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The Greatest Football Teams of All Time

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Everyone has a favorite team of all time, and they’ll defend that team’s merits until they’re blue in the face (or red, green, yellow, or black, depending on your affiliation).

My personal favorite was the U.S. World Cup team from 2002 that was one missed-handball on Torsten Frings away from going into extra time against the mighty Germans in the Quarterfinals. That team had guts, determination, and the best shot-stopper in the tournament in Brad Friedel. There’s no doubt in my mind that we could have prevailed in a shootout, giving us the right to face a South Korean team that we had already taken a point off of. Then we could have advanced to the Finals, where we would have been trounced by Brazil, but that would have been a worthy accomplishment, right?

Anyway, even though I loved that team with all my heart, my head knows better than to put them amongst the greatest teams of all time. Heck, they wouldn’t even make the long-list, let alone the short-list. In order to be a great team, you have to win trophies, you have to have transcendent players, and you have to withstand the test of time.

As such, when I was compiling this list of the greatest teams of all time, I kept the following criteria in mind:

  • Obviously, the team must have won a major honor. For domestic clubs, the more silverware, the better. If a club only won one trophy, then there must have been something special about the way they won, otherwise, they were not considered. For international teams, it’s World Cup or Bust. Sorry 1954 Hungary and 1974 Netherlands.
  • Big names are also important, but not as much as winning (The Real Madrid Galacticos are nowhere to be found on this list). Basically, is this a team that you’ll remember decades after the fact?
  • For domestic clubs, I also looked at how well they did the following season. Very often, the mark of a great team lies in how well they defend their title, especially with everyone gunning for them. Given the interval between international competitions, I didn’t rely on this as much for international teams, but it was relevant in one notable case (see below).
  • Teams are listed chronologically. The game has changed too much in the intervening years, and trying to determine whether the stronger, quicker, and better conditioned athletes of today would run roughshod over the likes of Pele and Beckenbauer is unfair.

The Greatest Football Teams of All Time

Team: Brazil, 1958

Overview: Brazil won its very first World Cup title in 1958, and in doing so, established themselves as a powerhouse to be reckoned with for generations to come. Brazil went unbeaten in the competition, winning all of its matches save a 0-0 draw in the group stage against England. They crushed France in the Semi-Finals, 5-2, and then destroyed Sweden by the same score in the Finals to clinch the World Cup.

Players: Viva was a prolific forward, who became the first player to score in two different World Cup Finals. Skipper Bellini was an excellent central defender who inadvertently started a trend by holding the World Cup trophy high above his head. Didi was one of the greatest playmaking midfielders of all time and was named Player of the Tournament. Garrincha was one of the greatest crossers of the ball and is often considered to be the second greatest Brazilian footballer of all time. Djalma Santos and Nílton Santos (no relation) who were excellent full-backs that were also good on the attack. And of course, there was Pele. I hear he was pretty good.

Honors: 1958 World Cup

Team: Real Madrid, 1960

Overview: With their current struggles and nearly seven-year European drought, it’s hard to believe that Real Madrid once ruled European play. They won the first five European Championships from 1956-1960, including a 7-3 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 Final that remains the most lopsided score in the history of the competition. They came up short in their domestic competitions, but their dominance in Europe is something that will likely never be duplicated.

Players: Forward Ferenc Puskás scored 4 times in the Final, adding to the 8 goals that he scored in the competition up to that point. Alfredo Di Stéfano chipped in with a hat-trick of his own to seal the deal for Real Madrid. José María Zárraga, Real Madrid’s skipper on that night, won his fifth European Championship, a mark bettered only by his teammate, Francisco Gento.

Honors: UEFA Champions League, 1960

Team: Celtic, 1967

Overview: The Lisbon Lions pulled off the biggest haul of silverware by any club in a single season. They won the Scottish League Title, besting archrival Rangers by 3 points. They won both domestic cups, defeating Abdereen in the Scottish Cup Final and besting Rangers once again to win the Scottish League Cup. Their crowning achievement, however, came in the European Cup Final in which they showed off their entertaining, attacking brand of football and beat defensive-minded Inter Milan to become the first and only Scottish club to ever win Europe’s biggest club prize. Celtic’s triumph was even more impressive in light of the fact that it was a banner year for Scottish teams. Rangers went to the Finals of the Cup Winners Cup, while Kilmarnock made it to the semi-finals of the Fairs Cup (the predecessor to the UEFA Cup).

Players: Celtic were truly a local operation, as all of its players were born within 30 miles of Glasgow. They also played with four attackers up front, thereby ensuring that they would rack up a ton of goals. Skipper Billy McNeill was the inspirational leader of the club and was voted the greatest Celtic captain of all time. Bobby Murdoch was seen as the team’s most important player and formed an excellent partnership in midfield with the fiery Bertie Auld. Stevie Chalmers was a prolific goal scorer who hit the game-winner against Inter Milan in the European Cup Final. William Wallace (not “Braveheart”) was another great scorer who notched 89 goals during his five years at Celtic. However, their two best forwards were the guys who played slightly behind Chalmers and Wallace, Celtic legends Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Lennox. Johnstone was voted greatest player in Celtic history with Lennox finishing slightly behind him. The following season, Celtic pulled off a double by winning the League Title and League Cup.

Honors: Scottish League Title, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup, European Cup

Team: Brazil, 1970

Overview: The Gold Standard as far as national teams go. Brazil boasted what some consider to be the greatest array of talent ever assembled on one team. If they weren’t the greatest of all time then they were certainly the most fun to watch. After several World Cups that were defensive-oriented and low-scoring, Brazil restored the flair and excitement in 1970, winning millions of hearts and minds along the way. They won every single match they played during the 1970 World Cup, including a 4-1 thrashing of Italy in the Finals.

Players: Skipper Carlos Alberto was one of the greatest defenders ever to play the game and was known as an excellent attacker during an era when defenders rarely ventured forward. Clodoaldo was one of the most dazzling dribblers of all time and could dazzle a crowd (and opposing defenders) with his amazing footwork. Jairzinho was a goal machine who scored in every match that Brazil played in during 1970 World Cup. Rivelino was not only a showman who invented the “Elastico,” but was an extremely versatile talent in his own right. Gerson was one of the best passers in soccer history, and was widely credited as the playmaker on this squad. Tostao, Brito, and Piazza all played important roles. Plus, they had that Pele guy again.

Honors: 1970 World Cup.

Team: Ajax Amsterdam, 1972

Overview: The Twelve Apostles of Ajax had an unprecedented run of success from 1971-1973. Ajax’s treble in 1972 would have been remarkable enough if it weren’t for the fact that they just missed out on a treble the previous season. Ajax had won the 1971 European Cup, as well as the KNVB Cup, but just missed out on the Eredivisie, finishing second to Feyenoord. As such, they were determined not to miss out on any silverware the following season. Ajax won the league, wresting the title back from Feyenoord, bested FC Den Haag in the KNVB Cup, and outclassed Inter Milan in the European Cup Final to become the first club to win the treble since Celtic in 1967. In fact, Ajax was so loaded that they nearly defended their treble the very next season, winning another European Cup and Eredivisie but losing in the KNVB Cup.

Players: Skipper Johan Cruijff was the team’s leader and best player, and cemented his legend by scoring both goals in the European Cup Final against Inter Milan. West German Horst Blankenburg was the team’s sweeper and was widely considered to be one of the best in Europe (although he never played for his own country because he was stuck behind Franz Beckenbauer). Defender Ruud Krol was versatile and professional, playing left-back for Ajax but taking on the libero role for the Netherlands (where he was skipper for the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championships). Johan Neeskens, a central midfielder who had a knack for scoring goals, and was the second-best player named Johan on the squad. While Cruijff was, obviously, the team’s talismanic figure, but the team also had striker Piet Keizer, who some observers claim was a better player than Cruijff. Keizer obviously thought so, and the tensions between the two were so high that when Cruijff left for Barcelona in 1973, Keizer celebrated by dancing on a table. Unfortuantely for Keizer, that was about all he had to celebrate, as Ajax’s dominance came to an abrupt end after the departure of “Pythagoras in Boots.”

Honors: Dutch Eredivisie Title, KNVB Cup, European Cup.

Team: Bayern Munich, 1974

Overview: The early-to-mid 70′s were a golden age for West German football. West Germany triumphed at the Euro 1972, and their international success poured over to the German Bundesliga. Several West German internationals played for Bayern Munich, who established themselves as one of the best teams in Europe. Bayern Munich won League Titles in 1972, 1973, and 1974, a German Cup in 1971, and, most notably, back-to-back European Cup Championships in 1974 and 1975.

Players: The team was led by the unfortunately named “Axis,” consisting of three legendary German figures in goalkeeper Sepp Maier, sweeper Franz Beckenbauer, and striker Gerd Mueller. The Axis were supported by the likes of forward Jupp Kapellmann (the club’s most expensive transfer at a whopping 802,000 Deutsch Marks), midfielders Uli Hoeness (who scored twice in the European Cup Final Replay against Atletico Madrid) and Franz Roth, and defenders Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck (who equalized in extra time of the first match with Atletico Madrid to ensure a replay) and Paul Breitner (who became one of only four players to score in two different World Cup Finals). Bayern proved their European dominance was no fluke, winning the European Cup again the following year.

Honors: Bundesliga Title, European Cup.

Team: France, 1984

Overview: Les Bleus exploded onto the scene in 1982, going all the way to the Semi-Finals of the World Cup before losing to West Germany on penalty kicks. Expectations for France were high for Euro 1984, which they happened to host. France did not disappoint, winning all of its matches en route to a 2-0 defeat of Spain in the Finals to win the country’s first international title. France followed up their victory with a 3rd place finish at the 1986 World Cup, losing to West Germany once again.

Players: Midfielder Michel Platini was the star of the tournament, scoring 9 goals in the competition, including two consecutive hat-tricks in the group stage. He was joined by Jean Tigana, Luis Fernandez and Alain Giresse to form the Magic Square (le Carre Magique), one of the best midfield foursomes in soccer history. Les Bleus also boasted a great goal-keeper in Joel Bats, and stalwart defenders including Patrick Battiston, who recovered from a career-threatening injury against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup Semi-Finals to play an important role for Euro 1984.

Honors: Euro 1984.

Team: Liverpool, 1984

Overview: Liverpool were already the Kings of English Football when they won a treble in 1984. They took home the League Title (their 15th title and third consecutive championship), League Cup (their fourth straight title), and European Cup (their fourth title). The only blight on their resume that year was a loss to Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. in the F.A. Cup.

Players: Colorful goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar (who was later accused of throwing matches) was the hero of the European Cup Final, coming up big in the penalty shootout during which time he gained lifelong infamy for mockingly wobbling his legs in horror and pretending to eat spaghetti at Roma’s kick takers. On defense, Liverpool boasted the likes of right back Phil Neal, who was the only Liverpool player to appear in their first 5 European Cup Finals (winning four of them), and left-back Alan Kennedy, who converted the winning penalty kick against Roma in the European Cup Finals. Skipper Graeme Souness was joined in the midfield by Craig Johnston, Sammy Lee, and Ronnie Whelan, all of whom played important roles in securing the treble. Up front, Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish formed a dangerous partnership with reigning PFA Young Player of the Year, Ian Rush. Liverpool followed up their success with another League Title the following season, running their record tally in that category to 16.

Honors: English Football League Title, Football League Cup, European Cup

Team: France, 1998

Overview: After failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, France roared with a vengeance in 1998, winning it all on their home turf. In claiming their first title, France became the first host to win since 1978. They won all their matches and thumped defending champions Brazil, who was led by reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldo. France proved their win wasn’t a fluke by winning Euro 2000, becoming the only World Cup holders to win the Euros.

Players: Fabien Barthez was a brick wall in goal, only conceding two goals (only one in the knock-out rounds) during the entire competition. Lillian Thuram, Emmanuel Petit, Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, were in their primes and provided much of the stability in defense and in midfield, while young superstars-in-waiting like Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, and Patrick Vieira provided punch off the bench. However, the team started and stopped with Zinedine Zidane, who was the engine that drove the team in midfield. Zidane proved his genius during this tournament and established himself as the greatest player of his era. His brilliance (diminished somewhat as a result of his infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup Finals) is still evident as France have yet to adequately replace him.

Honors: 1998 World Cup

Team: Manchester United, 1999

Overview: While other clubs had won the treble before, United’s accomplishment in 1999 probably ranks as the most impressive. In an era of greater player movement and concentration of wealth and talent in a select number of leagues in Europe, United, arguably, faced stiffer competition than either of their predecessors in the Treble Club. Additionally, few teams possessed the kind of never-say-die attitude that this United club did. They edged Arsenal by a single point (and scored a then-record 80 goals in the Premiership) to win the League. They scored two goals after the 86th minute to come from behind and knock out Liverpool in the F.A. Cup and advanced to the Finals after Ryan Giggs’ famous goal in extra time during the Semi-Finals against Arsenal. And, of course, they scored two goals in stoppage time in the second half to win the Champions League.

Players: Captain Roy Keane was one of the greatest club captains of the Premiership Era, and was one of the top holding midfielders to ever play the game. Peter Schmeichel is still considered to be the best goalkeeper ever to play in the Premiership and was an inspirational leader on the club. Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Jaap Stam, Nicky Butt, and Gary and Phil Neville were in the early stages of their distinguished careers, while Denis Irwin and Ronny Johnsen provided veteran leadership on the pitch. United also had four top-notch and proven goalscorers in Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and Teddy Sheringham, which gave Sir Alex Ferguson plenty of options up front, as well as the ability to come from behind late in matches. United were able to defend their League Title the following year and went out in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League against eventual winners, Real Madrid. They famously declined to defend their F.A. Cup title, being pressured into entering the inaugural FIFA World Club Cup as part of England’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup.

Honors: English Premier League, F.A. Cup, UEFA Champions League.

Honorable Mention:

Arsenal, 2004

Overview: Arsenal became the first team in Premiership history (and first top-division English football club to do so since 1889) to go unbeaten throughout an entire season. Arsenal bested Chelsea and Manchester United, their two free-spending rivals, to run away with the Premiership title. One reason why they didn’t rank higher was because they failed to add to their trophy haul, as Arsenal were beaten in the F.A. Cup Semi-Finals by Manchester United, and were eliminated from the Champions League by Chelsea. Arsenal followed up their Unbeaten Season by running their unbeaten streak to 49 (before losing a morale-killing match at Old Trafford), winning the F.A. Cup, and finishing second in the league to Chelsea.

Players: Skipper Patrick Vieira was the heart and soul of the club, cutting an intimidating presence on the pitch while providing creativity on offense. Striker Thierry Henry was the best striker in the Premiership, notching 30 goals in all competitions, while receiving help up front from Dennis Bergkamp. Midfielders Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires were instrumental in the team’s free-flowing attack, as were fullbacks Ashley Cole and Lauren. Arsenal were capable of grinding out defensive victories, as Jens Lehmann had a career year behind capable defenders like Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, and Martin Keown.

Honors: Premiership Title.

Comments (58)

  1. Missed the Busby Babes, thought by many to be one of the all-time great sides. Obviously longevity was a problem for obvious reasons but worth an honourable mention at least.

  2. You forgot completely about RCD Espanyol in the UEFA Cup of 2007.

    I’ll remind you, Espanyol in the 2005/2006 won the kings cup and then saved themselves from relegation in the last 20 secons of the last match of the season. In the 2006/2007 season, they became a very strong team after a while in La Liga and in the UEFA Cup reached the Final in Glasgow being the only team in the history of the competition to reach the final without losing a single match. In the final, Espanyol played valiantly with 10 men most of the match and went down 1-0, but equalized 1-1, and then in the extra time went down once again 2-1 against Sevilla, but some goalkeeping heroics by Gorka Iraizoz kept Espanyol in the match and finally Jonatas who had been going through lots of personal issues equalized 2-2. It came down to the shootout, where 3 of Espanyol’s best players missed penalites giving Sevilla the win.
    Because Espanyol playes in blue and white and in the final played in Glasgow, Espanyol was like the Braveheart team.

    But you being American, I’m sure you had better things to do than watch a measly little club like my Espanyol in a second-rate competition like the UEFA Cup.

  3. Eric, that’s BS, although they did great, they weren’t one of the best teams of all time, not even that year! Although, besides obvious exeptions, I don’t really agree with this list, too many missing teams, even better than the ones mentioned.

  4. Why am I not shocked that not one of the great Italian teams (88-89 AC Milan or 1934-1938 Italian national team) are not on this list! The 1999 Man U team can hardly be considered GREAT-they barely made it past Juve in the Semi-final and the Final was something out of Hollywood. I dare not mention the 1985 Juve team nor the 65-66 Inter Milan teams. And I guess I should forget about the Grande Torino teams of the 40′s that change football to what we call today “The Modern Game”.

  5. this list is a total joke. Be a little more biased against Italian teams. I know you have a right to voice your opinion, but when its so clearly erroneus I cannot fathom how you have a fanbase, or how anyone takes this site seriously.

  6. This is so obviously biased towards English teams it’s not even funny. Indeed: what of Milan 88-89? Or the mid nineties? And Barca in 2005/2006?

  7. really. a load of BS. no milan under arrigo sacchi , or the madrid galacticos up till the sale of makelele. that team absolutely destroyed ManU in the 2003 quarters.and won the cl and the league. and its vava not viva in the 1958 team.

  8. the barca team of 05 06 definately deserves to be in this list and milan in the mid 90s also why is everyone on here so biased to the epl there are other leagues out there that are better then the english league like the spanish and italian leagues

  9. and you know, while I am here.
    what about Sevilla FC?

    2005/2006 UEFA Cup
    2006/2007 UEFA Cup,European Supercup, Spanish Cup, 3rd in La Liga
    2007/2008 Spanish Supercup
    after the death of Puerta, however, Sevilla fell apart and I don’t think have been the same since

  10. Where is Barca’s Dream Team 1992…. and Man U 1999 is not one of the greatest teams …. even Barca 2006 was better than them!!!!

  11. That’s the beauty (or curse – depending on your viewpoint) of these lists. Everyone has their own opinion.

    As for Sevilla, Espanyol, or any of the teams that won the UEFA Cup, I can’t justify putting them in over teams that won the Champions League. Sorry. Champions League is the big prize in Europe, and I’m betting that, as happy as those teams were about winning the UEFA Cup, they would have taken a deep run in the Champions League over that in a heartbeat.

    As for why I didn’t include AC Milan or Barcelona, it’s obvious. I hate Italian and Spanish football and I’m secretly on the Football Association’s payroll.

    Just kidding. This list merely reflects my opinions backed up with some facts. People are more than welcome to make a case for teams that should have been on this list. Simply saying that something is “BS” or a joke without defending your position is a little bit of a cop-out, don’t you think?

  12. > For international teams, it’s World Cup or Bust

    AFAIK France 84 didn’t win the World Cup. They were a good team and a joy to watch but they have no business being on such a list. Especially since 2 years later they lost convincingly against Germany.

    Germany 74 probably should be on the list, considering that they were also same-time european and World Cup holders, like France 98. Besides, there was a lengthy period, cca. 70 – 90, when they consistently were among the best if not the best in the world.

  13. Also, Real Madrid of 98 – 02 definitely deserve more to be there than ManU 99. You may not like the Galacticos but they did win it 3 times in 5 years, something ManU could only dream of. Ignoring this is, well, a joke IMO.

  14. Can’t agree with this regarding the preference of Man U’s treble team to the Barcelona team of 1992 and especially the Milan teams of the late eighties and mid nineties. Both teams had better individual personnel (not to belittle Man Utd’s players, but they couldn’t pass for a world 11 whereas the others came close), which resulted in a higher calibre and aesthetic quality of football and a more sustained and clear dominance against top opposition. Additionally while Manchesters season was an incredible achievement, it could have been very different. Arsenal , the only other good team in the league at the time, could and probably should have wrapped up the league in their penultamate game of the season as well as dumping manchester out of the FA cup in the semi finals. The champions league semi’s and final were also very evenely matched. Although Manchester fully deserved to win the treble the fact was that luck came to the fore, they were not far superior to their rivals. Barcelona and Milan on the other hand were both winning through clearly outplaying and dominating all around them. While thhat isn;t to say they deserved their success any more than Manchester United’s team did, in my view it illustrates a greater level of overall quality.

    Also as a gooner I’m glad and pleasently surprised you put in Arsenal’s achievement in this page thank you. However this is very petty but Vieira had a distinctly average season, Henry was far and away the heartbeat of the team.

  15. Very good post Victor. There will always be people that disagree and as you say that is the beauty of it. Everyone has their opinion, and as well as they think some teams deserve to be over others, you think some deserve to be over those. But all in all I think it was something very interesting and fun to read.

  16. comment #10 is correct
    barcelona should definetly be in this list

    im a barca fan but im goin to say that rmad should be in here too, not jus all those english-speakin teams

    give more credit too the Italian nd Spanish teams ppl!!!!!

  17. United fully deserved to be on this list, and I’m glad they are.

    Although, I do find it kind of ironic that some people mention Barca 05/06. It’s not terribly hard to win a European Cup final if the other side has to play with ten men for 72 minutes of the match, and it’s probably easier if your opponent’s first choice keeper has been sent off.

    Besides, they didn’t win the Copa Del Rey. United won the F.A. Cup.

  18. Thanks Frank. Your words are greatly appreciated.

    As for United, I’m a little surprised at the backlash. If they weren’t so good, then how did they win the Treble? You can chalk some of it up to luck, but if a team as supposedly inferior as United can accomplish the task, then why hasn’t anyone been able to do it since? And no, Liverpool’s “treble” doesn’t count. Most importantly, if teams with “superior talent” (like those Barcelona or Real Madrid teams everyone keeps touting) can’t accomplish what United did, then what does that say about them?

    I’m not saying that those teams weren’t good. In fact, I’m willing to admit that AC Milan should be on this list. When you do as much research as I did for this list, some things slip through the cracks. But United absolutely deserve their spot. Last I checked, matches lasted until the ref blew the whistle, so pulling out a win right before the end is just as good as winning comfortably. Besides, what says more about the quality of a team than their refusal to lose? You can look at fancy highlight reels. You can talk about “beautiful football.” But I’ll take good old-fashioned wins over that stuff.

  19. Come on man you got to put spain (EURO 08) they were awesome.With the likes of Fernando Torres,David Villa,Xavi, Iniesta all of those guys mopped thee floor with all there competition,but other wise great article.

  20. C’mon, the Santos FC team of Pele, Pepe, Coutinho, Zito and other great players was unbeatble between 62 and 63.
    You missed that.

  21. Are you guys idiots? Any team that has Beckham, Giggs, Keane, Scholes, Stam, Schmeichel and Sheringham are not a great team? Thats a classic joke. They won three competitions that year, the Premier League (best league in the world) the FA Cup (Longest running competition in Football) and the Champions League. Yes the CL was a fluke but every great team needs luck. By the way I am not a Man U fan I hate them but they were a great team, it is undeniable. The list itself is a complete joke, if you want to include Barca ’92 you have also got include the magnificent Milan of ’94 who tortured almost that same team 4-0. And what about Bradford City 99/00 they beat Liverpool on the last day of the season to stay in the Premier League, great team. (I’m being sarcastic unlike that idiot Eric who’s “Greatest Team didn’t even win a European competition.)

  22. Have to say that in my opinion the Man United team of 2008 is absolutely unbelievable,Club World Cup and Carling Cup already, Champions League Semi-Final, Premiership all but almost won, and a great run in the F.A. Cup only to be knocked out on penalties after fielding a second string team.
    Great player like Ronaldo,Rooney,Berbatov,Giggs,Scholes,Ferdinand,Vidic,Evra and Van der Sar. Not to mention promising youngsters like Rafael,Macheda,Welbeck,Fabio,Anderson and Ben Foster. Most of the reserves for this team would start on any other premiership team.
    If any team can afford to have players like Tevez on the bench that is just a testament to their quality. And a manager like Fergie…..amazing.

  23. Already pointed out: the Milan team of the 80s and 90s who reached FIVE Champions League finals in seven years (89, 90, 93, 94, 95) and won three, two of them with 4-0 scorelines in the final, for instance the 1994 final against Barcelona’s early nineties dream team. People will always remember the Dutch trio of Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard, who all scored in the previously mentioned CL finals, and legends like Baresi and Maldini.

    Talking about players and teams that people will always remember: it’s ludicrous to exclude the legendary teams that just missed out on lifting the trophy. The great France team of 82/84/86 lost two World Cup semis.
    And teams like Hungary 1954 (Olympic Champions in 1952 and unbeaten for FOUR years, best player Puskas was kicked out of the tournament by eventual winners Germany, who they had trounced 8-3 in the group phase), the total footballing Holland 1974 and last but not least Brazil 1982 will always come up when discussing the greatest teams ever.

    I would be willing to include Spain 08 (just drool over their line up) if Holland hadn’t shone brightest in the group phase and if they had took more of their chances against Germany in the final.

    However everybody has their bias. Don’t get me started on the fabolous Ajax of the mid nineties or the Barcelona teams of 2005/2006 and 2008/2009…

  24. And the United team of 1999? Not sure about that. The years previous and after they were the nearly men, always losing CL semis and quarters, and the miraculous CL final win was just that: miraculous. A treble is no mean feat but they didn’t embarrass the competition with otherwordly football like the teams mentioned in my previous post.
    Didn’t PSV win the treble in 1988 (quadruple if you also count the Euro 88 win with half the PSV squad) however nobody remembers that PSV team.

    However you made your point with your emphasis on trophies rather than the beautiful game.

  25. You must be delusional if any of the Milan teams from 1985-1995 aren’t on here… In fact the Milan team in 1990 was touted as the greatest club team EVER assembled, and you have the nerve to put Liverpool and Manchester United instead??
    Not even going to speak about the honorable mention to Arsenal… wtf? And no Barcelona teams?

  26. Aberdeen team of the late 70s till 1987? Every major honour in Scottish football, a European Cup Winners Cup and a Super Cup, beating a Bayern team with Rumminegge and such, and a Real Madrid team to win the ECWC.

    They deserve to be in here

  27. You also missed out the 1961 Spurs Double winning side.

    The first English club to do the domestic league and cup double beating Everton 10-4 (still a Spurs record standing today) that season. They also retained the FA cup and reached the Semi Final of the European Cup in 1962 and won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1963 with the same squad that won the double in 1961, again the first British club to win a Major European trophy.

    Celtic??? They couldnt hold a torch to Spurs in the 60′s.

    Crazy list!

  28. Where the hell is Milan 1985-1995, Real in the 60s, Hungary in 54 or Holland in 74. This list and this site is a big joke.

  29. I know it’s late but you obviously only know of English football and the basics of world football. Anyone who’d put the lucky treble side of Man U 99 over MILAN 88-90 knows nothing. That is possibly the greatest team ever. Man U were lucky to win the treble. They played mediocre football. Milan destroyed everyone and have actual legends in that team. Hell even Ryan Giggs says it’s the best club team ever.

  30. What about…
    Benfica in the 60′s
    Inter Milan in the 60′s
    Penarol in the 60′s
    Torino in the 40′s (Greater potential than the Busby Babes)
    Hungary in the 50′s
    Milan in the late 80′s early 90′s
    The France team with the famous “Magic Square”
    The Juventus team with Platini and co
    Even the Steau Bucurest team that conquered Europe

    There are so many teams you missed. This list has no crediblity!

  31. By the way Bacelonas 2009 Treble was waaay more impressive than Man U’s. The way which they won the Champions League final was the most convincing since Milan murdered Baca many years ago.

  32. its completely baised towards the english, plus english always have this abilaty to manipulate people, like calling bpl the greatest league in the world and hence leting people beliving it (how can a commentator tell his league is the greatest if he doesn’t follow other league), this list is a joke but more funny is man united on the top, everybody know man united where miles ahead of other english clubs in money and winning blp was nothing special for them and could have won f.a. cup with there reserves also, but most stupid thing you done is not even mentioning the italian teams specially ac milans 1989 team which by uefa was given the greatest team of century.

  33. AC Milan. Without a doubt. Ahead of Bayern, Ajax and even Liverpool and Man Utd.

    I can’t see otherwise.

    Thanks for the list.

  34. The greatest football team ever seen by mankind is Guardiola’s Barcelona period.

  35. winning penalties vs the germans?? gotta be joking mate!

  36. My ranking …

    Current England Team 2010 is the best football team of all time… lol

  37. Definatley a few names missing from that list, but that will never be a team as good as Brazil ’70..go watch the footage on youtube.

  38. I think Everton’s 1984-85 team make a strong case to be included. An unbelievable team that managed to stop Liverpool, possibly the greatest club side in England in their tracks.

    Everton also became the first club ever to reach the 90 point mark in England and completed a League Double over Liverpool who were reigning League and European champions.

    Aswel as strolling to the First division title – winning it with four games to spare, Everton also lifted the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, defeating Bayern Munich quite easily in the semi-final, an FA Cup Final defeat against Manchester United, just three days later denied Everton a trophy treble.

    The European ban on English clubs in 1985 prevented Everton from becoming one of the all-time great club squads and they were never allowed to reach their full potential.

  39. Oh, btw, you said that “Liverpool followed up their success in 1984 by retaining the League Title”

    Erm…no they didn’t, the following year they finished a massive 13 points adrift of Everton and won nothing.

    The list is just biased toward; Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal.

  40. wolverhampton wanderers 1954 beat manu and everyone, “Champions of the World”

  41. What about the Pele’s Santos of the 60s? It was even better than the Steffano’s Real Madrid!

  42. The Barcelona team today could beat all of the teams mentioned. It should definitely be on the list. Only 6 years after the Arsenal that is supposed to be one of the best teams ever, Barcelona destroyed them in CL.

  43. There have been many great football teams in the game’s history but I strongly believe that the current Barcelona team under Guardiola is the strongest ever. This team would beat ANY of the great teams of the past eras, including all the Brazilian national teams who played during the different world cups. I also believe that the great Real Madrid team with Ronaldo , Zidane and Raul would come close to the Barcelona team. These three players were simply the best in the world at that time and can be definitely considered among all time greats. Then this is the great AC Milan of the magic trio Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkard. These three teams are better than ANY national team who played at the World Cup tournaments because they consisted of the best players from many different countries, not just one country.
    On the other hand , Manchester United of 2008 with Rooney , Ronaldo , Tevez , Vidic , Evra would beat the great Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s without much difficulty. Even the Manchester United of 1999 would do that. The English Premier League is considered by many top professional players as the best in the world. And Manchester United is the real king of the EPL.

  44. The best two teams in Europe and the world actually are Barcelona and Manchester United. It does not matter that both teams did not make it to the last CL final , just like they did during the previous edition. Mnachester united were very unlucky against Bayern Munich who did not deserve to go the final. Otherwise they would have probably reached the final and defeated Inter Milan.

  45. you have forgotten HUNGRY 1954 best team
    Holland 1974 to 1978

  46. Puskas, Hidegkuti, Czibor, Boszik and co. Of the mighty Magyars team of 1950-1956? 4 years unbeaten,Olympic champions , 205 goals in 50 games, deserved to be world champions , first team to win at wembely (6-3 ) and gave England their biggest ever international defeat (7-1,Budapest). How are the Hungarians not on this list?

  47. The best club in the world is manchester united and will always be even though they never went to the finals they because of baryen munich who never deserved to reach the final but fact remain they are the best.In world cup 2010 My favourites teams are of course England,Spain,Portugal,Netherlands and Ghana.These are the five best teams in the world.

  48. The AC Milan side under Capello, named the ‘invicibili’ went 58 games unbeaten including an undefeated season in 91-92. They reached the european cup final in 93,94 and 95 (winning in 94). Won the Scudetto 92,93 and 94 at a time when Italy’s Seria A was the absolute stand out league without question. They had probably the greatest defence ever assembled at a club with costacurta, baresi and maldini. They also had panucci and earlier tassotti as well as Desaily who would go on to be one of the best central defenders in the world when he had done with playing midfield. This Capello side was hot on the heels of (and indeed included alot of the same players) the Arrigo Sacchi side that had Gullit, Rikjard and Van Basten in it.

  49. Oh and i agree about Hungary, they should have won that world cup. The pitch was a disgrace, they were nobbled in the final. Doping claims, dodgy ref decisions and they lost to a team they had beaten 8-3 in the opening game (although the German team was 2nd string in that game).

  50. mancheater united all the way best team ever!!! hahaaha rest suck

  51. By the way you said and I quote “For international teams, it’s World Cup or Bust. Sorry 1954 Hungary and 1974 Netherlands.”

    So why are France 84 in there?

    I admit their a great team but then you must surely have to put Hungary and Netherlands in the list as well.

    • “So why are France 84 in there? ”
      Because they won the EC in 84 and were in semi in in 82(should have won) and 86. More over at that time they produced the most attractive and entertaining football. I agreed with you on Hungary 54, Holland1974. What about the AC milan 88-94? W germany 72-74, France 98-2000 and now Spain 08-(10 but you couldnt know at that time)? MU 99 a joke…

  52. I agree with the list but the dutch team of 74-78 definietly needs to be on there !!!

  53. So… I guess this is not a neutral ranking
    The Top3 I think
    1. Brazil 1970
    2. Hungary 1952-54
    3. Germany 1974

  54. What about barcelona 09?!

  55. MILAN AC 1989/90
    Coach: Sacchi
    Galli, Baresi, Maldini, Costacurta, Tassotti, Ancelotti, Donadoni, Evani, Rijkaard, Gullit, Van Basten!!!!!!

  56. what about the dream team,with cryuff as coach.and the barca 09 equad

  57. What about Benfica in the 1960′s, they were a huge european powerhouse back then.