Who are the greatest football team of all-time?
It’s a hypothetical question that doesn’t have an obvious answer.
Of course, it’s hard to compare sides from completely different eras because the sport has changed so much.
But that won’t stop us all from having an opinion.
And that’s exactly what Spanish outlet Marca have allowed us to do this week. They listed what they believe are the 21 greatest sides of all-time.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and AC Milan all feature and they’ve asked fans to vote on which side they think is the greatest.
And here are the results:
21. Stade Reims (1955/56)
Reims dominated the French league in the 50s and reached the European Cup final in the 1955/56 season, losing to an incredible Real Madrid side 4-3.
20. Hamburg (1978-1983)
With Kevin Keegan in attack, Hamburg won their first ever Bundesliga in the 1978/79 season. It was the start of an incredible five-year era for them. They lost in the final of the European Cup final to Nottingham Forest the following year but won the Bundesliga twice more in the 1981/82 and 1982/83 campaigns. They also claimed the European Cup in that latter season, beating Juventus in the final.
19. Borussia Monchengladbach (1970-1977)
The 70s were very successful for Borussia Monchengladbach, winning the league five times in eight years between 1970 and 1977. In Europe, they won the UEFA Cup twice in that period while they lost the 1976/77 European Cup final to Liverpool.
18. Torino (1942-1949)
The season before World War II, Torino won Serie A. Then, after the war, the Italian side won the next four league titles.
17. Liverpool (1977)
Liverpool have had many incredible sides down the years but perhaps their first European Cup-winning team was the best. Under Bob Paisley, they won the league and beat Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome to lift the European Cup.
16. Inter Milan (1960-1968)
Inter ‘only’ won three Serie A titles in the 60s but they claimed back-to-back European Cups with wins against Real Madrid in the 1963/64 season and Benfica in the 1964/65 season.
15. River Plate (1941-1947)
River Plate’s side in the 40s was known as ‘The Machine’ as they won four Primera Division leagues and three Copa Aldao’s.
14. Nottingham Forest (1978/88)
Like Inter Milan and Benfica, Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest won consecutive European Cups. In the 1978/79 season, they beat Malmo. A year later, as we’ve mentioned, they defeated Hamburg.
13. Benfica (1962)
Benfica won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960/61 and 1961/62 seasons, firstly beating Barcelona and then Real Madrid in the final. The legendary Eusebio led them to that second victory in Amsterdam.
12. Santos (1961-1965)
Pele’s Santos won a record-consecutive five titles from 1961 to 1965. They became the first club in the world to win the continental treble during the 1962 season consisting of the Paulista, Taca Brasil, and the Copa Libertadores.
11. Manchester United (1963-1968)
Ten years after the tragic Munich Air Disaster of 1958, Man Utd became the first English club to win the European Cup after beating Benfica 4-1 in the final at Wembley. With George Best, Bobby Charlton and Brian Kidd under Matt Busby’s tutorage, this United side were incredible.
10. Penarol (1966)
The Uruguayan side won their league title nine times in 11 seasons from 1958-1968. But their greatest achievement was claiming the Copa Liberatores over three matches against River Plate.
9. Bayern Munich (1973-1976)
With the legendary Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern won three consecutive European Cups.
8. Ajax (1970-1973)
Ajax won three consecutive European Cups with the legendary Johan Cruyff upfront. They beat Panathinaikos in 1970/71, Inter in 1971/72 and they completed their hat-trick against Juventus.
7. Real Madrid (1985-1990)
Dubbed La Quinta del Buitre due to having five homegrown Real Madrid players, this side dominated Spanish football between 1985-1990, winning five consecutive La Liga titles. They couldn’t quite do it in Europe, though, as they lost three European Cup semi-finals in a row.
6. Hungary (1953)
Known as the ‘Match of the Century’ the best team in the world, Hungary, travelled to Wembley to play England. Ferenc Puskás’ nation were the world’s number one ranked team, the Olympic champions and on a run of 24 unbeaten games. And they thrashed the Three Lions 6-3.
5. Real Madrid (1955-1960)
Thirty years previously, Real Madrid had no problem conquering Europe. In fact, with Alfredo di Stefano, they won five consecutive European Cups.
4. AC Milan (1988-1994)
Arrigo Sacchi led Milan to the Serie A title in his debut season before winning back-to-back European Cups in 1988/89 and 1989/90. With Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Frank Rijkaard, Carlo Ancelotti, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten in their XI, it was hardly surprising.
3. Red Star Belgrade (1991)
Darko Pancev fired Red Star to European glory as they beat Marseille in the 1990/91 final. They also won three Yugoslav First League titles in four years in that time.
2. Real Madrid (2016-2018)
Under Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid became the first side to win three consecutive Champions Leagues. They only won one La Liga title during that time but Cristiano Ronaldo and co. dominated Europe.
1. Barcelona (2008-2012)
Pep Guardiola’s side are the greatest team of all-time, according to fans. Three consecutive La Liga titles and two Champions League wins – both against Manchester United summed up their success. With Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, Barca were pretty much unbeatable.
- Barcelona have uploaded a compilation of Lionel Messi’s greatest ever assists
- Champions League-winning teams ranked from ‘simply legendary’ to ‘better forgotten’
- Video proves that Juventus legend Andrea Pirlo was ‘immune to pressure’