Barcelona, Lyon, USWNT: Top 10 women's football teams of all time ranked

Barcelona Women

Barcelona thrashed Arsenal 4-1 on Tuesday night to kick off their Women’s Champions League title defence in perfect fashion.

Arsenal had been flying under new manager Jonas Eidevall this season and entered last night’s game on the back of nine straight victories.

Yet they were humbled by the European Champions, who played scintillating football throughout and could well have had more goals than the scoreline suggests.

Mariona Caldentey’s rebounded finish put the Catalonian side 1-0 up on the half-hour mark, before Alexia Putellas steered home former Gunners player Asisat Oshoala’s cutback just before half-time.

Oshoala added a third after the restart before Frida Maanum restored a hint of pride for the away side. Dutch star Lieke Martens then made it four to round off an emphatic win.

ENTER GIVEAWAY

ENTER GIVEAWAY

Many on social media were quick to praise Barca’s dominance, with some even suggesting the women’s side could beat the men’s team –– who are struggling for form in La Liga at the moment.

One user wrote on Twitter: “This current Barcelona women's team will easily beat the current Barcelona and arsenal men's team with a clean sheet.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal fans appeared shocked at the impressiveness of the Spanish side.

“I never knew Barcelona Women were this good. I honestly thought we were like the best,” said one fan.

But where do Barcelona rank in terms of women’s football’s best ever sides? We’ve come up with our top 10 teams from over the years to see how they compare:

10. Netherlands (2017)

The Netherlands victory at the 2017 UEFA European Women’s Championship was mightily impressive –– not least because it ended Germany’s seemingly irrepressible wave of dominance.

Coached by Sarina Wiegman, who is now in charge of the Lionesses, the tournament hosts won every game –– including a 4-2 victory over Denmark in the final.

The squad boasted superstar names including Vivianne Miedema and Daniëlle van de Donk, while Barcelona forward Lieke Martens also announced herself on the world stage and was voted the Player of the Tournament.


9. Chelsea (2020- present)

Chelsea were comprehensively beaten by Barcelona in the final of the Women’s Champions League last year, but Emma Hayes’ side are still on course to win the domestic treble, should they win the FA Cup.

The Blues lost just one game all of last season in the Women’s Super League and romped to a 6-0 victory against Bristol City to win the FA WSL Cup.

Hayes’ team also have one of the most impressive attacks in the world, with Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder all among the best players in the world.

Chelsea Women

8. Wolfsburg (2012-2013)

Bayern Munich may be dominating women’s football in Germany at the moment, but it’s Wolfsburg who were on top for much of the previous decade.

The club has won six Frauen-Bundesliga titles in the last 10 years, though their most successful season came in 2012-13, when they won the league, domestic cup and the Champions League.

The side back then was stacked with German internationals, most notably Alexandra Popp, who captains the national team to this day.


7. Umeå IK (2003-2004)

The Swedish side were one of the most successful clubs in the world in the early 2000s, winning seven Swedish championships between 2000 and 2008.

They also won the Women’s Champions League twice, back-to-back, in 2003 and 2004 –– reaching the final on three other occasions.

A number of Swedish stars played for the club, but the most notable former player is Brazilian icon Marta, who scored 111 goals in just 103 games for the club.

Sadly, the club fortunes have faltered and the team were relegated to the second tier of women’s football in Sweden last year.

Umeå IK

6. Frankfurt (2001-02)

Another incredibly successful German side are Eintracht Frankfurt, who dominated the early 2000s both domestically and on the European stage.

With four Champions League titles in total, the club are second on the all-time list –– trailing to Lyon.

In the 2001-02 season, Frankfurt completed the league, cup and European treble –– the only time it has done so in its history.

They were led by the impressive German, Birgit Prinz, upfront. The German striker is a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and scored more than 400 goals for club and country across her career.


5. Arsenal (2006-07)

Some Gunners have suggested this year’s squad is one of the best in recent memory, but the team of 2006-07 still remains the most iconic.

Having dominated the English domestic league throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, this was the season the side finally won European silverware.

The final was played over two legs back then and Arsenal beat Umeå IK 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a first-leg stoppage-time winner from Alex Scott.

Other renowned Lionesses were also part of the squad, including Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Rachel Yankey.

Alex Scott

4. Germany (2001-2009)

The German women’s national team are one of the most successful in international history and are the only nation to have won both the women’s and men’s World Cup.

Having won eight of the twelve European Championships and Olympic gold in 2016, their most successful spell came between 2001 and 2009, where they won three consecutive Euros and back-to-back World Cups.

The aforementioned Fritz was fundamental to this success, scoring 128 goals in 214 caps, while the likes of Kerstin Stegemann and Ariane Hingst were also ever-present during this golden generation.


3. Barcelona (2020-present)

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how good Barcelona are right now. The side has long been the most successful side in Spanish history, but are now the best club in the world.

Last season, the side not only won the Champions League but also ran riot in the Primera División –– winning 33 of their 34 games, scoring 167 goals and conceding just 15.

Their style of football is also unlike any other women’s side ever seen. The unrelenting press, combined with their fluid, possession-based, attacking football draws comparison with Pep Guardiola’s iconic men’s side from the late 2000s.

To become the best side in women’s football history, they must add more European silverware to their trophy cabinet, but the side are undoubtedly favourites to retain their title this year.

Barca

2. Lyon (2015-2020)

Olympique Lyonnais are the most successful side in European history and are commonly regarded as the best club in women’s football history.

The team have seven Champions League titles in total –– five of which came in succession between 2015 and 2020.

They also won 14 consecutive domestic league titles between 2007 and 2020.

Lyon’s model has been cited as a model for the development of women’s football in both economic and cultural terms.

The side failed to win any trophies last season, but are top of the French League at the moment, having won five from five.


1. US Women’s National Team (2015-2019)

The USA has long been the most successful team in international women’s football and have won four Women’s World Cup titles.

Two of these came back-to-back in 2015 and 2019, with the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd all an integral part of this success.

Aside from their international team, the US also boast the most prestigious domestic league in the world – the National Women’s Super League. It regularly attracts the best players from all across the globe and all teams are generally competitive.

USWNT
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