There have been some truly amazing teams which have defined how football has been played. These teams have dominated the beautiful game and have looked almost invincible whenever they have stepped onto the pitch.
Picking the 10 best football teams of all time is no easy task. We have taken into consideration both International and club sides who have won numerous trophies and created an era of domination for their respective countries or clubs.
We take a look at the 10 greatest football teams of all time :
#10 Barcelona (2008-2011)
An old favourite, Pep Guardiola took over as the Barcelona manager in 2008 and what followed for three years mesmerised the footballing audience in Spain and all over the world. The coach embarked on a mission to impose the playing style of the famous Barca youth academy, ‘La Masia’, on the senior team. Here, every attacking player subjugated their personal flamboyance for the sake of the team.
This playing style, known as tiki-taka, was based on the fundamental truth that the opponent cannot score unless he has the ball. Barcelona under Guardiola prided themselves on their ability to pass the ball; even against the best opposition, their diminutive players passed the ball amongst themselves with such lazy elegance and absurd ease that it made the ones chasing the ball look silly.
Anchored by the insufferably dramatic, yet undeniably brilliant Sergio Busquets, their midfield contained two of the greatest masterminds to ever play the game – Andres Iniesta, whose quiet brilliance could spark any game into life, and Xavi Hernandez, whose vision made it appear that he could pass a football through the eye of a needle as easily as through a barn door.
In just three years, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues and two Copa Del Rey titles.
#9 France (1998-2000)
The legendary Zidane proved his class when he masterminded France’s 1998 World Cup triumph and the 2000 Euros triumph. The team was filled with classy players all around with the likes of Vieira, Henry, Thurram and Blanc combining superbly to dominate teams all across Europe and the World.
They beat a wonderful Brazil side in the 1998 World Cup finals and put in a commanding display in the 2000 Euros. French manager Aimi Jacquet unleashed a tactical revolution in 1998 when he started playing without wingers.
The ball was played up to the target man and the main source of goals and creativity came from the wonderful attacking midfield led by the legendary Zidane. They also had a wonderfully solid defence, with players like Blanch and Thurram shutting out opposition attackers.
This France team is considered by many to be one of the greatest squads of all time.
#8 Liverpool (1977-1985)
The great Liverpool sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s dominated football in England and Europe completely. Bill Shankly had made Liverpool one of the best clubs in England, and Bob Paisley took Liverpool to new heights making them one of the greatest teams of all time.
The arrival of Kenny Dalglish in 1977 changed the course of Liverpool history as he became arguably the greatest ever player to don the famous red jersey. The genius of the manager, Bob Paisley was evident as Liverpool produced some of the most excitingly dominant football ever seen, asserting their superiority both domestically and internationally. His assistant manager Joe Fagan took over in ‘83 and ensured the great Liverpool machine didn’t run out of steam.
The team won an astonishing four European Championships, and 5 English Championships. Liverpool have never reached the heady heights of the great squad under Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan again.
#7 Bayern Munich (1974-1976)
Playing Total Football with a decidedly German touch, Bayern built their side around arguably the greatest exponent of Total Football ever – Franz Beckenbauer. There was not a blade of grass on the pitch that the man named Der Kaiser did not utterly dominate.
Paul Breitner, the true multi-purpose footballer, a wrong-footed full-back with a love for mazy dribbles, the great goalkeeper Sepp Maier and the fearsome striking partnership of Gerd Mueller and Uli Hoennes all came together under Beckenbauer’s charismatic leadership to make for an awe-inspiring footballing team.
They played attacking football but with a ruthlessness and pragmatism that was typically German. Up front, Mueller always seemed to be able to contrive a way for the ball to nestle in the back of the net; combine that with the Beckenbauer-marshaled defence that was an impenetrable wall behind which stood one of the greatest goalkeepers of the time, and this was the ultimate winning unit of its era.
Bayern Munich won three consecutive European Championships from 1974-76 and they also dominated the West German league making them one of the greatest football teams of all time.
#6 Ajax Amsterdam (1970-1973)
One of the teams which revolutionised how football was played, the great Ajax side of the 1970s played football the beautiful way. The Ajax dream team was absolutely brilliant. It's undisputed star was the late legendary Johan Cruyff.
Playing a style of football called ‘Total Football’, Ajax played in a fluid, constantly changing style where there was no fixed formation and defenders would turn attackers at a moment’s notice, while attackers became defenders to cover for them. Pioneered by Rinus Michels, the arrival of the Romanian Stefan Kovacs as manager in 1971 took total football and Ajax to new uncharted heights.
The team was full of stars. The amazing Johan Cruyff was well supported by equally talented and great players such as Johan Neeskens , Jeseai Swart and Piet Keizer. The Ajax team of the 1970s created history winning three consecutive European Championships and numerous Eredivisie titles.
The Ajax team’s golden era came to an end with Johan Cruyff’s transfer to Barcelona. Ajax at their best played some of the most attractive football ever seen.
#5 Real Madrid (1955-1960)
The European Cup started in 1955 and this great Real Madrid side incredibly won the first five European Cups consecutively from 1955-1960. Possibly the greatest collection of superstars ever assembled on one side of a football pitch, the original ‘Galacticos’ were the undisputed superstars of their time.
Spearheaded by the unmatched brilliance of one of the greatest players ever Alfredo di Stefano, and filled to the brim throughout this period with the best players in the world – the immortal ‘Galloping Major’ Ferenc Puskas (who joined in 1958 post defection from Soviet occupied Hungary), the inspirational playmaker Raymond Kopa, the legendary winger Francisco Gento and the defensive rock that was Jose Santamaria – Madrid were the most dominant sporting entity in Spain and the whole of Europe.
The crowning moment of this great Real Madrid side came when they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the finals, thus sealing their legacy as one of the greatest football teams ever.
#4 Brazil (1958-1962)
The legendary Brazilian side won two World Cups back to back with absolute legends of the game like Pele, Garrincha and Didi playing key roles in their triumph.
This team won two back-to-back World Cups - in South America and Europe. They had a world class player in almost every position (except perhaps central defence) and is the only team to have included two all-time legends (Pele and Garrincha), who would be the star players of two consecutive world cups.
Their World Cup triumph in 1962 was even more impressive as they acheived that without the injured Pele. Garrincha played a starring role in 1962 mesmerising defences with his mazy runs and dribbles. The team was an absolute joy to watch and the legend of Pele and Garrincha was bron due to their stunning performances during these two World Cups.
#3 AC Milan (1989-1994)
On 20th February 1986, Silvio Berlusconi acquired the club saving it from bankruptcy and investing millions. He then appointed Arrigo Sacchi as the manager. AC Milan’s dominant side started to take shape when they signed Dutch trio Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard.
The Dutch trio complemented the already existing Italian talent such as Maldini, Costacurta , Baresi and Donadoni forming one of the most dominant sides of all time.
Arrigo Saachi revolutionised football by introducing the pressing game, in so doing he oversaw the most successful era of Italian football in Europe. This was continued by his successor Fabio Capello when he moved on to the national team. The team contained the most impressive defence probably ever assembled, a hard-working midfield and flair players up front.
They won three European Championships and three Serie A titles in this period. What made their European victories all the more special was that the competition they faced was at a very high level as other great teams like Cruyff’s dream team at Barcelona.
#2 Brazil (1970)
One of the most entertaining sides to have ever played the game, The 1970 World Cup winning squad of Brazil played some beautiful football. Filled with some legendary stars like Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao, and Rivelino, the team redefined how football was played.
Rather than extolling the virtues of this team in words it is better that you get hold of a DVD or youtube clip and watch this team in action. The goal scored by Carlos Alberto in the World Cup is considered to be one of the best team goals of all time.
Pele the greatest player of all time considered this Brazil side to be the best team to have ever played the game.
This 1970 Brazil team elevated football into an art form. It made people enjoy watching football. This team is one of the main reasons why football is called the beautiful game.
#1 Spain (2008-2012)
Spain ended their 44-year-old wait for a trophy when they won the Euros in 2008. The squad was filled with talent, youth, experience and amazing superstars who helped Spain lift the title without losing a single game in the tournament.
A solitary goal by Fernando Torres in the finals sent the nation into delirium as they overcame Germany 1-0. Luis Aragones and Vicente Del Bosque masterminded this amazing Spain squad. A 2010 World Cup triumph followed the 2008 Euros win and their place in history was sealed when they won the 2012 Euros as well.
The team had world class stars all over the pitch. They had two amazing strikers in David Villa and Fernando Torres, brilliant defenders in Sergio Ramos, Pique and Carles Puyol, one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the game in Iker Casillas and the best midfield of all time consisting of the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso.
They conquered the world playing beautiful football with the midfield pulling the strings. For their extraordinary achievement of three triumphs back to back, Spain (2008-2012) is considered to be the greatest football team of all time.