The Top 10 Best Football (Soccer) Teams of All Time

Updated on March 28, 2019
Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan has been an avid fan of the English Premier League and European football for more than 20 years.

Can anyone match Spain as the greatest team ever?
Can anyone match Spain as the greatest team ever? | Source

What makes a great football team?

The history of football is replete with teams that have demonstrated the verve and artistry of the beautiful game. Since the turn of the twentieth century, many European and South American football teams have emerged from obscurity to dominate their respective eras. At the same time, the sport has evolved to encompass a greater array of skills and a higher degree of fitness.

The best football teams need to have won at least one trophy. They need to have played attractive but effective football in a climate of high technical standards. Most importantly, they need to have endured an era of stiff competition and intense rivalry.

Presented here are the ten best football teams that meet those criteria. They are chosen from the entire history of international and club football. To justify the selection, I have endeavored to find the best Youtube videos showcasing their abilities.

10. Arsenal (2004)

The 'Arsenal Invincibles' went through the entire 2003–04 Premier League season unbeaten. Despite Juventus equaling this feat in 2012, Arsenal won far more of their games, finishing on 90 points. The team included Theirry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires. Arsenal's swift, attacking style of football destroyed the opposition, taking them to the league title in emphatic fashion. Their 49-game unbeaten record led to them being declared the Premier League's best ever team.

The Arsenal Invincible Team (and Best Goals)

9. Milan (1988–1994)

During this 6-year period, AC Milan won the European Cup (Champions League) 3 times and the Italian League 4 times. They dominated European football thanks to a team of world-class players, including Paolo Maldini, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Franco Baresi.

Milan in the 1989 European Cup Final

8. Liverpool (1984)

The treble-winning Liverpool team of 1984 won the league, a domestic cup, and the European Cup (Champions League) in the same year. They beat Roma in the final of the latter on penalties. Star man, Ian Rush, netted 47 goals in the season. Other notable players were Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, and Alan Hansen.

Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup Final

7. West Germany (1972–1974)

The German team that won the 1972 European Championships and the 1974 World Cup featured some of the best football players of all time. Led notably by Franz Beckenbauer, the team also included Berti Vogts and their prolific striker, Gerd Müller. They denied Johan Cruyff's famous 'total football' Netherlands team with a 2-1 victory in the final of the 1974 World Cup. The video shows the highlights from this epic final.

Germany in the 1974 World Cup Final

6. France (1998–2000)

France won the 1998 World Cup, beating hot favorites Brazil 3-0 in the final. They then won the 2000 European Championships, defeating Italy 2-1 with a golden goal from David Trezeguet. Other notable players in the team were Theirry Henry, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Lauren Blanc and Lilian Thuram. They had world class players in every position, although Zidane was instrumental in their success.

France in the 1998 World Cup Final

5. Real Madrid (1955–1960)

Led by Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskas, the Real Madrid team of the late 50's dominated world football. They won the European Cup (Champions league) five times in a row from 1956 to 1960. This culminated in the 1960 final when they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in one of the greatest footballing displays of all time (see video).

Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup Final

4. Manchester United (1999)

The treble-winning Manchester United team of 1998-99 won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in a single season. It included greats such as Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichal. Like many of Alex Ferguson's teams, they fought until the last whistle, and this was demonstrated in no greater way than the 1999 Champions League final. Against Bayern Munich, they came from behind to win with two late goals from Sheringham and Solskjær.

Manchester United's Greatest Comeback

3. Barcelona (2009)

Ten years after Manchester United's achievement, Barcelona won the first ever treble by a Spanish club. They beat United in the final of the Champions League 2-0, destroyed Real Madrid 6-2 to win La Liga, and also won the Copa Del Rey. This season saw the emergence of Lionel Messi as the best player in the world. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Messi more than doubled his tally from the previous campaign. Barcelona's tiki-taka style of play ensured they also won the domestic and UEFA Super Cups, and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009, turning their treble into a `sextuple'.

The Best of Barcelona in 2009

2. Brazil (1970)

The 1970 FIFA World Cup saw the greatest World Cup performance of all time. Brazil scored 19 goals in 6 games, culminating in a 4-1 thrashing of Italy in a final where Carlos Alberto scored one of the best goals of all time. Also contributing to their beautiful brand of attacking football were greats such as Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Tostão.

Brazil in the 1970 World Cup

1. Spain (2007–2012)

For winning 3 successive international football tournaments, the best football team of all time has to be Spain. They won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Between 2007 and 2009 they went 35 games unbeaten. This included winning all ten of their 2010 World Cup qualification games. Formed almost exclusively from the Barcelona and Real Madrid teams, notable players include David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso, and Iker Casillas.

Spain Goals at the 2010 World Cup

Which is the best football team of all time?

See results

A History of Great Teams

The history of the beautiful game is resplendent with iconic teams. However, this list must make some omissions. Honorable mentions go to the 'Juventus Invincibles' for their unbeaten 2011–2012 season, Argentina's 1986 World Cup winning team, the 1972 and 1995 Ajax teams, Juventus (1996), Dortmund (1997), Benfica (1960–1965), Brazil (1994–2002), England (1966), Italy (1934–1938), and Hungary (1954).

The best football teams do not necessarily have the most talented players. Team spirit, leadership, and a willingness to work together to achieve victory are just as important as raw skill. A recent example of this phenomenon is Argentina. They are unable to dominate world football despite the influence of Lionel Messi. Thanks for reading and watching this video compilation.

© 2013 Thomas Swan

Comments

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    • profile image

      Zack 

      8 hours ago

      Barca was unstoppable with Messi, Ronaldinho, Eto, Iniesta, and Xavi

    • profile image

      Mark 

      20 hours ago

      The treble winning team Inter Milan... under Mourinho (zanetti and codoba)

      Greece winning the European Championship (won all the favourites & twice the home nation Portugal

    • profile image

      Michael 

      20 hours ago

      Celtic FC has just won their 9th domestic trophy in a row, how can they nkt be up there

    • profile image

      Franco 

      28 hours ago

      First of all I don’t like mixing Club team and National World Cup teams but if you mention National World Cup team then Italy’s 1982 team is one of the best.

      They beat

      Argentina

      Brazil” The Favorites”

      Poland

      Germany

      No other World Cup team has ever done this.

    • profile image

      Rohith reddy 

      43 hours ago

      Ac milan 2003 is deadly

    • profile image

      Ngash 

      3 days ago

      Country: 1. Spain

      2. Brazil

      3. France

      4. Germany

      5. Argentina

      Club: 1. Barcelona

      2. Manchester United

      3. Real Madrid

      4. Juventus

      5. Bayern Munich

    • profile image

      Yeet 

      4 days ago

      Man City

    • profile image

      Mohamed Barakat 

      4 days ago

      You must be joking. You didn’t even put The Real Madrid team(2016-2018)that were the only team in history to win 3 consecutive champions leagues?

    • profile image

      Boi 

      5 days ago

      You said barca 2009 but this team wasn't just a one year glory they won in 2011 la liga copa del Rey and champions and in 2010 la liga and copa del Rey so you need to change this i think barca and spain should be in top before brazil 1970

    • profile image

      Adyant Chelluka 

      6 days ago

      Club: FC Barcelona

      Country: Brazil

    • profile image

      Eliza devine 

      6 days ago

      I think Chelsea are the best

    • profile image

      Cristian 

      6 days ago

      Velez Sarsfield from Argentina in the 90´s the team of Jose Luis Chilavert, it was the best team I ever have seen.

    • profile image

      Ja boy 

      9 days ago

      Good list though,but where is puskas hungray and germany 2014-2016

    • profile image

      sim 

      13 days ago

      tothenam hotspur

    • profile image

      Brad 

      2 weeks ago

      Bayern Quadruple in 2012-13?

    • profile image

      Yuri 

      2 weeks ago

      São Paulo 2005

    • profile image

      JEFF 

      3 weeks ago

      AJAX

    • profile image

      john 

      3 weeks ago

      Manchester united is the best of all time

    • profile image

      rhys 

      3 weeks ago

      liverpool

    • profile image

      Costanzo Scala 

      3 weeks ago

      are you a comic? ridicolous list....United better than AC Milan and Ajax/ Holland ? you must be joking

    • profile image

      saxsoccer 

      3 weeks ago

      Enjoying the game of soccer in Zambia. send me the top 10 soccer clubs in the world.

    • profile image

      Mario 

      3 weeks ago

      MSN Barcelona not on the list lol

    • profile image

      duh 

      3 weeks ago

      cardiff city fc, obviously

    • profile image

      nad 

      5 weeks ago

      man city is the best

    • profile image

      Taylor 

      5 weeks ago

      Are we just going to forget 2002 Brazil national team

    • profile image

      tura 

      5 weeks ago

      Liverpool the best

    • profile image

      Yoel 

      6 weeks ago

      i am sure that NEYMAR will win the world cup

    • profile image

      samuel 

      7 weeks ago

      manchester united

    • profile image

      AyAyRon 

      7 weeks ago

      Fc Barcelona is always consistent! Sure Real Madrid is a superb team but they are dropping(cause their manager left) But they'll still be respected!

    • profile image

      Emmanuel favour 

      2 months ago

      Chelsea f.c

    • profile image

      Lola 

      2 months ago

      Manchester united

    • profile image

      LordOfPigs 

      3 months ago

      Manchester City

    • profile image

      Alpha 

      3 months ago

      Real Madrid 2016 to 2018 theree champion league in a row.

    • profile image

      adsf 

      3 months ago

      AC Milan 2002-2008

      Absolutely dominated everyone with Maldini, Crespo, Shevchenko, Pirlo, Kaka, Nesta, Gattuso and many more

    • profile image

      kvz 

      4 months ago

      Holland 1974 was pure magic, wasn't it?

    • profile image

      elwih 

      4 months ago

      Juventus or Italy 1982

    • profile image

      Robert Steinhagen 

      4 months ago

      Never forget how German national teams from many many different years are very great. Look at World Cup history. The Deutschland Eagles are very consistent in international play.

    • profile image

      HOWIE 

      4 months ago

      LIVERPOOL IS THE BEST MAN

    • profile image

      Nino 

      4 months ago

      Not Milan they haven’t played good

    • profile image

      DJ Hurst 

      5 months ago

      France's 98 team weren't that great. Brazil played like a Sunday league team because they'd been bribed.

    • profile image

      Frans 

      5 months ago

      No Ajax 1971-1973? three EC1?

      No Ajax 1995?

      No Holland 1974?

      Its just not right.

    • profile image

      RL9 

      5 months ago

      As for me the three best teams in the world are Bayern munchen , real Madrid and liverpool

    • profile image

      RL9 

      5 months ago

      for me lewandowski is the best

    • profile image

      pp 

      5 months ago

      pp clan

    • profile image

      Santan 

      6 months ago

      It says best team not best club lol

    • profile image

      Sayantan 

      7 months ago

      4 me cr7 is d best

      In all categories

    • profile image

      Loelo Quintero 

      7 months ago

      Where the hell is Manchester City of 2017/2018, those guys set new records in the premier league. It is not mentioned even in your so-called "honourable mentions" list.

    • profile image

      brad 

      8 months ago

      accrington stanley not making the list? pathetic. look at their 2002 squad. unbeatable mate (#PROMOTED)

    • profile image

      Max 

      8 months ago

      Leicester city when they won the league are surely in the top ten, the odds of these other 10 teams would of been much less.

    • profile image

      Sylvester Jah 

      9 months ago

      Real Madrid Is The Best

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      9 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Of all the teams on this list, the only one I've seen live are the Arsenal team from 2004. I saw them tear my Birmingham City team apart at St Andrews. They were a joy to watch and although we actually played quite well I remember quietly applauding Freddie Ljungberg's goal. One of the rare occasions that I've done that.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      I still look back to the successful teams in Europe of my youth, Leeds United, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Although i was a little changeable in who I supported. Usually whoever was doing best. There wasn't a lot to cheer about with the local team, Bolton Wanderers. Those were the days when European cup football was on 'free to air' tv.

    • profile image

      Abi  

      9 months ago

      Man United and Barcelona are the best and I was at Barcelon‘s football Stadium stadium last Thursday it was so good

    • profile image

      Zico 

      10 months ago

      Where is Santos of Pele?

      Where is Ajax?

      Where is Boca 98-2007

      Where is São Paulo 92-93?

      Where is Netherlands 1974?

      Arsenal 2004? What did Arsenal in 2004? They had a good team and ONLY

    • profile image

      Ben Benington 

      10 months ago

      Ummmm where is Puskas' Golden Team?

    • profile image

      Franklin 

      10 months ago

      Man united is still the best

    • profile image

      Shiv Saxena 

      11 months ago

      Barcelona is the best.

    • profile image

      ABU A. KAMARA 

      12 months ago

      Real Madrid Will Be Best Team In The World ever

    • profile image

      Charlie Hutton 

      12 months ago

      Arsenal are the best

    • profile image

      OLAOSUN ISMAEL OLATUNJI 

      12 months ago

      Real Madrid, will become the greatest of all come this Saturday by beating Liverpool in all aggressive match

    • profile image

      Jonny 

      12 months ago

      How did Liverpool make this list?

    • profile image

      Footballfan72 

      12 months ago

      Hmm, no Ajax and no Bayern, strange list...

    • profile image

      Chelsea F.C 

      12 months ago

      Excuse me, may I please ask- where is Chelsea Football Club on these ratings?

    • profile image

      newpakjobs 

      13 months ago

      Wow in past there were awesome players. i enjoyed this post

    • profile image

      SPAIN 

      13 months ago

      Number 1 team is spain.

    • profile image

      rropsh 

      13 months ago

      haha no juventus... retired team

    • profile image

      Nino 

      13 months ago

      No Ajax 1972 1995... no Holland 1974 haha this is a joke

    • profile image

      Andy 

      14 months ago

      barcelona 2011 definitely best squad to ever play football, yes they're lose 1 or 2 matches but the way they play is just humiliating the opponent, no mercy.

    • profile image

      spidey 

      15 months ago

      barcelona is the greatest football team in the world but psg, manchester city, tottenham hotspur and real madrid are also doing good this season.

    • profile image

      Rohan 

      15 months ago

      where is bayern munich?

    • profile image

      mark scicluna 

      15 months ago

      Juventus is the best

    • profile image

      john doe 

      15 months ago

      hungary have the besdt team ever, check out their teams in 1950-1956

    • profile image

      David 

      16 months ago

      Ever heard of Total football? Who influenced the style of play of Barcelona and Spanish National Team? Who won European Cup three consecutive years without conceding a goal?

      Shame on you for not having this team on your list

    • profile image

      Football 

      16 months ago

      I think Gardiola's Barca and Sachi's Milan are the two best teams of all times.

    • profile image

      Saverio 

      16 months ago

      According to FourFourTwo Milan 1987-91 is the third best team ever, behind only Ajax 65-73 and Brazil '70.

    • profile image

      Jack 

      16 months ago

      The best team is arsenal

    • profile image

      Jon 

      16 months ago

      The best team in history is Barcelona 2010-11

    • profile image

      Divya 

      16 months ago

      The bestest football team is Barcelona but there's a draw between Real Madrid and Manchester United and I don't want hate because it's my OPINION!

    • profile image

      Mamad 

      16 months ago

      I think non of these teams can even get close to man city with pep...

      They play like gods...

    • profile image

      ajax ultras 

      17 months ago

      what about ajax amsterdam of the 1970s

    • profile image

      highlightsfootball 

      17 months ago

      What about 60's Benfica?

    • profile image

      beru addis 

      17 months ago

      barcelona is best for all time

    • profile image

      Cool 

      17 months ago

      Real Madrid 2016-17?

      La Liga

      Champions League

      Club World Cup

      40 games unbeaten

      5 Players in World 11

      World Player of the year

      Coach of the year

      and much more

    • profile image

      Alino 

      18 months ago

      Cameroon of 1990 with Mila, 2000 - 2002 the dream team...

      Nigeria 1994 -2000 with Jay-Jay the artist

    • profile image

      Kyle Christ 

      19 months ago

      Wheres rangers? They have more trophies than every team in thid list search it up its true fact

    • profile image

      Diogo David 

      20 months ago

      FC Porto?

      club that won most of the Primeira Liga seasons?

      =FCP - 9

      =SLB - 6

      =SCP - 2

      the only one wih the Penta?

      the only one with 2 Champions League?

      the oldest of the 3Grandes? (1893 - 1906 - 1908)

    • profile image

      Johncreek 

      20 months ago

      For what it may worth I still think spain remain the World favorite.

    • profile image

      Joseph Flanagan 

      21 months ago

      Ajax?

    • profile image

      Mister D. 

      23 months ago

      Well, scratch Manu and add Ajax. Germany 72 is as good as Brazil 70. S0: 1: Spain, 2: Brazil and Germany. 4: Barcelona. 5: RM

    • profile image

      Benfiquista 

      23 months ago

      What about 60's Benfica?

    • profile image

      Ru 

      2 years ago

      To be honest, this strikes me as heavily biased in favour of English teams. 70s Ajax definitely deserve to be here. And 1970s Bayern. And Juventus 83-85. Arsenal and Man U have no place in this list in my opinion.

    • profile image

      KOBE 

      2 years ago

      Where are the Galacticos huh....

    • profile image

      Paul 

      2 years ago

      Celtic 67 Lisbon lions should be on this list team win everything that season and also first team from Britain to win the European cup with a team that all lived in close proximity to Celtic park

    • profile image

      Alan Pessanha. 

      2 years ago

      Boca Junior, River Plate, Sao Paulo, Santos.There is football in South America.

    • profile image

      4ik4irik 

      2 years ago

      After watching brazil 70 goals that team is probably the best. That was brutal! Now I can understand why you put Spain as 1, but although their achievements, that Brazilian team is just amazing. Every single goal was great. They have speed,dribbling, long balls,short passes, passes behind the defense line, low ground unstoppable shots, pele's head ball control, determination when finishing the attack.

    • profile image

      Andre 

      2 years ago

      You lack some footbal knowlegde when the best team of all Ajax is not mentioned

    • profile image

      Name 

      2 years ago

      Spain 1st, wtaf

    • profile image

      Mako 

      2 years ago

      What about Die mannschaft now?

    • profile image

      Md Naimul Islam Rahat 

      2 years ago

      Where is Puskas' Hungary????

    • profile image

      Texs 

      3 years ago

      Barca 2009 For Sure

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