Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says he understands how important the Manchester derby is to fans of both sides and claimed it to be almost as big as the El Classico - the twice-annual showdown between Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Spain.
City will host Manchester United on Monday night for a game being tipped as the title decider and Kompany feels that with the emergence of City as a Premier League heavyweight over the past few years, the derby is now a lot bigger than just a match for local bragging rights.
"I know what it means to the people and it's impossible not to know the history. Before you join the club you find out about the victories and I guess it has become, after El Classico, the biggest game in the world in a league competition," the Guardian quoted Kompany as saying.
"When it comes to this, we have experience of these big games. But it's crazy, and you don't want to know that there will be 400 million people watching the game. It's the phone calls as well, it's everything. Not just from here but from China, America, all over: it is ridiculous the amount of people who are into this game, you can't imagine," the 26 year old added.
However, the Belgium captain does not believe the derby will decide who gets crowned league champions this season, despite the fact there are only two games left after this encounter.
"We lost points because other teams played well and they were difficult to play against. The same thing happened to United. So I'm more of the opinion that it won't stop at Monday. I hope after that we're talking about [the following weekend] and how big that game will be, and how big the QPR and Sunderland games will be," he said.
Kompany was sent off and forced to serve a four-match ban for a two-footed scissors challenge on Nani, when he last faced the Red Devils. United players and boss Sir Alex Ferguson were very critical of the City captain's tackle after the game but the defender has stated he will not change his tackling style.
"You can't, and I don't think the fans would want it. I don't think it's possible to do it. I have not been the player I am now for two years - I have been that player since I started playing football 20 years ago," ESPN quoted Kompany.