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5 Greatest UEFA Champions League teams of all time

Sai Teja
Modified 24 Aug 2020, 19:39 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

#3 AC Milan | 2006/07

AC Milan celebrate after winning their sixth UCL crown
AC Milan celebrate after winning their sixth UCL crown

Carlo Ancelotti's legendary AC Milan side in the mid-2000s was one of the greatest teams in the competition at the time. The Italians' squad was littered with superstars such as the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Maldini, Filippo Inzaghi, and future Ballon d'Or winner Kaka. They reached the final in 2005 only to suffer heartbreak in the showpiece event at Istanbul which saw Liverpool winning the title after a dramatic comeback.

The Rossoneri reached the final again just two years later, and were up against the same opposition who denied them European glory in 2005. However, Milan, despite their relatively poor league campaign, were at their devastating best in the 2006/07 UCL. The Italian coach's job was on the line as well, after a string of questionable results in the opening few months of the campaign.

Ancelotti's men registered several memorable wins including a breathtaking 5-3 aggregate victory over Manchester United, including a Kaka hat-trick at Old Trafford in the semi-finals. Milan also recorded a superb 2-0 win against Bayern Munich away at the Allianz Arena en-route the final in Athens. Inzaghi scored a typical poacher's brace in the final on either side of half-time so fire AC Milan to their seventh UCL title, and last one to date.

#2 Real Madrid | 2017/18

Real Madrid won their third UCL in as many years
Real Madrid won their third UCL in as many years

Real Madrid created history in 2016/17 season when they won their first continental double since 1958, and became the first team in the UCL era to retain their European crown. Just when the world thought that this Real side reached their peak, particularly after their disappointing league campaign — having ultimately ended the season a whopping 16 points behind Barcelona — they conquered Europe for the third time in three years.


While there was a sense of criticism surrounding both their style of play as well as the fact that they faced relatively more comfortable runs to the final in previous years. However, despite their woes in LaLiga Santander, Real Madrid turned up the heat for the knockout rounds of the competition and recorded scintillating victories against elite opposition teams.

Los Blancos faced PSG, Juventus, and Bayern Munich — the domestic champions of France, Italy and Germany — to reach the final against Liverpool. They won the ties with aggregate scores of 5-2, 4-3, and 4-3 respectively.

The final saw them face Jurgen Klopp's men, during which Gareth Bale came on to score one of the greatest goals in UCL history in Kyiv to give the Blancos the lead. Bale scored again to record a 3-1 win against Liverpool as Real lifted their 13th UCL title.

#1 Barcelona | 2008/09

Lionel Messi scored for Barcelona in the UCL final against Manchester United
Lionel Messi scored for Barcelona in the UCL final against Manchester United

Widely regarded as one of the greatest sides in football history, Pep Guardiola's debut campaign as Barcelona's manager remains one of the most illustrious seasons any club has enjoyed. The Catalan revamped the very fabric of Barcelona's approach to the game since the turn of the century and built one of the most devastating sides in football.

A young Lionel Messi had a huge part to play in this side as one of the most breathtaking teenagers that football had ever witnessed. Messi scored a total of 38 goals in 51 games for the side and ended as the leading scorer for the club en route their first-ever treble. He was also instrumental in the UCL, scoring nine goals in 12 games which is at least three more than the next highest scorer.


The Blaugrana were tasked with overcoming the likes of Bayern Munich, Olympique Lyon, and Chelsea on their way to the final in Rome. Their win against the Blues was surrounded by a lot of controversy due to some very questionable decisions in the second leg of the tie.

However, they scraped past them on away goals to reach the final where they played Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United off the park. Barcelona's top scorers Messi and Samuel Eto'o got on the scoresheet to lift the CL trophy at the Red Devils' expense, capping off a monumental season in the history of the club. They played football at its finest and ripped apart opposition teams for fun.

Also read: 5 Most baffling transfers conducted by Barcelona

Published 24 Aug 2020, 19:39 IST
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