Ranking the Best Five Champions League Teams
One of the most appealing soccer competitions in the world, the UEFA Champions League is considered the pinnacle of the sport at the club level.
Even though many Premier League Players and footballers from other countries dream about winning the World Cup, such an event happens every four years. They are also at the mercy of the quality of their national team pool of players.
The Champions League, however, is a club competition. Players can sign for top sides and give themselves a chance to compete in the European Cup every year.
While there is an annual winner of the Champions League, some teams are undoubtedly seen as better than others. Below are the top five Champions League winners of the previous few decades.
1. Barcelona – 2008/2009
The Barcelona team that was managed by Spanish coach Pep Guardiola in the late 2000s is widely considered one of the best club teams of all time. Guardiola took over the team in 2008 from Frank Rijkaard, discarded the likes of Ronaldinho and Deco, and built a new, winning culture within the squad.
Guardiola took Barcelona to new heights, winning both La Liga and the Champions League in the 2008/2009 season. One of the most famous games of the season was their Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea, which the Catalans had to battle to win against all odds in the dying moments of the contest.
They went on to defeat reigning European champions Manchester United in the final in 2009 in Rome, besting legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson in the process.
2. Real Madrid – 2017/2018
Another great Champions League team was the Real Madrid side of 2017/2018. While Real was not able to win the Spanish league that season, finishing third in La Liga, they were able to claim another Champions League trophy.
The most successful club of all time in the competition, Real was spearheaded by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in this competition. They also had a wonderful attacker by the name of Gareth Bale, who they could bring off the bench to score vital goals whenever they needed a lift in a game.
Real played Liverpool in the final of the competition, beating them 3-1 to defend their Champions League trophy, which they had also won in the 2016/2017 season.
3. Manchester United – 1998/1999
Considered one of the most dramatic and admirable sides in European history, Manchester United’s 1998/1999 squad did the unthinkable in all their competitions that season.
Not only did United claim the Premier League back from rivals Arsenal that season, but they also bested the Gunners on the way to lifting the FA Cup trophy domestically as well. Then United capped off their season in the most dramatic fashion in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Trailing by one goal in the last minute of the game, United equalized in stoppage time through Teddy Sheringham. Another substitute, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then scored the winner for United a minute later.
4. Bayern Munich – 2019/2020
Considered one of the all-time great teams in Europe, the 2019/2020 Bayern Munich side completed a domestic and European treble as well. Bayern won the German league and cup convincingly, with no one in that country able to match their level.
They did have to work a lot harder in the Champions League, but were able to best Paris Saint-Germain in a behind-closed-doors final. While the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were in the PSG lineup, it was Bayern who won the game through a Kingsley Coman goal.
5. AC Milan – 2006/2007
If there was a ranking for eras within the UEFA Champions League, the AC Milan side of the early to mid-2000s would be right up there with the very best. While Milan was not quite at their best throughout the 2006/2007 season, they did save their best form in the competition they had come to love.
Milan was thinking about revenge this season, as they were beaten in the 2004/2005 Champions League final by Liverpool after they had taken a 3-0 lead at half-time during that contest. They were ready to take on the same team in the 2006/2007 final, worried about what might happen.
However, Milan was the better side in 2007, as they scored twice through Filippo Inzaghi to seal the win. Brazilian playmaker Kaka was sensational on the night, playing a key role in getting his side another European Cup trophy.