 2 titles).[9] Marseille, in turn, have struggled to keep up. They have not won a trophy since their League Cup victory in 2012.[10] Since then, PSG have won 20 titles: five league championships, four French Cups, five League Cups and six French Supercups.[9] 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 Mario Balotelli have boosted fans' hopes that their team will be able to compete with PSG.[11][12] Marseille's last win against PSG came in November 2011.[11]


As of 17 March 2019.[13]

Official matches[edit]

Olympique de Marseille Draw (including penalties) Paris Saint-Germain

Competitive record[edit]

Competition Matches Wins Draws Goals
Ligue 1 80 30 31 19 106 103
Coupe de France 13 10 1 2 26 11
Coupe de la Ligue 2 2 0 0 5 2
Trophée des Champions 1 0 0 1 0 0
Total 96 42 32 22 137 116


As of 17 March 2019.[14]
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
    • 16 wins, 3 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)


  • All-time highest attendance: 79,061 (at the Stade de France in 2006)
  • All-time lowest attendance: 5,556 (at the Stade Vélodrome in 1979)
  • 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)
  • Neutral venues and others


PSG celebrating the 2005–06 Coupe de France title after defeating Marseille in the final.
Paris SG Competition Marseille
8 Ligue 1 9
12 Coupe de France 10
8 Coupe de la Ligue 3
8 Trophée des Champions 2
1 Ligue 2 1
37 Total 25
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
39 Overall total 27
[15] Source [16]


As of 17 March 2019.[14]
Zlatan Ibrahimović is the leading goalscorer.
Steve Mandanda has made the most appearances.

Most appearances[edit]

Rank Name Position Club Period Appearances
1 France Steve Mandanda GK Marseille 2007–2016
2 France Sylvain Armand DF Paris SG 2004–2013 18
3 Brazil Thiago Silva DF Paris SG 2012– 14

Top scorers[edit]

Rank Name Position Club Period Goals
1 Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović FW Paris SG 2012–2016 11
2 Uruguay Edinson Cavani FW Paris SG 2013– 7
3 Portugal Pauleta FW Paris SG 2003–2008 6

Played for both clubs[edit]

No. Player
1 France Jean Djorkaeff
2 France Jean-Pierre Destrumelle
3 France Jean-Louis Leonetti
4 France Jacky Novi
5 France Jean-Pierre Dogliani
6 Cameroon Jean-Pierre Tokoto
7 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ilija Pantelić
8 Senegal Sarr Boubacar
9 France François Brisson
10 France Claude Lowitz
11 France Thierry Laurey
12 France Marcel De Falco
13 France Michel N'Gom
No. Player
14 France Daniel Xuereb
15 France Yvon Le Roux
16 France William Ayache
17 France Bernard Pardo
18 France Jocelyn Angloma
19 France Laurent Fournier
20 France Bruno Germain
21 France Daniel Bravo
22 France Claude Makelele
23 France Patrick Colleter
24 France Benoît Cauet
25 France Xavier Gravelaine
26 France Alain Roche
No. Player
27 France Cyrille Pouget
28 Algeria Djamel Belmadi
29 France Bruno N'Gotty
30 France Pascal Nouma
31 Guinea Kaba Diawara
32 France Jérôme Leroy
33 France Stéphane Dalmat
34 France Peter Luccin
35 Liberia George Weah
36 France Jérôme Alonzo
37 Brazil André Luiz
38 France Florian Maurice
39 France Zoumana Camara
No. Player
40 France Frédéric Déhu
41 France Péguy Luyindula
42 France Fabrice Fiorèse
43 Cameroon Modeste M'bami
44 Albania Lorik Cana
45 France Fabrice Abriel
46 France Édouard Cissé
47 Argentina Gabriel Heinze
48 France Hatem Ben Arfa
49 France Lassana Diarra


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "France's passion play". FIFA.com. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Joey Barton puts the "punch" back into the Marseille-PSG rivalry". Bleacher Report. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ "The top 50 football derbies on the world 20-11". Mirror Online. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Marseille vs PSG: France's bitter and violent north-south divide laid bare". FourFourTwo. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "L'histoire du PSG 1991-1998 : Le PSG devient un grand d'Europe". Paris United. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "'A Pistol Against a Tank'—The Ultras' View on the PSG vs. Marseille Rivalry". Bleacher Report. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  7. ^ "PSG-OM : ces "traîtres" qui passent à l'ennemi". Le Figaro. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  8. ^ "PSG Have Spent €1.17Billion On Players And Still Haven't Got Past Champions League QF's". SPORTbible. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "palmarès en France : le PSG toujours plus haut". Paris.canal-historique. 6 August 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Former Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt to Buy French Soccer Team Marseille". Miami Herald. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  11. ^ a b "PSG destroys Marseille 5-1 in French league". USA Today. 26 February 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Ligue 1 Preview: Balotelli, Marseille gunning for PSG amid revival". Chicago Tribune. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Paris S-G vs. Marseille". Footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Avant-match historique : PSG - OM". Histoire du #PSG. 16 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Paris Saint-Germain : Calendrier, Effectif et Information". LFP.fr. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Olympique de Marseille : Calendrier, Effectif et Information". LFP.fr. Retrieved 4 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Official Websites