Top 15 Best Soccer Teams Of All Time
There have been lots of great soccer teams throughout history, but some have made an indelible mark in the hearts of everyone and will never be forgotten.
These teams are a joy to watch, their achievements/trophies made them legends, and their stories will forever be relayed from generation to generation.
The best soccer teams do not necessarily have the most talented players, but their team spirit, leadership, and togetherness set them apart.
TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the 15 best soccer teams of all time.
1. Brazil (1970)
Brazil dominated the 1970 FIFA World Cup in a manner that had never been seen before and after the tournament.
The Selecao fielded what is considered as the best World Cup squad ever — led by Pelé, Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Tostão, Gérson, and Rivelino.
These players were not only individually skilled, but also had excellent teamwork and understanding of each other’s playing styles.
They won all 6 of their games against Czechoslovakia, England, and Romania during the group stage; and against Peru, Uruguay, and Italy in the knockout rounds.
Jairzinho was the second top scorer with 7 goals (and became the only player to score in every match in a World Cup), while Pelé finished with 4 goals.
Their last goal in the final against Italy summarised their total dominance; it is considered to be one of the best goals in soccer history.
Captain, Carlos Alberto, finished emphatically after several passes were made between the Brazilian team without the opposition touching the ball.
Thus, Brazil lifted the World Cup trophy for the third time (the first nation to do so), which meant that they were allowed to keep it.
2. Barcelona (2008—2012)
Led by Pep Guardiola, Barcelona’s all-conquering team between 2008 and 2012 was the greatest club side ever.
The Barcelona team of 2008-2012 is known for their unique style of play, called tiki-taka.
It involves short, quick passes and constant movement, with an emphasis on possession of the ball. This style of play allowed them to dominate matches and control the pace of the game.
Their tiki-taka brand of football was breathtaking and relentless.
The team was led by Pep Guardiola, who was known for his innovative tactics and leadership skills.
He was able to bring out the best in his players and create a winning culture that allowed the team to achieve great success.
The team also comprised of the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Dani Alves, Eric Abidal, Pedro, and Victor Valdes.
Furthermore, 3 players from the squad (Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi) were the finalists for the Ballon d’Or in 2010.
3. Real Madrid (1955—1960)
Real Madrid’s team between 1955 to 1960 were a major force in the football world. They won the European Cup 5 times in a row between 1956 and 1960 — climaxing with a 7-3 crushing of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 final.
This success was replicated on the domestic front, with Madrid winning 4 league titles.
The team included Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Francisco Gento, and Raymond Kopa, and is considered by some to be the greatest soccer team of all time.
4. Spain (2008—2012)
The Spain national football team that played between 2008 and 2012 is considered one of the best soccer teams of all time.
Spain won three successive international football tournaments between 2008 and 2012.
They won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Between 2007 and 2009, they went 35 games unbeaten.
The squad mostly contains players of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Their most notable players included David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fàbregas, Fernando Torres, and Iker Casillas.
Spain’s playing style, known as “tiki-taka,” involved keeping possession of the ball for long periods and patiently waiting for opportunities to create scoring chances.
This required a high level of skill, discipline, and teamwork, and was based on a strong technical and tactical foundation.
5. France (1998—2000)
France dominated international football for two years between 1998 and 2000.
They won the 1998 World Cup on home soil, beating Brazil 3-0 in the final.
In fact, France’s 1998 kit is said to be one of the best soccer jerseys of all time.
While they won Euro 2000 by defeating Italy 2-1 in the final thanks to a golden goal from David Trezeguet.
The team contained the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Bixente Lizarazu, Patrick Vieira, Laurent Blanc, Youri Djorkaeff, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Fabian Barthez.
They were also supported by a solid supporting cast of players such as, Emmanuel Petit, and David Trezeguet.
The team was led by a strong and experienced captain in Didier Deschamps, who was able to inspire and motivate his teammates to perform at their best.
The coach, Aime Jacquet, was also instrumental in creating a team culture that emphasized hard work, discipline, and attention to detail.
6. Liverpool (1983/84)
Liverpool won the Treble of the League Cup, English Football League and the European Cup in 1983/84 with one of its greatest teams ever.
It featured players like Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Craig Johnston, Ian Rush, Ronnie Whelan, Sammy Lee and Bruce Grobbelaar.
7. Hungary (1950—1956)
Called the Magical Magyars, the Golden Generation of the Hungarian national team was known as one of the most formidable and influential sides in football history — revolutionising how the game is played.
The team had the likes of Ferenc Puskás, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, along with Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik and Nándor Hidegkuti.
Excluding the shocking 1954 FIFA World Cup final defeat to Germany, Hungary went on a 50-match unbeaten run from 1950 till 1956!
8. West Germany (1972—1976)
West Germany reached the semi-finals of four major tournaments between 1970 and 1976, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the FIFA World Cup two years later.
The team was marshalled at the back by the great Franz Beckenbauer and led in attack by the free scoring Gerd Muller.
This side is the greatest in German football history.
9. Nottingham Forest (1978—1982)
Coached by the legendary Brian Clough, Nothingham Forest gained promotion to the English First Division in 1976/77, and won the league title in their first season!
The went a step further the next season by clinching the quadruple of the League Cup, European Cup, European Super Cup, and Community Shield!!
Forest won the European Cup again in 1979/80.
The side featured some prominent players from the era, including Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis, John Robertson, Archie Gemmill, and Kenny Burns.
While they are no longer among the elite clubs, Nottingham Forest were once one of the dominant forces in European football during the late 1970’s — they are one of the soccer teams who fell from grace.
10. Ajax (1971—1973)
Playing with the “total football” style, Ajax were a force to reckon with in European club football in the early 70s.
In 1972, they won the Treble of the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup. Later, the Intercontinental Cup was added to their cabinet.
The team was led by a certain Johan Cruyff and had other Dutch national team stars like Dick van Dijk, Ruud Krol, Gerrie Muhren, Nico Rijnders, and Heinz Stuy.
11. AC Milan (1988—1994)
Nicknamed “Gli Immortali” (The Immortals), AC Milan dominated Italian and European football between 1988 and 1994.
They had the likes of Marco van Baasten Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Marco Donadoni, Carlo Ancelotti, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, and Alessandro Costacurta.
The Rossonerri won 4 Serie A titles and 3 European Cups during that period.
It was the last team to win back-to-back European Cups until Real Madrid’s win in 2017.
The team was coached across those 6 years by two legendary managers, Arrigo Sacchi, and Fabio Capello.
12. Arsenal (2004)
No team in the modern era can come close in the domestic league to the 2003/04 “Invincibles” Arsenal side.
The team finished the season with a total of 90 points, 11 points ahead of second-placed Chelsea, and 15 points ahead of third-placed Manchester United.
They scored 73 goals and conceded only 26, giving them a goal difference of +47.
The team had a strong defensive unit, with goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, and defenders Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Lauren, and Ashley Cole all playing important roles.
They kept 15 clean sheets during the season, and only conceded more than one goal in a game on four occasions.
It was managed by Arsene Wenger and comprised of great players like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Freddy Ljundberg, Gilberto Silva, Robert Pires, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, and Jens Lehmann.
13. Manchester United (1998/99)
Manchester United won an unprecedented Treble in 1998/99, clinching the FA Cup, Premier League, and the UEFA Champions League titles.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s team had the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Gary and Phil Neville, Jaap Stam, Dennis Irwin, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.
Winning the Champions League with two very late goals was the most memorable moment of this amazing team.
14. Barcelona (1991—94)
Barca had a “Dream Team” in the early 1990s that featured the likes of Romario, Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov, Txiki Begiristain, Jose Mari Bakero, Ronald Koeman, and Michael Laudrup.
The team was coached by Johan Cruyff, who imprinted his tiki-taka “Total Football” style on the side.
Barcelona won 4 consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. They also won all the major trophies available during that period (European Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup).
In total, they claimed 11 major trophies.
15. Celtic (1966/67)
1967 was the greatest year in the history of Scottish football giants, Celtic. The club won every competition available that season: the Scottish League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup, Glasgow Cup, and the European Cup!
Interestingly, majority of the players in that squad were born within 30 miles of Glasgow. The team became known as the “Lisbon Lions.”
Inter Milan (1964—65)
Real Madrid (2014—2018)