The Best Five Football Teams Of All Time

Comparing sides and players from different eras is a thankless task and one that is bound to upset some people. That’s fine. Don’t thank me, try not to get too emotional and let’s look at the five greatest sides to have ever played football. So, in no particular order (I’m not that brave)…

Spain (2008-2012) – Spain became the first side ever to lift three consecutive major international tournaments when they added the 2012 Euros to their 2008 success and the 2010 World Cup. There was a desire to write them off during Euro 2012 that was proved laughable when they thumped Italy 4-0 in the final and no doubt it will surface again after their 3-0 loss to Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup Final and the relative failure of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League. However, the facts are that Spain hold both major titles, are one of the favourites for the 2014 World Cup, continue to have huge success at the age group championships and have completely revolutionised the way football is played and coached.

Real Madrid (1954-1966) – Whilst Madrid won five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960, their success began a little earlier and continued, with three more appearances in the European Cup Final (defeats in 1962 and 1964 and a win in 1966). Truly one of the all-time great sides, the combination of domestic heroes and overseas stars – notably Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas –revolutionised football. Their performance in beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 final is widely regarded as one of the best ever.

Brazil (1958-1970) – Many would highlight solely the 1970 side but given there were World Cup victories in 1958 and 1962 as well and Pele played in all the successful campaigns we’re happy to give broad credit. The ’70 team was undoubtedly the best, offering an unstoppable mix of grace, power, technique and invention, with Pele just one star in a side that included Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson and of course Rivelino, as well as captain Carlos Alberto Torres

Barcelona (2008-2013) – Barcelona have been as much responsible for changing football as Spain in the same period, with the style best employed by Xavi and Andres Iniesta copied the world over, be it in Swansea, Wigan or the streets of Barcelona. Having Lionel Messi – four-time winner of the Ballon D’or and unquestionably an all-time great – gives them the X-factor and extra goals that Spain can sometimes lack and four La Ligas, two Champions Leagues and three further Champions League semi-finals cement their place in history.

Hungary (1950-1956) – Perhaps a surprise selection but with just five teams to pick some great sides were always going to be left out. One theme that unites most if not all our top five is that they changed the game of football and the Magnificent Magyars certainly did that when they recorded 42 wins, seven draws and just one defeat. Sadly for them that one loss was the 1954 World Cup Final, when they went down 3-2 to a West German side they had earlier beaten 8-3! A 6-3 win at Wembley and a 7-1 home win in the reverse game against England were other highlights as this Puskas-inspired side brought new attacking subtlety to the game.

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