Dominant dynasties: Teams who have ruled football in the past

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Real Madrid extended their record of most wins in Champions League history when they captured the Champions League again this season. Los Blancos beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Wembley Stadium to win the competition for the second time in three years, and the 15th overall in the club’s history – to little surprise for those regularly betting on football.

Carlo Ancelotti inherited a side with the perfect blend of youth and experience, and while Toni Kroos is hanging up his boots after Euro 2024, the signing of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint Germain is enough to keep the Madristas satisfied as they pursue yet another La Liga title. 

Indeed, the signing of Mbappe is a statement of intent after Jude Bellingham arrived for just over £100 million last season. Ancelotti could begin a dynasty with a new generation of Madrid players, but how does this group compare to some of the teams that have dominated football in the past?

In this article, we take a look at some of the best sides in club football. Those who defined their eras by picking up trophies, signing the best talent, and leaving their mark in the history books. Read on to find out more. 

Barcelona – 2010s

The 2010s belonged to Barcelona—a team that played football as if it were a symphony. Under the visionary management of Pep Guardiola, Barça’s tiki-taka game, which involved intricate passing and positional play, left opponents bewildered. 

Legends like Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, and Andrés Iniesta orchestrated a ballet of brilliance, securing frequent Champions League titles and redefining football aesthetics. And, while Guardiola departed the club in 2012, the baton was passed to Luis Enrique, who rebuilt the club’s front line, replacing Pedro and David Villa by bringing in Luis Suarez and Neymar to create one of the best attacking sides of all time. 

AC Milan – 2000s

In the early 2000s, AC Milan donned the famous red and black kit with pride. Ancelotti’s tactical genius was once again involved, guiding the Rossoneri to two Champions League triumphs in 2003 against Juventus in an all-Italian affair, before earning revenge against Liverpool in 2007 after the Reds had beat them in Istanbul two years prior.

The likes of Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo were homegrown talents, and combined with the continental flair of Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko, Milan had two players who would win the Ballon d’Or during their time at the San Siro. Milan’s legacy remains woven into the fabric of European football.

Bayern Munich – 1990s 

German efficiency met flair in the 1990s, courtesy of Bayern Munich. Gerd Müller’s clinical finishing propelled them to domestic dominance, while their disciplined approach earned them the UEFA Cup, now known as the Europa League, in 1996. Bayern exemplified the Bundesliga’s strength during an era defined by precision and passion.

Liverpool – 1980s

The 1980s belonged to Liverpool FC—an ensemble cast established in the boot room, Anfield’s famous gathering place for managerial talent. 

Bob Paisley took over from Bill Shankly in the 1970s, guiding the club to three European Cups in nine years. Joe Fagan then took over and became the first manager in the club’s history to win the treble – one that included beating Italian side Roma in their own backyard – before making way for club legend Kenny Dalglish. 

Six English league titles, two UEFA European Cups, and three FA Cups adorned Anfield in that time. Ian Rush, Graeme Souness, and Alan Hansen epitomised the Reds’ blend of skill and unwavering determination, as they integrated homegrown talent with some of the best across England to rule the roost throughout the 1980s.

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John Day
John Day is a seasoned sports writer and brings a unique blend of insightful analysis and covers the stories that matter most to sports enthusiasts everywhere.

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