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

Updated on June 19, 2020
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 men's 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 Story of the Arsenal Invincibles

9. Milan (1988–1994)

During the 6-year period from 1988 to 1994, AC Milan won the European Cup (Champions League) three times and the Italian League four 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 1988 Champions League Semifinals

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.

1984 European Cup: Liverpool Wins on Penalties

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 below 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 '50s 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 the video below).

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 Dramatic Win in the 1999 Champions League Final

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 one of the world's best football managers, 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 Story of Barcelona's Sextuple

2. Brazil (1970)

The 1970 FIFA World Cup saw the greatest World Cup performance of all time. Brazil scored 19 goals in six 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 three 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, the team's notable players include David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso, and Iker Casillas.

Spain's Goals at the 2010 World Cup

Which Is the Best Football Team of All Time?

See results
Juventus F.C.'s 2011–2012 team, the 'Juventus Invincibles', is one of the teams that gets an honorable mention on this list. In this 2011 photo, the team plays Parma in the first competitive match in the Juventus Stadium.
Juventus F.C.'s 2011–2012 team, the 'Juventus Invincibles', is one of the teams that gets an honorable mention on this list. In this 2011 photo, the team plays Parma in the first competitive match in the Juventus Stadium. | Source

Honorable Mentions

The history of the beautiful game is resplendent with iconic teams. However, this list must make some omissions. Honorable mentions go to the following teams:

  • '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)
  • Hungary (1954)

Great Teams Need More Than Star Players

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

      ransford 

      10 days ago

      why madrid lowest

    • profile image

      Donsurelio 

      13 days ago

      How about The late nineties to early 2000s Real side, or the Real side that won 4 champions leagues in 5 years? Unbelievable they are not on the list!

    • profile image

      Elias 

      5 weeks ago

      Brazil 1994-2002 two World Cups

      Ajax 1972-1975

      Brazil 1982

    • profile image

      Shihab 

      6 weeks ago

      Actually Spain 2007-2012 and Barca 2009 is just same.It's Barcelona who won the world cup no Spain

    • profile image

      Edward 

      7 weeks ago

      WTF? BENFICA 61-67? 5 Champions league final in 6 years

    • profile image

      pratyush 

      2 months ago

      Real madrid 2016-18 . didnt mention them but its fine

    • profile image

      juan the man 

      2 months ago

      what about ajax

    • profile image

      fuck every other team 

      2 months ago

      chelsea 04 to 06

    • profile image

      Val 

      2 months ago

      Arsenal????

    • profile image

      TZ 

      2 months ago

      Without a doubt, Barcelona 2009 is the greatest

    • profile image

      Péter 

      2 months ago

      Puskas Hungary

    • profile image

      BENFICA 

      2 months ago

      BENFICAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    • profile image

      Tyty 

      2 months ago

      Real madrid and juve,man city a di best

    • profile image

      Mr.Anonymus 

      3 months ago

      RMFL- Real Madrid for life

    • profile image

      bbvfcv 

      3 months ago

      liverpool best in world

    • profile image

      Aarav 

      3 months ago

      Real Madrid 2014 -2018 is the best team

    • profile image

      Yeet 

      3 months ago

      Man Ciy tis the best no comment

    • profile image

      Lucas 

      3 months ago

      Trent you are right.Where are Liverpool's current team?They are the 3rd best of all time

    • profile image

      Abdulrahman samai 

      3 months ago

      Bercelona is the Best team of all time

    • profile image

      Trent Alexander Arnold 

      3 months ago

      where is Liverpool 2018 to 2020

    • profile image

      Evano 

      3 months ago

      the best team ever is Manchester United

    • profile image

      Brazil when Ronaldo was there 

      4 months ago

      ?? And more

    • profile image

      H. Ludkovic 

      4 months ago

      Where is

      a) Ajax 1971-1973

      b) Hungary 1952-1956

      c) Netherlands 1974-1978

      d) Bayern Munich 2013

      e) Austria 1930-1933 (Wunderteam)

      f) Inter Milan 1964-1965

    • profile image

      Andy 72 

      5 months ago

      Where the heck is the "Bayern München" team from 2013 which wins EVERYTHING in this season, that a team can win. They won the Champions League (one of the victrories was against Barcelona by beating them 7:0 in two games (4:0 and 3:0) !!! Then they also won the German Championship in this year and the German Cup also. WHY THIS TEAM IS HERE NOT MENTIONED AT ALL???? What's going on here? Fanboy of spanish football or english premiere League or what? Totally unfair.

    • profile image

      Tim 

      5 months ago

      I really like real madrid

    • profile image

      Pundit 

      5 months ago

      All of them great teams, but you can't rank that low a team that won 5 European Cups in a row. That's an all-time unbeatable record. No matter how you put it, they had league-winning rivals every year and they beat them all. That is more difficult than winning a sextuple in one year as if your're on the top of your form it's easier to win trophies in the shorter run. But to win them in the long run you need to be truly great. To me that team and Spain 2007-2012 are the top 2. Barcelona comes in close, but Madrid also won 4 Champions League in 5 years which is truly hard to match and that team is not even mentioned here.

    • profile image

      Luis 

      5 months ago

      Barcelona is the best in the World

    • profile image

      Twit 

      5 months ago

      Man U

    • profile image

      lucas evans 

      6 months ago

      liverpool best team ever

    • profile image

      Fc Barcelona is the best and in nationals is spain. 

      6 months ago

      Fc Barcelona is the best team in the world and in national is spain.

    • profile image

      Harold 

      7 months ago

      Arsenal 2004 or spain 2010

    • profile image

      Mahi 

      7 months ago

      Arsenal

    • profile image

      Ian 

      7 months ago

      Glasgow Celtic also went a season unbeaten, won a domestic treble. Probably worth a mention

    • profile image

      die 

      7 months ago

      messi is trash but Liverpool are the best and allways will be salah mane mane and bobby firmino but we sold cothinio

    • profile image

      Brian 

      7 months ago

      Messi is totally the best so that’s why barclona is the best tram.⚽️

    • profile image

      Jonathan 

      7 months ago

      Messi is the best that’s why Barcelona is the best team ever

    • profile image

      Archie 

      8 months ago

      Barcelona is best because lots of amazing players have gone there

    • profile image

      Fidelis peter 

      8 months ago

      Hi for my liverpool fc football club is the best team in the world for now.

    • profile image

      khaled 

      9 months ago

      Where is the 1954's Hungary

    • profile image

      Henrique 

      9 months ago

      You forgot Real madrid

    • profile image

      Alex Pechanik 

      9 months ago

      You forgot about truly The Best Team Ever, which could easily defeat all those mentioned - Dynamo Kiev of 1975 ! They were so good that they were excused from the National Championship of USSR, and turned into USSR National team. They beat virtually all National teams in Europe and South America.

      No team on your list even comes close.

    • profile image

      Ahmed_CR7 

      9 months ago

      I think any team that Cristiano Ronaldo is in that team is the best

    • profile image

      raven 

      9 months ago

      Bayern is best

    • profile image

      AHTSHAM ZAHEER 

      10 months ago

      Football is a team game. Yes! individual talent of players does matter, yet most important factor in the success and performance consistency of the team is The Manager/ Couch..... the Architect. For all great Football teams of the history from Italian National Team of 1930s to the Guardiola's Barcelona and the Spain National Team of 2008-2012.....the credit goes to the respective Managers/ Coaches.

    • profile image

      Fadiga 

      10 months ago

      Manchester united is the best.

    • profile image

      johan 

      10 months ago

      2011 barca was the greatest team of all time

    • profile image

      Alfieri Francesco Solari 

      10 months ago

      Real Madrid 2016,2017,2018

      3 consecutive champions league with Zinedine Zidane (owns 13 European cups and the trophy for the best team of the twentieth century)

    • profile image

      Junior 

      10 months ago

      Barca is the best

    • profile image

      bbd 

      11 months ago

      real madrid three champions leagues in a row #1

    • profile image

      Haru 

      11 months ago

      whoever said about Pele deserved a smack. They dont even have any offside when Pele used to play.

    • profile image

      João Fernando L. De Souza 

      11 months ago

      Spain better than 70's Brazil? Is that a joke?

    • profile image

      Where is Ajax 1971-1973? 

      11 months ago

      where is Ajax 71-73? Shaud the world how to play futboll.

    • profile image

      Mahan 

      12 months ago

      Real madrid 2016-2017

    • profile image

      Torquato 

      12 months ago

      Santos FC with Pele and Co.

    • profile image

      Aguero 

      12 months ago

      Manchester city under Pep

    • profile image

      Vorstrug 

      12 months ago

      Liverpool best in the vorld

    • profile image

      Shagger 

      13 months ago

      Celtic 66-67

    • profile image

      sohumKamat :) 

      13 months ago

      spain and barcelona are both great

    • profile image

      Rui Rosa 

      13 months ago

      Benfica. Two time Champions League Winner has to be in this poll, has one of the best ever. Eusébio was in the team in 1961.

      1960–61 Benfica 3–2 Barcelona

      1961–62 Benfica 5–3 Real Madrid

    • profile image

      @remco 

      13 months ago

      And ajax 95/96 won everything and had the best team

    • profile image

      Vaughn K 

      14 months ago

      Your super team couldn't consistently score goals--2010 World Cup--almost every win was 1-0; only game where it mattered was when they they won 4-0 against Italy--2012 --1970 Brazil team , 2002,1958(even 1982 team which lost 3-2 to Italy)--better teams than Spain

    • profile image

      Owen Evans 

      14 months ago

      Swansea City deserve to be up there after they battered Cardiff at the Liberty (Best stadium in the world) 3-0. IN THE CARDIFF SLUMS

    • profile image

      Remco 

      14 months ago

      I'm sorry but Ajax sits at 72 I believe, where is the dutch side?

    • profile image

      Billy 

      14 months ago

      Why is juventus not on the list

    • profile image

      U will never know 

      14 months ago

      Where is Juventus

    • profile image

      Zack 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Mark 

      14 months 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 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Franco 

      14 months 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 

      14 months ago

      Ac milan 2003 is deadly

    • profile image

      Ngash 

      14 months 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 

      14 months ago

      Man City

    • profile image

      Mohamed Barakat 

      14 months 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 

      14 months 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 

      14 months ago

      Club: FC Barcelona

      Country: Brazil

    • profile image

      Eliza devine 

      14 months ago

      I think Chelsea are the best

    • profile image

      Cristian 

      14 months 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 

      15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      sim 

      15 months ago

      tothenam hotspur

    • profile image

      Brad 

      15 months ago

      Bayern Quadruple in 2012-13?

    • profile image

      Yuri 

      15 months ago

      São Paulo 2005

    • profile image

      JEFF 

      15 months ago

      AJAX

    • profile image

      john 

      15 months ago

      Manchester united is the best of all time

    • profile image

      rhys 

      15 months ago

      liverpool

    • profile image

      Costanzo Scala 

      15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      saxsoccer 

      15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Mario 

      15 months ago

      MSN Barcelona not on the list lol

    • profile image

      duh 

      15 months ago

      cardiff city fc, obviously

    • profile image

      nad 

      15 months ago

      man city is the best

    • profile image

      Taylor 

      15 months ago

      Are we just going to forget 2002 Brazil national team

    • profile image

      tura 

      16 months ago

      Liverpool the best

    • profile image

      Yoel 

      16 months ago

      i am sure that NEYMAR will win the world cup

    • profile image

      samuel 

      16 months ago

      manchester united

    • profile image

      AyAyRon 

      16 months 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 

      16 months ago

      Chelsea f.c

    • profile image

      Lola 

      17 months ago

      Manchester united

    • profile image

      LordOfPigs 

      18 months ago

      Manchester City

    • profile image

      Alpha 

      18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      adsf 

      18 months ago

      AC Milan 2002-2008

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

    • profile image

      kvz 

      18 months ago

      Holland 1974 was pure magic, wasn't it?

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