Ranked! The 50 greatest soccer groups of all time
Deciding the perfect groups in historical past is rarely simple, however FourFourTwo thrives on making the robust selections.
So, every employees member armed with their private favourites, FFT gathered in a darkened room one night to slender issues down. Deliberations continued lengthy into the night time.
In between the bickering, name-calling and hair-pulling, one factor turned obvious – this listing needed to be about extra than simply chilly, naked trophy hauls. Soccer can be about intangibles: how cool a group is; what impact they’ve on future generations; their aura.
You will not discover too many one-season wonders on this listing, however there’s room for a particular few.
50. Leicester (2015/16)
You received’t discover many one-season wonders on this listing, however such was the magnitude of Leicester’s title triumph that it’s onerous to exclude them.
Claudio Ranieri produced a near-perfect group that achieved immortality in arguably the world’s strongest league. How else may they’ve managed to topple England’s illustrious elite simply 12 months after barely surviving the drop?
Leicester had their excellent stars – Jamie Vardy had a direct hand in 36 objectives, Riyad Mahrez 29, whereas N’Golo Kanté proved a revelation in midfield. However their actual energy was the collective bond which helped them eke out large outcomes when the stress was at its most intense.
49. Saint-Etienne 1973-77
You’d in all probability assume that Saint-Etienne’s biggest group could be the one Michel Platini led within the early ‘80s, earlier than he dominated Europe with Juventus. You’d be flawed.
Underpinned by imposing Yugoslav keeper Ivan Curkovic, Argentine monster Osvaldo Piazza at centre-back and with attacking inspiration from Jean-Michel Larque, Herve Revelli and future Spurs boss Jacques Santini, Les Verts dominated French soccer for a decade from 1966, successful seven Ligue 1 titles, 5 Coupes de France and reaching the 1976 European Cup Last.
48. Chelsea 2004-06
Jose Mourinho combined the perfect of Claudio Ranieri’s group (John Terry, Frank Lampard, Damien Duff and Claude Makelele) with these already incoming for his debut marketing campaign (Petr Cech and Arjen Robben), bringing in Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho with Roman Abramovich’s petrodollars so as to add a extra bodily, quicksilver and devastating edge to an already proficient group.
The Blues received successive titles in 2005 and 2006 (the previous by 12 factors, and solely 15 objectives conceded) with a model of stress soccer that earned them begrudged respect from non-Chelsea followers.
47. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1953-60
Clad in traditional previous gold, Stan Cullis’s uncompromising and direct group powered their solution to three league titles in 9 years from 1953 onwards, lacking a hat-trick of First Division titles and the FA Cup-League Double by only a level in 1959/60.
With a heavy emphasis on health and energy, Wolves’s methodology of pumping lengthy balls out of defence for his or her forwards to chase might have been dismissed as ‘kick and rush’ ways, however of their 9 peak success years they plundered 878 objectives and topped the century mark in 4 consecutive First Division seasons.
46. Hamburg 1977-83
Hamburg had at all times been on the periphery of the German soccer elite till two tireless employees got here collectively simply after the membership received its first European trophy within the 1977 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Liverpool’s European Cup-winning star Kevin Keegan and coach Branko Zebec each skilled ferociously, the latter a lot in order that his gamers have been in open revolt after dropping the 1980 European Cup Last to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.
Although it will be the Croatian supervisor’s consuming that marked his downfall, the squad’s unflinching want to run additional and quicker than the opposition introduced three Bundesliga titles in 4 seasons, plus the 1983 European Cup towards Juventus.
45. Marseille 1988-93
OM’s proprietor Bernard Tapie got down to mastermind France’s first European Cup triumph – and if that meant bribery, match-fixing and doping, so be it.
In fact, Marseille have been ok to beat Europe with out skulduggery. They misplaced the 1991 last to Crimson Star Belgrade on penalties however, two years later, out-thought and outplayed defending champions Milan to assert the trophy.
On the again, sweeper Basile Boli and centre-back Marcel Desailly protected Fabien Barthez. The midfield featured Didier Deschamps, Abedi Pele and Chris Waddle, whereas the assault – which contained German World Cup winner Rudi Voller, fearsome France striker Jean-Pierre Papin and powerfully skilful Croatia worldwide Alen Boksic – wasn’t too shabby both.
44. Arsenal 2003/04
Supervisor Arsene Wenger was roundly mocked when, in 2002, he’d urged it was doable for his group to undergo the league marketing campaign unbeaten. However in 2003/04, after surviving two early scares towards Portsmouth and Manchester United, Arsenal emulated Preston’s ‘Invincibles’ and received the league with out defeat.
On the coronary heart of the group have been Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira – ‘the three musketeers’ who offered the talent, guile and bodily energy to steer Arsenal to a 3rd title in seven seasons. The quick and incisive pyrotechnic soccer they performed was breathtaking, and in Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal possessed two of the best forwards of their historical past.
43. Tottenham 1960-62
With strikers Bobby Smith and Les Allen notching objectives for enjoyable, the prodigiously gifted inside-forward John White dismantling opposition defences together with his blind-side runs and midfield anchored by the rock-like Dave Mackay, Tottenham romped to the title by eight factors (within the days of two for a win) in 1960/61, then defeated Leicester within the FA Cup last.
Some mentioned Spurs could be one-season wonders, and supervisor Invoice Nicholson feared they’d some extent. So he added purpose machine Jimmy Greaves, retained the FA Cup and reached the European Cup semi-final – the place they have been denied partially by suspect refereeing.
42. Steaua Bucharest 1984-89
Fact is a uncommon commodity relating to former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania. But for all of the accusations of dictatorial favouritism that dogged Steaua Bucharest within the late ‘80s, the Militarii did go 104 home video games unbeaten from June 1986 till September 1989.
Steaua have been like a Romanian Harlem Globetrotters, led by Victor Piturca and Miodrag Belodedici’s swish artistry. Once they signed Gheorghe Hagi only for the 1986 European Tremendous Cup, Ceausescu refused to permit the Maradona of the Carpathians again to Sportul Studentesc.
Additionally they acquired to 2 European Cup finals, beating Barcelona on penalties in 1986 earlier than dropping 4-0 to Milan two years later.
41. Leeds 1968-75
Within the Elland Street dressing room, supervisor Don Revie nailed an indication to the wall which learn: ‘Hold combating.’ His Leeds group, combining ruthless pragmatism with a shimmering of talent, did exactly that as soccer entered the technicolour age.
After capturing their all-important first trophy in 1968 (the League Cup), Leeds went on to win two League titles, two Festivals Cups and the FA Cup in 1972. Johnny Giles, Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter and Jack Charlton earned the group its ‘imply machine’ tag, whereas Peter Lorimer’s spectacular taking pictures, Eddie Grey’s skilful wing play and Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke’s goalscoring exploits gave the Whites their leading edge up entrance.