Le Classique (French pronunciation: [lə klasik], The Classic) is the rivalry between French professional football clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille. The duo are the two most successful clubs in French football, and the only French teams to have won major European trophies. Therefore, the fixture is the biggest rivalry in France.

Le Classique
PSG/OM at the Parc des Princes in September 2007.
Other namesLe Classico, Le Clasico, Le Derby de France
TeamsParis Saint-Germain
Olympique de Marseille
First meeting12 December 1971
Division 1
Marseille 4–2 Paris Saint-Germain
Latest meeting24 September 2023
Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain 4–0 Marseille
Next meeting31 March 2024
Ligue 1
Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain
StadiumsParc des Princes, Paris
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Meetings total106
Most winsParis Saint-Germain (49)
Most player appearancesSteve Mandanda (30)
Top scorerZlatan Ibrahimović (11)
All-time recordParis Saint-Germain: 49
Draw: 23
Marseille: 34
Largest victoryParis Saint-Germain 5–1 Marseille
Division 1
(8 January 1978)
Marseille 4–0 Paris Saint-Germain
Division 1
(28 November 1986)
Marseille 1–5 Paris Saint-Germain
Ligue 1
(26 February 2017)
Paris Saint-Germain 4–0 Marseille
Ligue 1
(27 October 2019)
Paris Saint-Germain 4–0 Marseille
Ligue 1
(24 September 2023)

PSG and OM were the dominant teams prior to the emergence of Olympique Lyonnais in the 2000s, and are the most followed French teams internationally. Both clubs are at or near the top of the French attendance lists each season. Their meetings during the 1970s gave little indication the two would become major adversaries. The newly formed Parisians were trying to assemble a competitive team, while the Olympians were Ligue 1 contenders.

The rivalry began in earnest in 1986 when PSG won their first championship and OM was bought by Bernard Tapie. By the end of the decade, PSG was fighting for the 1988–89 title against Tapie's Marseille. The accusations made by PSG president Francis Borelli against Tapie and OM for fixing matches during that season were a contributor to their growing rivalry.

In the 1990s, tensions between the two sides escalated. French TV channel Canal+ bought PSG in 1991 with the aim of breaking Marseille's hegemony but then agreed with Tapie to emphasize the animosity between them as a way to promote the league. With equivalent financial backing, PSG and OM became the main contenders in the title race. Both sides were less successful in the late 1990s and the 2000s but the rivalry remained strong. Since the 2010s, the matchup has been dominated by PSG, and the significant investment of their Qatari owners has created a wide gap between the clubs.

History Edit

Origins Edit

Didier Deschamps was the captain of the great early 1990s Marseille side.

The term "Le Classique" is modelled after El Clásico, contested between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish press borrowed the term Clásico from South America, where most countries use it to label the biggest rivalries in the continent, such as the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, and the Uruguayan Clásico between Nacional and Peñarol.[1] The fixture is also known as "Le Classico", "Le Clasico", "Le Derby de France", "PSG/OM" or "OM/PSG".[1][2][3]

Paris Saint-Germain were founded in 1970, and during that decade they were not at the same level as Olympique de 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] Today, the clash is considered France's biggest rivalry as well as one of the greatest in club football.[5][6] The duo are French football's most successful clubs as well as the only two French sides to lift a major European trophy.[7] They were also the undisputed top teams before the irruption of Olympique Lyonnais at the start of the 2000s.[7] Nevertheless, they still are the two most popular French clubs in the country and abroad, ahead of Lyon.[2][8][9] Both teams usually top the attendance lists every campaign as well.[2]

Like all major rivalries, it has a historical, cultural and social importance that makes it more than just a football match. People in France see it as a battle between the two largest cities in France: Paris against Marseille, capital against province, north against south, the hub of political power against the working class and the aristocracy's club against the people's club.[7][2][10] Ironically, though, PSG were born as a fan-owned team, while OM were founded by a circle of aristocratic gentlemen.[11][12] In short, the seeds of the fiercest French rivalry yet were always there but they only began to grow from 1986 onwards.[4] That year, PSG clinched their maiden championship and French businessman Bernard Tapie bought Marseille. Tapie proceeded to invest huge amounts of money in star signings such as Chris Waddle, Abedi Pelé, Jean-Pierre Papin, Basile Boli, Enzo Francescoli, Eric Cantona, Didier Deschamps and Marcel Desailly.[7][4][10]

The clash increased in importance and ferocity when they went head to head for the 1988–89 title, during which PSG president Francis Borelli accused Tapie and OM of fixing matches.[2][13][14] Between 1989 and 1992, the southerners won four successive Ligue 1 championships.[10][14] They also finished runners-up in the 1990–91 European Cup before claiming the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League.[10] Marseille fans have never let their PSG counterparts forget this triumph with the slogan "A jamais les premiers" (Forever First).[15] All these successes, however, were also tainted by match-fixing allegations from title rivals PSG and Monaco as well as other clubs, adding further fuel to the rivalry.[13][16][17][18]

Golden era and scandal Edit

Bernard Tapie instigated the rivalry in the early 1990s.

Despite proving to be tough competitors, PSG were still no match for Marseille. This was the case until 1991 and the arrival of new owners Canal+, the biggest pay television station in France.[10] The 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 beat them.[19] With Bordeaux a fading force, Bernard Tapie needed a new domestic rival to make the championship attractive again.[14][19] Tapie encouraged Canal+ to help him promote the enmity between the two clubs to a confrontational level, and the rivalry was born.[2][14] Backed by their own rich owner, PSG began to flex muscles in the transfer market with Tapie's Marseille, recruiting top talent like David Ginola, Youri Djorkaeff, George Weah and Raí.[2][10] The league was now a two-horse race and they battled each other for the title in the early 1990s.[10]

Between 1989 and 1998, PSG and OM picked up five league titles, four Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligue, a UEFA Champions League, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and reached two other European finals.[4] Many experts argue that those Marseille (1989–1994) and PSG (1993–1998) sides were two of the greatest teams in the history of French football.[20][21] The hype heightened tensions between supporters as well, and reports of fan violence became more frequent in the 1990s.[4] Since then, the matchup has been marred with injuries and arrests.[2]

The rivalry reached new heights during the 1992–93 French Division 1 campaign. PSG lost the title decider against OM and finished second.[20] Shortly after, however, Tapie and Marseille were found guilty of match-fixing, in what became known as the French football bribery scandal.[10][21] The French Football Federation stripped OM of their title and offered it to runners-up PSG, who refused it because club owners Canal+ thought that claiming the trophy would anger their subscribers back in Marseille.[20][22] As a result, the 1992–93 title remains unattributed. Canal+ even refused letting PSG participate in next year's Champions League after UEFA excluded Marseille from the competition. Third-placed Monaco took the spot instead.[22]

OM were then forcibly relegated to Ligue 2 in 1994 for lacking the necessary funds to continue among the elite.[10][23] With Marseille out of the picture, PSG would go on to claim nine trophies during that decade. Most notably, they won their second league title in 1994 and their crowning glory, the 1995–96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, becoming only the second French team to win a major European title (after OM), and the last one to date.[24][25]

Marseille and their fans have since accused the Parisian political elite of plotting against them to crown PSG as the kings of French football.[26][27] This feeling of injustice stems from the political dimension to the rivalry, which has been described by FIFA as pitting "the chosen ones of French football (the politically-favored PSG) against their enfants terribles (the unruly OM)."[28] PSG have been indeed favored a few times. Club president Daniel Hechter was found guilty of running a ticketing scheme in 1977 and his replacement, Francis Borelli, incurred serious debts and financial irregularities in 1991. Unlike their arch-rivals, PSG were not relegated in either case; instead, they were bought by Canal+ with the specific goal of dethroning OM.[20] Two decades later, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a well-known supporter of PSG, which was then struggling financially, facilitated the club's purchase by Qatar Sports Investments.[29]

Rivalry today Edit

Led by high-profile signings, including Kylian Mbappé (left), Lionel Messi (center) and Neymar (right), PSG have dominated Marseille since the 2010s.

Marseille quickly bounced back into the top flight in 1996 after two seasons in Ligue 2 but their new owner was not so keen to spend like Bernard Tapie.[10] Likewise, PSG owners Canal+ slowly began to reduce their investment in the transfer market.[10] Nonetheless, the rivalry remained just as intense.[4] OM only lost twice to their northern rivals between September 1990 and February 2000, before Paris became the dominant force in the 2000s, during which they produced a spectacular run of eight consecutive wins between 2002 and 2004.[30]

In spite of both laying claim to being France's biggest club, PSG and OM have rarely been at their best at the same time and, thus, have competed directly for titles only a few times. They first met in a cup final in the 2006 Coupe de France Final where Paris defeated Marseille 2–1 to clinch the title.[3][30] The duo have also never been drawn together in UEFA competitions.[30] The closest they were of facing one another in Europe was in the 2008–09 edition of the UEFA Cup but were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Ukrainian teams Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk, thus preventing a semi-final matchup between them.[31]

The balance briefly shifted again in favor of Marseille during the late 2000s and early 2010s,[30] with the Olympians claiming the Ligue 1 and French League Cup double in 2010, ending their 17-year trophy drought,[13][32] and then downing Paris in the 2010 Trophée des Champions on penalties.[33] Since the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments as PSG owners in 2011, though, the matchup has turned into a one-sided affair.[34] Now with the money to compete with the best clubs in Europe, many great players have been part of PSG's all star-lineup that Ligue 1 had not seen since the early 1990s Marseille squads, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Edinson Cavani, Ángel Di María and Lionel Messi.[2][35][36] Paris have monopolized French football, becoming the country's most successful club in history in terms of titles won.[11]

In turn, OM have struggled to keep up.[34] Trophy-less since the 2012 French League Cup, they have occasionally threatened PSG's hegemony.[30][37] Marseille went head-to-head against eventual champions Paris for the league crown in 2013 as both sides finished in the two top spots for the first time since the 1994 title race, which PSG also won. They had previously competed for the championship in 1989 and 1993, with OM overcoming second-placed Paris both times.[3][30] PSG were also crowned champions ahead of Marseille in 2020 and 2022.[38][39] Further, they clashed in the 2016 Coupe de France Final and the 2020 Trophée des Champions, with PSG clinching both titles.[40][41]

The Parisians have won 23 out of the 30 matches played since their takeover. On the other hand, the Olympians have defeated their arch-rivals just three times.[30] In September 2020, Marseille's second win in nearly nine years sparked a new fire into the rivalry.[42] OM midfielder Dimitri Payet mocked PSG's 2020 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich ahead of kickoff, leading to a massive brawl with PSG superstar Neymar and Marseille defender Álvaro as protagonists.[42][43]

Notable games Edit

First blood for Marseille, biggest win for PSG Edit

Marseille defender Bernard Bosquier (right) scored the first goal in the history of Le Classique.
  • 12 December 1971 (OM 4–2 PSG). The inaugural clash took place at the Stade Vélodrome, just a little over a year after PSG were formed. The Parisians were trying to avoid the drop in their top-flight debut season, while the Olympians were aiming for their second consecutive title. Logically, the match ended in a comprehensive win for a Marseille side inspired by Yugoslavian striker Josip Skoblar, who scored a brace.[13][44] Bernard Bosquier and Didier Couécou also got on the scoresheet, with the former netting the first-ever Le Classique goal.[13][30] Michel Prost scored PSG's two goals.[44]
  • 9 May 1975 (OM 2–2 PSG). PSG visited the Stade Vélodrome as massive underdogs in the French Cup quarter-finals. OM were comfortably leading 2–0 when François M'Pelé scored twice to revive PSG's hopes of qualification.[45] Angered by the result, Marseille fans were behind the fixture's first violent incidents after the final whistle. History says the rivalry began in the 1990s but M'Pelé believes this game is the true origin of the animosity between both clubs.[44][45]
  • 13 May 1975 (PSG 2–0 OM). In the second leg, PSG registered their first win ever against the southerners and qualified for the French Cup semi-finals with goals from Louis Floch and Jacques Laposte. At the end of the match, Marseille's Brazilian stars Caju and Jairzinho lost their nerves and physically assaulted the referee on their way to the locker room.[30][46] They were suspended and never played for the Olympians again.[46][47]
  • 8 January 1978 (PSG 5–1 OM). Two years later, Paris recorded their first league triumph against Marseille. It was also PSG's largest victory over their rivals and one of the fixture's largest wins.[48] The Parisian players dedicated it to Daniel Hechter, who was attending his last match as club president following a corruption scandal. Team captain Mustapha Dahleb climbed into the stands of the Parc des Princes and offered him the match ball. OM scored first through Boubacar Sarr but PSG responded with a François M'Pelé brace, strikes from François Brisson and Dahleb, and an own goal from Marseille's Marius Trésor.[46][49] PSG also hit the woodwork three times and Carlos Bianchi missed a penalty for the home side.[44]

Marseille supremacy and Sauzée's title-winning goal Edit

  • 28 November 1986 (OM 4–0 PSG). Recently bought by Bernard Tapie, the southern club immediately recorded its largest win over PSG, with future French legend Jean-Pierre Papin scoring the last goal against the defending league champions at the Stade Vélodrome.[13] This match is also remembered because PSG defender Philippe Jeannol had to replace injured keeper Joël Bats at halftime. Back then, clubs could only have two substitutes on the bench, so Jeannol was PSG's goalie during the second half, conceding Marseille's last two goals.[51]
Marseille's Basile Boli scored one of the fixture's best goals.
  • 21 May 1988 (OM 1–2 PSG). Safet Sušić's opener and a late goal from Gabriel Calderón gave Paris their second ever win away to OM.[30][52] This result proved vital in keeping PSG's Ligue 1 status at the end of the 1987–88 season and dashed Marseille's hopes of European qualification.[46][52] At the final whistle, Bernard Tapie threatened the referee, claiming he would not ensure his safety when leaving the stadium.[46] The match is best remembered for a play involving PSG defender Michel Bibard and OM striker Jean-Pierre Papin. The latter broke in alone and headed for the goal when Bibard imitated the referee's whistle. Unaware of the deception, Papin stopped his course and gave the ball to the keeper. After realising what had really happened, a heated argument between both players ensued, almost ending in a general brawl.[52]
  • 5 May 1989 (OM 1–0 PSG). The 1988–89 title decider at the Vélodrome set the tone for the years that followed.[14] Before the game, PSG president Francis Borelli accused his Marseille counterpart Bernard Tapie of fixing matches.[13] Played out amid an electric atmosphere, the title looked to be heading to league leaders Paris with the score tied at 0–0 and only a few seconds remaining.[14] But a 25-yard shot from Franck Sauzée surprised PSG goalkeeper Joël Bats as OM leapfrogged their rivals at the top of the table to seal a first trophy in 17 years.[14][53]

Birth of Ligue 1's greatest rivalry Edit

  • 18 December 1992 (PSG 0–1 OM). For many the French Clasico was officially born after this particularly brutal match at the Parc des Princes, which became known as the "Butchery of 1992."[14] PSG coach Artur Jorge announced his side would crush OM, while winger David Ginola promised war upon them. Bernard Tapie motivated his players by sticking the newspaper articles with these provocations in the dressing room.[19] Marseille would not disappoint him, walking away with the victory thanks to a strike from Alen Bokšić in what was an extremely violent match.[19][49] It saw more than 50 fouls as well as several aggressions, most notably OM defender Éric Di Meco punching PSG's Patrick Colleter in the face.[19][46]
  • 29 May 1993 (OM 3–1 PSG). Only three days after winning the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, league leaders Marseille welcomed closest challengers PSG in a match that would determine the title. OM quickly fell behind, only to hit back with three goals, including one of the fixture's best goals: a team effort finished by an 18-yard header from Basile Boli.[53] Soon after, however, Marseille were stripped of the 1993 championship due to match-fixing, and were subsequently demoted to Ligue 2 in 1994.[10][13]
  • 8 November 1997 (PSG 1–2 OM). Despite their fall from grace, OM only lost twice to PSG in the 1990s as the rivalry became more and more heated.[4][30] Recently back to Ligue 1, the Olympians claimed one of the matchup's most infamous wins. With the scored tied, PSG's Éric Rabésandratana apparently tripped Marseille's Fabrizio Ravanelli inside the area. Laurent Blanc converted the highly controversial penalty to give OM the victory in Paris. To this day, PSG fans accuse Ravanelli of a clear act of simulation.[13]
  • 4 May 1999 (PSG 2–1 OM). Leaders Marseille went ahead through ex-PSG man Florian Maurice but late goals from Marco Simone and Bruno Rodriguez gave their title hopes a huge blow.[49] After netting the equalizer, Simone mocked Marseille fans by showing off his Batman tattoo.[54] It was PSG's first league win over Marseille in nine years (April 1990).[30] OM were now behind Bordeaux, who played PSG in the final matchday. Amid a Parc des Princes demanding their team to lose, Bordeaux won with a late goal and were crowned champions, much to the joy of PSG fans.[13] To this day, Marseille supporters believe Paris let Bordeaux win.[13][49]
  • 15 February 2000 (OM 4–1 PSG). A mid-table Marseille side thumped podium hopefuls Paris at the Stade Vélodrome in a heated match. The referee showed two straight red cards to former PSG teammates Laurent Leroy and Jérôme Leroy, now at OM. Laurent reacted to a tough tackle from Jérôme by kicking him. They continued to trade blows as it soon escalated into a general brawl. Both of them were then sent off.[53][55] Florian Maurice, who scored Marseille's last goal, famously celebrated it by taking off his right shoe and throwing it to the supporters.[56]

Ronaldinho, Pauleta and PSG's eight consecutive wins Edit

PSG's Ronaldinho terrorised Marseille's defenders.
  • 10 February 2002 (PSG 1–1 OM). The duo met in the Coupe de France for the first time since 1995. Daniel Van Buyten had given OM the lead midway through the second half and were about to send Paris packing when Gabriel Heinze snatched the equaliser five minutes from time. Still level after extra time, PSG goalkeeper Jérôme Alonzo was the hero in the penalty shootout, stopping three of Marseille's nine shots to reach the quarter-finals.[30][48]
  • 26 October 2002 (PSG 3–0 OM). Ronaldinho guided PSG with dribbles, sprints, no-look passes and goals to a crushing victory at the Parc des Princes.[13][57] He opened the scoring with a spectacular free kick and then completed his brace by transforming a penalty. Martín Cardetti added the third with a header.[57] On the sidelines, PSG manager Luis Fernández famously celebrated Ronnie's first goal by performing an improvised samba dance.[57][58] This match launched a series of eight consecutive wins against Marseille.[10][30]
  • 9 March 2003 (OM 0–3 PSG). Ronaldinho was back at it again during PSG's visit to Marseille.[53] He scored one goal and assisted another for a first win at the Stade Vélodrome in 14 years (May 1988).[13][30] Jérôme Leroy broke the deadlock in the first half, scoring a 25-yard rocket from a near-impossible angle. After the interval, Ronaldinho intercepted a poor pass from Marseille's Franck Leboeuf to break away on his own before flicking the ball over outgoing goalkeeper Vedran Runje to score. He followed up with another fantastic run near the end of the match. Starting from his own half, Ronnie held off Brahim Hemdani, rounded Runje in the box and then feinted to shoot, deceiving Hemdani, before calmly assisting Leroy.[57][59]
  • 30 November 2003 (OM 0–1 PSG). Against a better home side, Fabrice Fiorèse finished a 90th-minute counter-attack to give PSG a second consecutive win at the Stade Vélodrome for the first time ever. He famously celebrated the goal by cupping his ears and taunting the Marseille fans. Nine months later, Fiorèse signed for OM, claiming it was 'a dream come true.'[60][61]
  • 25 April 2004 (PSG 2–1 OM). Pauleta's star performance was the highlight of the evening. The Portuguese striker scored twice and his first of the game is one of the rivalry's finest goals: a precise lob from an impossible angle to trump Marseille goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.[62]
  • 7 November 2004 (PSG 2–1 OM). The return of Frédéric Déhu and Fabrice Fiorèse to Paris took the spotlight off the match. Both players had left the French capital to join Marseille in the summer of 2004, and they received an exceptionally hostile welcome from PSG supporters.[63][64] After only twenty minutes of play, PSG defender Sylvain Armand was sent off for a violent tackle on Fiorèse.[64] The former Parisian was also the target of multiple projectiles raining down from the stands. The CRS riot police had to shield Fiorèse every time he would take a corner.[54][65] Despite being one man down for most of the game, PSG still managed to win thanks to a pair of magnificent goals from Pauleta and Édouard Cissé.[64][66]
  • 10 November 2004 (OM 2–3 PSG). Three days later, the two sides met again for the second round of the 2004–05 Coupe de la Ligue. PSG coach Vahid Halilhodžić chose to rest the usual starters and Marseille quickly put themselves two goals in front. It seemed their luck was finally about to change but PSG's youngsters and substitutes had other plans. Branko Bošković scored twice to draw level before Bernard Mendy intercepted a back-pass from Bixente Lizarazu to keeper Fabien Barthez, dribbling past the latter and slotting the ball into the empty net to complete a stunning last-minute comeback.[67] This was PSG's eighth and final consecutive victory against OM, a run known by Parisian fans as "Le Grand Huit" ("The Great Eight").[48]

PSG triumph in Le Classique French Cup final Edit

  • 16 October 2005 (OM 1–0 PSG). Former PSG fan favorite Lorik Cana, who had signed for Marseille directly from the capital side a few months earlier, scored the only goal of the game.[53][68] It was Marseille's first win since April 2002, putting an end to PSG's nine-match unbeaten run in the fixture.[30] Two hours before kickoff, a smell of ammonia floated in the Parisian locker room, with TV footage showing coach Laurent Fournier and his players coughing as they exited it.[54][69][70] According to PSG players Modeste M'bami and Fabrice Pancrate, their rivals employed further destabilisation tactics. First, they were moved to a new locker room placed under the local supporters and, then, former Marseille-born porn star and OM supporter, Clara Morgane, passed by while they were changing. They claim that she was instructed by the Olympian club to do so. Although Morgane did attend the game, she denied the allegations.[71][72] Fournier complained that his team's preparations were disrupted by these incidents. To which Marseille president Pape Diouf responded that they needed "to learn to accept defeat."[70]
  • 5 March 2006 (PSG 0–0 OM). The growing tensions between supporters resulted in less seats for the visiting fans. In protest, Marseille president Pape Diouf sent the club's reserve players in a match known by OM fans as the Classico of "Les Minots" ("The Kids"). The fourth division side managed a goalless draw and were welcomed as champions in the south.[13][49]
PSG defeated Marseille in the 2006 French Cup final.
  • 26 October 2008 (OM 2–4 PSG). Driven by a brace from Guillaume Hoarau and a great second-half performance, the Parisians scored four goals at the Stade Vélodrome for the first time ever. This win set them on course for the league title race and prevented Marseille from taking the lead at the top of the table.[53]
  • 15 March 2009 (PSG 1–3 OM). Following the surprise defeat of league leaders Lyon, a win would give Paris the top spot. Marseille opened the score through Boudewijn Zenden — who then fell into an advertising cube by the corner flag while celebrating his goal — and Ludovic Giuly equalized for PSG right before half-time. With the score tied at 1–1 in the second half, Zoumana Camara's straight red card was the turning point. Shortly after, Bakari Koné and Lorik Cana scored for Marseille to kill PSG's title hopes and leapfrogg them into second place.[48][74]

H1N1 pandemic and Marseille's super cup victory over PSG Edit

  • 28 February 2010 (PSG 0–3 OM). Goals from Hatem Ben Arfa, Lucho González and Benoît Cheyrou handed the Olympians their biggest win ever at the Parc des Princes against a mediocre Parisian side that finished in 13th place. Marseille would go on to win the Ligue 1 title as well as the French League Cup, ending their 17-year trophy drought.[13]
  • 28 July 2010 (OM 0–0 PSG). Marseille won their first Trophée des Champions in 2010, beating PSG 5–4 on penalties after a goalless draw in Tunis. The two arch-rivals failed to offer much in the way of a spectacle for their first encounter in this competition. Both Peguy Luyindula and Ludovic Giuly missed from the spot for the Parisians and although Lucho González also failed to find the net for OM, former PSG midfielder Édouard Cissé stuck the winning kick.[33]
  • 7 November 2010 (PSG 2–1 OM). Nenê was in stellar form as Paris claimed their first home victory over OM in six years (November 2004). Mevlüt Erdinç opened the scoring by tapping home a rebound after Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda failed to hold on to an angled shot from Nenê. The Turkish striker then delighted the home fans with his memorable goal celebration. He lifted his shirt to reveal a t-shirt carrying club motto 'Paris est magique!' ('Paris is magical!'). Guillaume Hoarau doubled PSG's lead shortly after with a shot between Mandanda's legs after Nenê found him with a magnificent lob over the Olympian defenders. Lucho González rapidly pulled one back but OM could not find the equaliser against a determined PSG defence.[76][77]
  • 27 November 2011 (OM 3–0 PSG). PSG had just been bought by Qatar Sports Investments and the first big-money Parisian stars walked into the Stade Vélodrome for the inaugural Derby de France of the Qatari era. The capital club arrived as league leaders but returned home having lost the lead and being outclassed by a largely superior OM side thanks to goals from Loïc Rémy, Morgan Amalfitano and André Ayew.[53] This was Marseille's last victory over Paris until September 2020.[30]

Zlatan's Parisian hegemony: ten back-to-back wins Edit

Former PSG striker and Le Classique top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimović never lost a match against Marseille.
  • 7 October 2012 (OM 2–2 PSG). André-Pierre Gignac opened the scoring but PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimović turned things around with a volleyed back-heel and a 25-yard free-kick. Gignac ensured parity with his second of the night as OM remained top of the table.[53][78] This was the first time since January 1994 that both teams went into the game occupying the top two spots.[3]
  • 21 May 2016 (OM 2–4 PSG). Both sides met in the 2016 French Cup final at the Stade de France. PSG were aiming for the domestic treble, while Marseille were trying to salvage a mediocre season. Playing his last game for the club, Zlatan Ibrahimović scored twice and assisted another as Paris took home the trophy in front of a record 80,000 spectators.[40] This was PSG's tenth and final victory in a row.[30]
  • 22 October 2017 (OM 2–2 PSG). Luiz Gustavo opened the scoring for Marseille with a 30-yard shot before Neymar equalised. Late in the game, OM regained the lead through Florian Thauvin and Neymar was sent off. The Olympians were seconds away from their first win since November 2011 but Edinson Cavani's last-gasp free-kick silenced the whole stadium.[30][82]
  • 28 October 2018 (OM 0–2 PSG). Second-half super-sub Kylian Mbappé broke the deadlock with a great solo run three minutes after coming on. Late drama followed as Marseille were denied a goal because of Marquinhos' theatrics before Julian Draxler netted PSG's second in stoppage time. The German winger celebrated by cupping his ears to the home supporters.[83][84]
  • 27 October 2019 (PSG 4–0 OM). A banner in the Auteuil curve of the Parc des Princes, reading "We have been hammering you for eight years and it's not over," set the tone for the game.[85] Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappé scored twice each in the first half as PSG trumped Marseille with a scoreline on par with the matchup's biggest wins.[30][85] This was PSG's twentieth and final unbeaten match against OM, a run which saw the Parisians win seventeen times, including ten victories in a row, and draw the remaining three games.[48]

COVID-19 pandemic and "Battle of Paris" Edit

Neymar's feud with Álvaro sparked a new fire into the rivalry.
  • 22 March 2020 (match cancelled). In the rivalry's history, this is the only game to have ever been cancelled. On April 30, 2020, the French League awarded the 2019–20 Ligue 1 title to PSG after the French Government cancelled the sporting season in the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic in France. As a result, the return match between Marseille and Paris, scheduled to be held on March 22, 2020, at the Stade Vélodrome, was never played.[38]
  • 13 September 2020 (PSG 0–1 OM). Shortly after PSG's 2020 UEFA Champions League final defeat, Marseille's Dimitri Payet used social media to remind the Parisians that his side remained the only French team ever to have won the trophy, preparing the ground for a violent match at the Parc des Princes.[43] The game was dubbed the "Battle of Paris" by media outlets.[86] Florian Thauvin scored the only goal of the match in the first half, volleying Payet's free-kick in from close range. It was Marseille's first victory over Paris since November 2011.[87] In injury time, a full-scale brawl broke out on the pitch. PSG's Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa were sent off, as were Darío Benedetto and Jordan Amavi of OM. Neymar accused Álvaro of making a racist remark towards him.[42][43][87] Álvaro denied the allegations. Neymar himself was accused of homophobic and racist comments towards Álvaro and Hiroki Sakai. The French League, however, took no further action citing insufficient evidence.[42][88][89] Sakai also cleared the PSG star of any wrongdoing against him.[90] Post-match, PSG winger Ángel Di María was given a four-game ban for spitting towards Álvaro.[91]
  • 13 January 2021 (PSG 2–1 OM). Paris had their revenge in the 2020 Trophée des Champions. Mauro Icardi put a dominant PSG side ahead six minutes before the break.[41] Subbed in for the second half, Neymar was immediately targeted by Álvaro, who fouled him several times in a continuation of the pair's quarrel in the previous match.[41][42] It was Neymar who had the last laugh, though, as the Brazilian playmaker converted the winning goal from the penalty spot. Dimitri Payet pulled one back for OM with a minute remaining but PSG hung on to clinch the title.[41] Post-match, Neymar mocked Álvaro, as well as Payet, on social media.[42][92][93] PSG also took to Twitter to make fun of Payet and his empty trophy cabinet.[94]
  • 8 February 2023 (OM 2–1 PSG). The Olympians reached the Coupe de France quarterfinals thanks to an Alexis Sánchez penalty and a Ruslan Malinovskyi thunderbolt after a late first-half equalizer from PSG's Sergio Ramos. It was Marseille's first French Cup victory over the Parisians since April 1991, almost 32 years after they ran away 0–2 winners at the Parc des Princes; their maiden triumph against their rivals at the Stade Vélodrome in a domestic cup match; and their first home win overall in Le Classique since November 2011.[95][96]
  • 26 February 2023 (OM 0–3 PSG). Paris responded through Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi, who combined for all three goals to end Marseille's league title hopes with a huge 3–0 win at the Stade Vélodrome. PSG's masterclass in attacking football saw both players reach individual milestones: Messi scored his 700th career club goal, while Mbappé became the club's joint-record scorer with his 200th goal in 246 games, 55 matches less than Edinson Cavani.[97]

Supporters Edit

Violent incidents Edit

  • 9 May 1975: Feeling their side were robbed of a penalty late in the game, Marseille supporters attacked the PSG team bus after the final whistle and clashed with the CRS riot police.[45]
  • 29 May 1993: Both sets of fans clashed at the Stade Vélodrome leaving fourteen people injured. Marseille fans retaliated after being thrown a dozen flares by visiting PSG supporters, who also set several OM shirts on fire during the game.[98]
  • 11 April 1995: 146 people were arrested and nine policemen were hospitalised after clashes between fans from the two teams.[2]
  • 8 November 1997: Three people were treated for minor injuries but no arrests were made.[98]
  • 4 May 1999: Both sets of supporters launched the game by fighting on the lawn of the Parc des Princes before kick-off.[13]
  • 13 October 2000: 18-year-old Marseille supporter, Geoffrey Dilly, was left paralysed for life after being struck by a seat thrown from the PSG fan section located above.[54]
  • 26 October 2002: PSG hooligans and the police clashed outside the Parc des Princes, resulting in 61 arrests, 35 people treated for minor injuries and eight hospitalisations.[99]
  • 25 January 2003: 38 people were arrested but no one was injured.[100]
  • 9 March 2003: 27 people suffered minor injuries, while one had to be hospitalised.[101]
  • 4 February 2007: Marseille fans stoned the PSG team bus upon its arrival to the Stade Vélodrome. Buses of Parisian supporters were also targeted when they arrived at the stadium.[54]
  • 15 March 2009: PSG supporters launched more than 60 flares during the match, including four rockets towards the away stand, causing burns to the neck of a Marseille fan.[102]
  • 26 October 2009: In the midst of the 2009 swine flu pandemic, three PSG players were diagnosed with H1N1 flu and the match was postponed only hours before it was scheduled to start.[75] 2,000 Parisian fans were already in Marseille and clashes erupted between both sides.[103] Ten Marseille fans were arrested by the CRS riot police and ten people were injured, including one PSG supporter who was hit by a car that fled the scene.[54][75] The game was played on 20 November 2009.[54]
  • 5 April 2015: Marseille fans pelted the PSG team bus with stones and other objects before kickoff as the Parisians made their way to the Stade Vélodrome. Reports said PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimović was almost hit by a golf ball that smashed through the window of team coach Laurent Blanc. The police also clashed with OM supporters blocking a roundabout near the stadium and used tear gas to disperse them. Eight officers sustained minor injuries, while eight Marseille fans were arrested.[104]
  • 21 May 2016: Before the 2016 Coupe de France Final at the Stade de France, there were scuffles between PSG and OM hooligans. With Paris claiming a 4–2 victory on the final whistle, angry Marseille supporters lit two flares in the stands and torched a few seats. 30 people were arrested but there were no reports of injuries.[105]
  • 28 February 2018: After being allowed to travel to the Parc des Princes for the first time since 2014, Marseille fans ripped out no less than 137 seats from the visitors' grandstand and some of them were even swung towards the side stand. They also degraded the stadium toilets.[106]
  • 18 August 2020: Fans of the two sides clashed in Marseille following PSG's UEFA Champions League semi-final win over RB Leipzig. One man was arrested for attacking a man wearing a PSG shirt. Hundreds of OM fans sang anti-PSG songs and detonated firecrackers. In response, the local police banned the use of PSG shirts around the city on the night of their 2020 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich. They later backtracked on the order.[43][107]

Tifo choreographies Edit

Statistics Edit

As of 24 September 2023.[30][108][109]
Starting lineups of both teams in the 2010 Trophée des Champions.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Draw (including penalties) Olympique de Marseille (OM)

Honours Edit

Competition Titles won
Ligue 1 11 9
Ligue 2 1 1
Coupe de France 14 10
Coupe de la Ligue 9 3
Trophée des Champions 11 2
National total 46 25
UEFA Champions League 0 1
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 0
UEFA Intertoto Cup 1 1
International total 2 2
Overall total 48 27

Finals Edit

29 April 2006 Coupe de France Marseille 1–2 Paris Saint-Germain Saint-Denis
Maoulida   67' Report Kalou   6'
Dhorasoo   49'
Stadium: Stade de France
Attendance: 79,061
Referee: Laurent Duhamel
28 July 2010 Trophée des Champions Marseille 0–0
(5–4 p)
Paris Saint-Germain Tunis, Tunisia
Report 1
Report 2
Stadium: Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi
Attendance: 56,237
Referee: Aouaz Trabelsi
Ben Arfa  
Lucho González  
21 May 2016 Coupe de France Marseille 2–4 Paris Saint-Germain Saint-Denis
Thauvin   12'
Batshuayi   87'
Report Matuidi   2'
Ibrahimović   47' (pen.), 82'
Cavani   57'
Stadium: Stade de France
Attendance: 80,000
Referee: Clément Turpin
13 January 2021 Trophée des Champions Paris Saint-Germain 2–1 Marseille Lens
Icardi   39'
Neymar   85' (pen.)
Report Payet   89' Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis
Attendance: 0 [a]
Referee: Ruddy Buquet

Overall record Edit

Competition Matches Wins Draws Goals Goal difference
Ligue 1 88 36 32 20 122 105 +17 −17
Coupe de France 14 10 2 2 27 13 +14 −14
Coupe de la Ligue 2 2 0 0 5 2 +3 −3
Trophée des Champions 2 1 0 1 2 1 +1 −1
Total 106 49 34 23 156 121 +35 −35

Head-to-head ranking in Ligue 1 Edit

P. 72 75 76 77 78 79 80 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3
4 3 4 4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8
9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13 13
14 14
15 15 15 15 15 15
16 16 16
17 17
19 19

Total: Marseille with 22 higher finishes, Paris Saint-Germain with 22 higher finishes (out of 44 seasons with both clubs in Ligue 1).

Records Edit

As of 24 September 2023.[30][111]
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Draw or Neutral Venue Olympique de Marseille (OM)

Club Edit

Steve Mandanda
Marco Verratti
Zlatan Ibrahimović
Josip Skoblar
André-Pierre Gignac
Kylian Mbappé

Biggest wins Edit

Winning margin by 4 goals or more.

Rank Date Home team Result Away team Margin
1 8 January 1978 PSG 5–1 OM 4 goals
28 November 1986 OM 4–0 PSG
26 February 2017 OM 1–5 PSG
27 October 2019 PSG 4–0 OM
24 September 2023 PSG 4–0 OM

Most goals in a match Edit

Six goals or more.

Rank Date Home team Result Away team Goals
1 7 April 1979 PSG 4–3 OM 7
2 12 December 1971 OM 4–2 PSG 6
5 October 1974 OM 4–2 PSG
8 January 1978 PSG 5–1 OM
26 October 2008 OM 2–4 PSG
21 May 2016 OM 2–4 PSG
26 February 2017 OM 1–5 PSG

Longest runs Edit

Winning Edit

Five consecutive matches won or more.

Rank Club From To Wins
1 PSG 31 October 2012 21 May 2016 10
2 PSG 26 October 2002 10 November 2004 8
3 PSG 7 April 1979 8 September 1984 6
4 PSG 25 February 2018 27 October 2019 5
Unbeaten Edit

Five consecutive matches unbeaten or more.

Rank Club From To Wins Draws Matches
1 PSG 8 April 2012 13 September 2020 17 3 20
2 PSG 26 October 2002 16 October 2005 8 1 9
OM 8 September 1990 11 April 1995 6 3
3 PSG 7 April 1979 8 September 1984 6 0 6
4 OM 20 September 1975 30 August 1977 4 1 5
OM 12 December 1971 9 May 1975 3 2
OM 22 November 1996 29 November 1998 2 3
PSG 13 January 2021 8 February 2023 4 1

Highest attendances Edit

All-time highest attendances (PSG home, OM home and Neutral venue).

Home team Date Stadium Location Attendance
Neutral 21 May 2016 Stade de France Saint-Denis, France 80,000
OM 26 February 2023 Stade Vélodrome Marseille, France 65,894
PSG 14 January 1994 Parc des Princes Paris, France 48,000

Individual Edit

Most appearances Edit

Rank Player Position Club Period Apps
1   Steve Mandanda GK OM 2007–2016
2   Marco Verratti MF PSG 2012–2023 22
3   Marquinhos DF PSG 2013– 21
4   Sylvain Armand DF PSG 2004–2013 18
5   Jean-Marc Pilorget DF PSG 1975–1989 16
  Édouard Cissé MF PSG 1997–2007
OM 2009–2011
6   Safet Sušić MF PSG 1982–1991 15
  Joël Bats GK PSG 1985–1992
  Mathieu Valbuena MF OM 2006–2014
  Blaise Matuidi MF PSG 2011–2017
  Thiago Silva DF PSG 2012–2020
  Ángel Di María MF PSG 2015–2022
  Florian Thauvin MF OM 2013–2015
  Dimitri Payet MF OM 2013–2015

Top scorers Edit

Rank Player Position Club Period Goals
1   Zlatan Ibrahimović FW PSG 2012–2016 11
2   Kylian Mbappé FW PSG 2017– 9
3   Edinson Cavani FW PSG 2013–2020 7
3   Pauleta FW PSG 2003–2008 6
4   Hervé Florès FW OM 1975–1981 5
  Ángel Di María MF PSG 2015–2022
5   Josip Skoblar FW OM 1966–1967
  François M'Pelé FW PSG 1973–1979
  Mustapha Dahleb MF PSG 1974–1984
  André Ayew FW OM 2007–2015
  André-Pierre Gignac FW OM 2010–2015
  Mauro Icardi FW PSG 2019–2023
  Neymar FW PSG 2017–2023

Hat-tricks Edit

No player has ever scored a hat-trick in Le Classique.[85]

Playing for both clubs Edit

Despite all of the bad blood, as many as 49 players have played for both clubs.[111] Some of them have even made the round trip several times, including Jérôme Leroy, Xavier Gravelaine, Boubacar Sarr and Bruno Germain.[112] When OM and PSG became Ligue 1's best of enemies in the early 1990s, transfers began to make headlines.[112] Talented French youngster Jocelyn Angloma was the rivalry's first notorious deal between the two sides; he left Paris for Marseille in 1990.[112] Managers have also crossed the divide, albeit without any of the drama. Only two coaches have been at the helm of both clubs: Lucien Leduc and Tomislav Ivić.[112]

Lorik Cana in 2006, shortly after swapping Paris for Marseille.

PSG made the next big move with the signings of French football prodigies Peter Luccin and Stéphane Dalmat from OM in 2000. After a convincing season in the south, the midfield duo responded positively to the sirens of the capital to compete in the 2000–01 UEFA Champions League.[113][114] Marseille hit back with adored PSG captain Frédéric Déhu who, following a confrontation with manager Vahid Halilhodžić, decided to sign for OM when his contract expired in 2004.[64][68] When his deal was revealed days before the 2004 French Cup Final, the match became a nightmare for Déhu, who was constantly booed by PSG fans. After lifting the trophy, he disappeared into the dressing room in tears and refused to perform a lap of honor with his teammates.[63]

That same summer, minutes before the end of the transfer window, fan favorite Fabrice Fiorèse joined Déhu at Marseille.[63][64] Citing a conflict with Halilhodžić as the main reason for him leaving,[64] Fiorèse also said that OM had always been the club of his dreams.[60] Upon their return to the Parc des Princes, Déhu and Fiorèse were whistled and jeered by PSG supporters, who also displayed dozens of insulting banners, including one from the Kop of Boulogne aimed at Fiorèse that read "We have Jesus (along with a portrait of PSG defender Mario Yepes), you have Judas."[64]

In similar fashion, beloved PSG Academy graduate Lorik Cana signed for Marseille in 2005 after losing his starting place under manager Laurent Fournier.[63][68] Like Fiorèse before him, Cana declared that he was joining 'the club of my heart' in his official presentation.[113] PSG fans welcomed him back with a flood of insults in 2006.[68] Later that year, Modeste M'bami also signed with OM despite previously saying he would never play for them.[115] In the next Classico in Paris, one banner read "Déhu, Fiorèse, Cana, M'bami, the list of whores keeps growing."[116] PSG consoled themselves with Peguy Luyindula, who signed from Marseille in 2007 claiming to have fulfilled a lifelong ambition. Luyindula was the last direct transfer between the two sides to date. As part of the deal, it was agreed he would not make his debut in the following match against OM.[117][118]

But Marseille had the last laugh so far. Idolized by fans during his stint in the capital, Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze told reporters in 2005 that he loved PSG and would only play for them if he ever went back to France.[63][68] Four years later, however, with his return for the 2009–10 season almost a done deal, Heinze decided instead to sign for OM at the last minute.[113] The Parisian fans welcomed him back to the Parc des Princes with insults, whistles and hostile banners, only for him to net Marseille's winning goal,[63][68] becoming the second player, after Boubacar Sarr, to have scored for both clubs in the clash.[30] Sarr, however, remains the only one to score for both teams as well as being transferred directly between them.[30][111] The 'transfer war' has cooled down since then as Qatar-backed PSG have had the financial muscle to recruit any player in the world, while OM have had to settle for more modest targets.[118]

List of players Edit

As of 26 February 2023.[111]
Gabriel Heinze (pictured) and Boubacar Sarr are the only players to have scored for both clubs in Le Classique.
Peguy Luyindula was the last direct transfer between the two sides to date. He joined PSG from Marseille in 2007.
No. Player
1   Jean Djorkaeff
2   Jean-Pierre Destrumelle
3   Jean-Louis Leonetti
4   Jean-Pierre Dogliani
5   Jacky Novi
6   Ilija Pantelić
7   Jean-Pierre Tokoto
8   Boubacar Sarr
9   Michel N'Gom
10   Marcel De Falco
11   Claude Lowitz
12   François Brisson
13   William Ayache
No. Player
14   Yvon Le Roux
15   Thierry Laurey
16   Daniel Xuereb
17   Bernard Pardo
18   Jocelyn Angloma
19   Laurent Fournier
20   Bruno Germain
21   Alain Roche
22   Benoît Cauet
23   Xavier Gravelaine
24   Djamel Belmadi
25   Patrick Colleter
26   Florian Maurice
No. Player
27   Daniel Bravo
28   Jérôme Leroy
29   Kaba Diawara
30   Cyrille Pouget
31   Bruno Ngotty
32   Stéphane Dalmat
33   Peter Luccin
34   George Weah
35   Pascal Nouma
36   Jérôme Alonzo
37   André Luiz
38   Frédéric Déhu
39   Fabrice Fiorèse
No. Player
40   Lorik Cana
41   Modeste M'bami
42   Péguy Luyindula
43   Zoumana Camara
44   Claude Makélélé
45   Édouard Cissé
46   Fabrice Abriel
47   Gabriel Heinze
48   Hatem Ben Arfa
49   Lassana Diarra
  Player scored for both clubs in Le Classique.[30]
  Player transferred directly between the two sides.[111]
  Player scored for both clubs in Le Classique and transferred directly between them.[30][111]

Most expensive transfers Edit

As of 26 February 2023.[118]
Rank Player Year From To Fee (€) Source
1   Peter Luccin 2000 OM PSG €13.5m [118]
2   Stéphane Dalmat 2000 OM PSG €10.75m [118]
3   Jocelyn Angloma 1991 PSG OM €6m [118]
4   Florian Maurice 1998 PSG OM €6m [118]
5   Peguy Luyindula 2007 OM PSG €4m [118]
6   Lorik Cana 2005 PSG OM €4m [118]
7   Fabrice Fiorèse 2005 PSG OM €3m [118]
8   Modeste M'bami 2006 PSG OM €2.5m [118]

Notes Edit

  1. ^ Match was played behind closed doors due to restrictions on attendance related to the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[110]

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External links Edit

Official websites