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Real Madrid 1960 - the greatest club side of all time

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Jonathan Stevenson | 21:49 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

On BBC Radio 5 live's Monday Night Club, hosted by Mark Chapman, a panel of experts comprising football correspondent Mike Ingham, Italian football journalist Gabriele Marcotti, former England full-back and now pundit Jimmy Armfield and South American expert Tim Vickery discussed the merits of several of football's top teams.

They whittled the list - exclusively made up of European Cup winners as well as Brazilian sides Santos and Sao Paolo - to three and were in total agreement that the Real side comprising Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas that thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 European Cup final was without equal.

Real Madrid's class of 1960 - the greatest club side of all time. Credit: Getty style="width:595px;font-size: 11px; color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">Real Madrid's class of 1960 - the greatest club side of all time. Credit: Getty

Here were the candidates, along with a choice quote from one of the panel.

British teams:

"It was almost written in the stars that it should be 10 years after Munich" - Ingham

Manchester United, 1999
"They scared the bejesus out of everyone in Europe that season" - Marcotti

Liverpool, 1984:
"Liverpool won it so often in such a short space of time, but this was their best team" - Armfield

Nottingham Forest, 1980:
"When you talk about iconic managers, Brian Clough is the guy you're talking about. He made it all possible" - Ingham

Celtic, 1967:
"What a remarkable team that was, and not just because they were all born so close to the ground. But it was a fairytale" - Armfield

South American teams:

Santos 1962:
"That was the team that saw Pele at his absolute best. They went to Benfica in the Intercontinental Cup and were 5-0 up in Portugal. Pele said it was his greatest performance" - Vickery

Sao Paolo 1993:"To give you some idea, they beat Johan Cruyff's Dream Team in 1992 in the Intercontinental Cup and then Fabio Capello's AC Milan a year later" - Marcotti

European teams:

Real Madrid 1960:
"It was a kind of football was hadn't seen before. They had the whole package, and the star that shone brightest was Alfredo di Stefano" - Armfield

Benfica 1962:
"They had Germano, one of the best central defenders I've ever seen, and Eusebio. Those two players took them to greater heights" - Armfield

Inter Milan 1965:
"The big innovation was manager Helenio Herrera with his brand of counter-attacking football that became known as Catenaccio" - Marcotti

Ajax 1972:
"Total Football wasn't a system, it was a philosophy. Johan Cruyff's wandering was pivotal to it. They were ground-breaking" - Ingham

Ajax 1995:
"There was a great blend of youngsters and older guys. That team was about the system - Louis van Gaal's system" - Marcotti

AC Milan 1989:
"Arrigo Sacchi's was the last great tactical innovation in football. Never had a side pressed like that side did. That's why they were a cup team" - Marcotti

AC Milan 1994:
"If you were looking for wow factor, look at the Barca team in 1994. But Milan, their team that European Cup final night when they beat Barca 4-0 - they were on a different planet" - Ingham

Bayern Munich 1975:
"They beat my Leeds team in the final that year. They had two aces - Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, who could get a goal out of nothing" - Armfield

Barcelona 1992:
"That was just a phenomenal team. But if I could single one out, it would be Michael Laudrup, who was one of the purest, most elegant players I've ever seen" - Marcotti

Barcelona present:
"They have redefined a style of playing with over 70% possession. No-one else does this. Of course they can be beaten. but if they win on Saturday against Man United, they will have won it unlike anyone else before" - Marcotti

Having narrowed it down to Liverpool's class of 1984, Real Madrid's 1960 vintage and the AC Milan team of 1989, the panel plumped for Di Stefano and Puskas.

Let us know whether you agree. And do you think Barcelona, if they beat Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday, could potentially rival Real for their crown?

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Mr Stevenson
    You say it is official as if it is the word of god.
    Anyway its just a matter of opinion. I beleive that humans evolve and every generation is better then the prvious one in terms of skill and talent. so I would go for the present team of Barca rather then a two generations old team.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm surprised Il Grande Torino weren't given a mention, or Arsenals team that won 3 on the trot with their WM tactical innovation. A very European view on it but can't argue with the conclusion, even if I think United's '99 team would have beaten the lot over 90/120 minutes.

  • Comment number 3.

    well can't argue there. Real Madrid has set the bar so high, its unbelievable. Di stefano, puscas, Gento . . they just changed club football for ever.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I love marcotti but hes totally barking up the wrong tree there! Milan pressed very well, possibly even better than this barca side, but they didnt invent that! Witness the dutch in 1974 rendering south american football obselete with their pressing game. They caught 5 or 6 uruguayan players offside about 5 years inside their own half on numerous occasions!

    Valeriy Lobanivski also did it incredibly well. Sacchi certainly dindt invent it

  • Comment number 6.

    I guess history is truely written by the winners. I wonder what people would saying of the united's 99 team if Bayern had managed to hold on for another couple of minutes?

    Personally I loved the Forest team under Clough and the 5-0 demolition of Liverpool ranks as one of the classic games (away from my beloved Bolton of course!).

  • Comment number 7.

    weezer 316,
    are you sure about the offsides?
    you can't be offside in your own half

  • Comment number 8.

    No arguement with the three they came up with although it's easy if you've seen all three. Real Madrid absolute jaw dropping, AC great players from back to front and Liverpool a complete team.

    As for opinion, there are times watching any sport, a team or individual comes along and you just know, you've witnessed something special. Laver or Federer in tennis, Bolt or Johnson in athletics, Ali for heavyweight boxing, Brasil in the 1970 world cup.

    Would the three teams mentioned be successful today? Simple answer yes. They would have better facilities, great pitches and the medical expertise used by todays players. In fact they would probably be capable of more today.

  • Comment number 9.

    United team of the 50s hands down. Look at peoples comments about this team. Look at the stats of winning titles by massive amounts of points when theyre all just kids. How they are not in the list of 20 is a disgrace

  • Comment number 10.

    BObbyBaggio-

    I understand your point about the great "babes" team, but to be fair, they did say only teams that won the European cup/champions league were considered, even though it is generally accepted they probably would have, if not for the crash.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Real team of 1962 was like a heavyweight allowed to play in the middleweight division. There was definitely a lack of competition back then. Personally I'd say the Ajax team of the early 70s changed the way football was played in a way that still reverberates today and should have been at least in your top 3. Of course that would have meant that Liverpool would have to have been left out and of course you can't have a top 3 of European teams without an English team in it, can you? Shamefully biased, BBC!

  • Comment number 13.

    In my personal opinion then the Ajax team of the early 1970's was the best I've ever seen, but you can't argue with the Real Madrid side of the late 50's - they set the standard so high and they brushed aside some very good teams during that period - Reims (finalists twice), Fiorentina, AC Milan and Eintracht Frankfurt (people remember the 7-3 thrashing but don't remember that they actually put 12 goals past Glasgow Rangers in the semi-finals).

    Forget the Galactico's of the early 2000's Di Stefano, Puskas, Gento and Santamaria amongst others were the real deal.

  • Comment number 14.

    For once, can't argue. Real 1960, like Brazil in 1970 set the bar, in some ways too high, for everybody else.

    I really cannot see why people even begin to compare the likes of the current Barcelona side or, rather comically, Utd in 1999 with them?

    Perhaps they've never seen that game?

  • Comment number 15.

    As a Real Madrid fan, thank you for the nomination.
    I am glad to see Forest in the shortlist too (my English team)

    This is a subject we will never agree on; it just depends on what style of football you fancy the most, and the team you follow may blur the vision a bit.

    I have not seen all those teams play so I can't tell categorically who were the best. I have watched a lot of football since 1982, when the world cup was hosted in Spain, and from those days I would also mention the Dinamo Kiev side that won the Cup Winner's Cup in 1986, and a great Red Star Belgrade just before the Yugoslavian war. Maybe those teams underachieved in the European stage, especially Dinamo Kiev (who didn't win the European Cup and so missed on the chance of being listed)

    All I know of 1940s Torino or 1950s ManU is through articles and little bit of footage. It is not enough for me to say if they deserve or not a place in this list. They were not European Champions, so they would have missed on the list anyway (this condition is a bit unfair)

  • Comment number 16.

    I am missing some teams in the list of contenders - not that I think any of the following would be the best football team ever, but I think they deserve to be mentioned:

    1950s Honved, with the likes of Puskas, Kocsis and Czibor among others, who revolutionized the football of the era.

    Also revolutionary was the 1930s Arsenal, with innovations such as the "WM"

    The Argentinian club San Lorenzo de Almagro caused a sensation when they toured Spain & Portugal in 1947-8. The old aficionados tell how they had never seen something quite like that football before.

    Boca Juniors & River Plate must have had very many good teams throughout their history - in the early 1940s, River had a team whose offensive playing style earned them the nickname La Máquina ("The Machine"), with 5 famous forwards (Muñoz, Moreno, Pedernera, Labruna, Loustau). La Máquina is often considered as the predecessor of Holland's total football, itself, the predecessor of Barça & Spain's Tiqui-Taca. Later in that decade they also played a young player named Alfredo di Stefano.

    Finally, the great Dynamo Kiev of the 1980s, with the likes of Zavarov, Rats or Oleg Blokhin . I actually saw that team live - it was in the final of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1986 played in Lyon, and they simply destroyed my beloved Atlético de Madrid. I can tell you that the sheer speed they played was incredible, almost ridiculous: it was like watching 11 Gareth Bales playing against 11 guys randomly picked from the street.

    Just one more remark: in my opinion Barça's Dream Team was superior to AC Milan in 1994. Vastly superior, actually. A lot of what happened in the final in Athens had to do with a brawl between Cruyff and Laudrup. With Laudrup on the pitch, Barça would have won 7 out of 10 games against that Milan squad, Baresi & Maldini or no Baresi & Maldini.



  • Comment number 17.

    By the way, the best team I have ever seen is this Barça. Their masterpieces are I think the 2-6 and 5-0 against Real Madrid.

    I mean, remember the first half against Bayern Munich or the 20 minutes against Arsenal in London last year?

    I have never seen a football like that.

  • Comment number 18.

    Like many people posting, I have only read about the exploits of the Real 1960 team. I do have the privilege of watching the élan of this current Barcelona team. Should they continue to win over an extended period, they should be reconsidered for the crown.

  • Comment number 19.

    People can say there was a lack of competition for Madrid in the 60s and that's why the dominated, but surely that just proves how far ahead of their time they were. The only way to judge a team from the 60s against a team from now is to look at how they compare with their rivals. And the fact is no-one could touch that Madrid side.

  • Comment number 20.

    Jonathan,

    Way before my time, but I question the strength of European football when Madrid were dominating in the late 50s early 60s. European football was in its infancy and was there an abundance of talented teams challenging Madrid. As I say before my time so perhaps they were that much better than the rest.

    For me the Milan team under Sacchi were the most complete team I have seen play. A back four perhaps unmatched in European football history and Guilit, Rikaard and Van Basten were in their pomp. Barcelona are an amazing team but I think their back four let them down in comparison to Milan.

  • Comment number 21.

    lol, 5 of the teams listed there would beat down that madrid team. they were hardly playing teams of there ilk at the time were they. u cant say there is a best due to evolution of the game in the last 60 years but put today's barca in their era and vice versa, we would see how good that madrid team really were. not very i'd imagine. you'd have to be over 70 to have an opinion on that team IF u managed to see them play. the 5 euro cup wins in a row is the same i'd say as having today's barca in the spl for 5 years, hmmmmm i wonder who would win that?

  • Comment number 22.

    #7

    Sorry, I meant the dutch half lol! And I meant yards, not years! See it here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5YLG57a2GE

    Astonishing play. The uruguayans were semi finalists 4 years earlier. Looked like oold men compared to the dutch

  • Comment number 23.

    Liverpool 84 did beat Roma in their own ground in a European final. I watched that team regularly (as a young 11 year old on the the kop) and was impressed with its balance between strong defence and guile up front. However, the Milan team of the 3 dutchmen in 89 was the best team i have seen. The Madrid team are over 10 years before i was born so no real knowledge of them.

  • Comment number 24.

    I don't know about "if Barca beat Man U will they be the greatest team" but if Man U beat Barca they will have been in 3 finals and won 2 in the last 4 years, while Barca - supposedly one of the best teams ever - will have only been in 2 and won 1.

    Where would you put this Man U team then?

  • Comment number 25.

    The European Cup winners only rule also robs Revie's Leeds team of a mention, so it's worth noting the generosity of Armfield's comments about the Bayern '75 team considering the level of gamesmanship carried out by Beckenbauer in that final...anyone who's seen that game will know that Leeds should have been 2:0 up.

    But for me the Milan team of 1994 takes some beating, they destroyed Barca 4:0 with the likes of van Basten, Papin, Baresi, Costacurta, Brian Laudrup and more all missing.

  • Comment number 26.

    #21 Meido - And the arguments for such an statement are...?

    You cannot say AC Milan '94 would beat Real madrid '60 the same way you can't say it the other way either. I's different eras.

    You can only beat the rivals you have in front of you. Would this Barcelona be this good if the Italian sides had not gone down a couple of levels? Well, I guess it's the Italians' fault, not Barcelona's

    Real Madri won the first 5 European Cups because firstly they won the lague in Spain (Barcelona's 6 titles in a row or Liverpool's 5th European Cup would not have happened with that rule today, for example, neither ManU would be in the final this weekend) and to do so they beat very good Barcelona, Athletic and Atletico Madrid sides. Then they beat the best teams in Europe at the time, which were good enough, and certainly not the sort of gap you see today between Celtic Glasgow and Hamilton Accs.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think that the placing of Real Madrid at the head of this illustrious group is probably the correct one, all things considered.

    I suppose there is a natural tendancy to 'go with what you know' and therefore teams from the modern era for example, will naturally be favoured by younger fans.

    The perrenial problem of comparisons between sport from different eras also exists, but it's still fun to try.

    Also(in Britain) there has been a general lack of information and broadcasting of the South American game over the decades. the two SA teams nominated were no doubt superb sides and I wish I could have seen that Santos side.

    I was (only) just to young to have witnessed the Real side in the early 60's but from all of the footage and film available, they were clearly breathtaking. Often you see 'old' matches and it appears so slow and some of the goalkeeping by modern day standards looks somewhat shaky.

    However, that Real side had it all, pace, control, movement, passing ability and clinical finishing. An awesome side and worthy of the accolade.

  • Comment number 28.

    No 12 - It would be odd not to have an English team in there, nothing to do with "bias" but to do with the fact that teams from England have been among the most successful in the history of the most prestigious club competition in the world.

    Also, Man U would still have been in the list, but why let the facts get in the way of a conspiracy theory.

  • Comment number 29.

    1.At 06:33 24th May 2011, Shahamat wrote:
    Mr Stevenson
    You say it is official as if it is the word of god.

    ___________________________________________________

    Apart from never using the word 'official' anywhere in his post, thus rendering your argument invalid, you're totally right...

    Anyway, I can only speak of what I've seen, so that's United's team of 1999 and Barça's team of the present. No contest between the two - Barça every time.

  • Comment number 30.

    I would have to agree that the Real Madrid was the greatest, at least in terms of achievement. Santos side is right up there too.

    But then again that is my opinion.

    It would be unfair and and perhaps direspectful to compare era's.

    A newer generation has learn't from the previous, improved training techinques, equipment....

    As for the shortlist of teams, truly remarkable sides for their time.

  • Comment number 31.

    21, well if people say that madrid team was the best side ever when they haven't seen them isn't saying much, they look at the 5 cup wins and go" they must be the best coz look at there 5 euro cup wins". i go on wot iv seen not wot iv heard and this barca team have done it all and played it more beatifully and defensively than anyother team on the way and in today's climate of football , not like it was in the 50's early 60's. iv said numerous times, in 2009 barca won every cup they could - unrivaled, 7 of there outfeild players from the same academy won the world cup - unrivaled. consistency too for champs league semi's and finals for 7 years or so. i could go on into breakjing records and such but..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 32.

    but zzzzz yes, you aid it right

    Simply because you haven't seen Real madrid of the 60's, he ManU of the 50's, the Ajax of the 70's, the Dinamo Kievof the 80's and so on you just cannot say that the 5 Cups won by Real madrid would equal something like the Scottish premier league these days.

    On what you have seen (very little, and possibly with a touch of bias) you can say Barcelona these days are a great side, which nobody disputes. To say that you don't need to belittle the rest... moreover when you have not seen them.

  • Comment number 33.

    if people say madrid in the 60 had no competition, what about the current barca side? the worst they can ever finish is second they play in most likely the most uncompetitive two team league in football history....

  • Comment number 34.

    i would trust the words of Jimmy Armfield as he would played against the players of Madrid in late 50's and his knowledge of football is immense. I must say though that the United 99 team never knew when they were beaten as I was at the FA cup game where they beat us with two goals in final 2 minutes as well as the recovery against Juve in the semi. Painful to say as a red but the truth unfortunately

  • Comment number 35.

    thats right i havent seen so therefor no jumping on wagon's wi the band playing for me.

  • Comment number 36.

    33, yawn, u do get the champs league and countless other trophy's outwith the spanish league yes? u do get the academy produced side ye? the one with majority of there players that won a world cup ye? humans are great. hooray for evolution!!

  • Comment number 37.

    2011 Barca......yawn.......pass around in circles and havent been scaring anyone since February so says their manager.
    Win it and they are up there, but dont crown them yet, so called experts crowned them before the semis last season and they failed.

    The pre Champions League era was easier to win.
    As proven by no repeat winners so that rules out many of the teams mentioned above.

    The best club side of all time was The Treble Winning Side from The Thearte of Dreams..........FACT!

  • Comment number 38.

    I would say that the biggest flaw in this debate is that you ensured a British team would be in the final reckoning. For my money, no British team was as good as Real Madrid 1960, Ajax early 70s, Bayern Munich mid 70s, Milan late 80s, current Barcelona team.

    That said, the final decision is probably right as regardless of eras to win 5 consecutive European Cup/Champions League trophies is a remarkable achievement and if any team managed to win three on the spin now (or for that point two) they would be lauded as the greatest ever, so to win five means they have to be considered the greatest ever.

  • Comment number 39.

    Surely the play acting by the current Barca side rules them out of the conversation!

  • Comment number 40.

    Any team with David May in it cannot possibly be considered the greatest ever. Same applies for Buscepts and Maxwell...

  • Comment number 41.

    jstan thats crazy, every team has a weak link in this debate.

  • Comment number 42.

    "At 10:44 24th May 2011, Adam wrote:

    The best club side of all time was The Treble Winning Side from The Thearte of Dreams..........FACT!"

    How is that statement a fact? Surely the Barcelona side winning 6 trophies in one year is better? I mean they won every trophy they entered that year, did your United team do the same?

  • Comment number 43.

    also Adam, from the couple of games I've seen of Eusebeo, he seemed like a bit of a diver/play actor. Can anyone clear this up for me if he was? Also seemed like a gent on other occasions.
    Point is, it still wouldn't stop him being great.

  • Comment number 44.

    Celtic 1967 are the best. They didn't just win the european cup (1st british club to do so), they also won every other trophy they could have that season, 5 trophies in all, the first club ever in european club football to do so.. All the members of the team were also born within 30 miles of Celtic Park. The same team also reached the final of the euorpean cup in 1970 only to be narrowly beaten 2-1.

  • Comment number 45.

    The treble side was a joy to watch and played the game the right way and were very successful.

    6 trophies in a year?! what trophies are you including there?!

    We won all the competitions that mattered.

  • Comment number 46.

    jstan the whole Barca team dives, remonstrates with the ref to get opponents booked or sent off.
    Messi is amazing but the team isnt as good as the so called experts would have you believe.

  • Comment number 47.

    39, how do you know madrid of the 50's/60's never play acted?

  • Comment number 48.

    @ Adam, So did Barca circa 2009, they won every trophy that mattered.

    Man United 1999 - Scored 80 goals conceded 37. Won the league by one point
    Barca 2009 - Scored 105 goals conceded 35. Won the league by nine points

    The second place team in both seasons had 78 points.

    I'm afraid you are just being a biased Man U fan, rather than an open minded football fan.

  • Comment number 49.

    46. the whole barca team dives? u must be a regular watcher, very informed.......well done to you.

  • Comment number 50.

    The EPL is much better than the two team La Liga so those stats are moot.
    I am just pro Premiership but we are the only English side to have won it in the Champions League era........yes thats right I dont count Liverpool.
    Never scored in Semis vs Chelsea
    and won final due to AC Milan arrogance.

    Never said they didnt play act in 50/60s but football evolves and is better in this era than any era before.

  • Comment number 51.

    Yeah I hate the argument of La Liga being a weak team blabla. They still need to do better than a Real Madrid team that has amazing talent throughout as well as a great tactical manager.

    It shows when Totenham go up against Real and everyone says they have no chance, whilst if Totenham were playing any of our top 3 you'd think they could have a go. Similary with the United Barca final, both top teams of their leagues but most people are already handing the trophy over to Barca (I for one am not). Just saying that if Barca were in the Prem, they'd walk like they do in La Liga. People slate both Barca and Real beating Almeira 8-0/8-1 but lets not forget Chelsea Wigan losing 8-0 and 6-0 to Chelsea end of last begining of this years and they stayed up both times! Almeira are at least bottom of the table.

  • Comment number 52.

    interactive sqaubbling is my favourite pastime.

  • Comment number 53.

    5 european cups in a row cannot be argued with

  • Comment number 54.

    Meido i watch all the time, I like Barca but they do have a tendency to cheat.

    Soccer has become more of a bore even though players are better so i am conflicted

  • Comment number 55.

    Meido- It beats revising for my University finals tomorrow

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm sorry Adam but the fact that you say Liverpool have never won the trophy in the Champions League era is just testamount to your bias. Ok Liverpool didn't score a 'goal', but if that is the case, Cech should have been sent off and a penalty awarded.

    Man United, 1999 was a great team, but not the best of the Champions League era and not the best of all time either.

  • Comment number 57.

    True i am biased but so are you and everyone else.
    i do know 19 is better than 18 so i can see facts with my own eyes.
    The Milan side that thumped Barca were amazing!

  • Comment number 58.

    Meido, that's obvious...........

    The European cup was easier to win before the CL! *slaps head*! What you mean when every team in it was a genuine champion, from leagues in which there was genuine competition, and they played a hell of a lot more domestic fixtures than now?

    Do you believe in pixies and Leprechauns as well? ;)

    As I said before, watch that final before commenting. It's easily available.

    As an aside, I seem to recall Celtic won every available trophy in 1967. Does that make them the 'greatest team ever'? Bear in mind the Spanish league has become very much like the Scottish in that there are two powerful clubs, and that's it now, unlike years gone by. Yes those two have always been dominant, but the league still had strength in depth. Not, according to the Spanish themselves, any more.

    So slagging teams off for playing in weak leagues competitions etc is a dangerous game. Few who've watched the game for decades would argue that every league (inc ours) have become weaker and weaker as a rich few become more and more dominant.

  • Comment number 59.

    Charlie Young, its impressive but in an uncompetitive era.

  • Comment number 60.

    55 jstan, too right, hope you do well and put it too good use. lol

  • Comment number 61.

    nelly you should slap your head as if we had only champions now imagine how poor the competition would be! Champions of Belgium, Hungary and many others would dilute the competition like it did in the olden days.

  • Comment number 62.

    "i do know 19 is better than 18 so i can see facts with my own eyes."

    What has that got to do with being the greatest team off all time?

    Man United are the most successful club in English football, beyond doubt, but that is not what we are discussing here, we are talking about individual teams and I'm afraid they have never dominated Europe in a manner that would allow them to be considered the greatest off all time, unlike the other teams we are discussing.

    One team I am surprised no one has mentioned, was the Madrid team of 1998 to 2002, 3 trophies in 5 years is staggering in the Champions League era.

  • Comment number 63.

    does a less competitive league mean an individual team at the top is worse off than another team winning a less competitive one... no. The fact that one or two teams are so far ahead than they were before may just further support their brilliance (though I do believe teams like Valencia are weaker now than 5-10 years ago, or even your Atheltics of the 50s etc etc)

    I just hate to see it go against a team that they dominate their league so much.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think it is very easy to write off sides from the 50's and 60's because we are obsessed with current stars and we assume that things are always better now. If the experts go with the classic Real Madrid team then they are probably justified. I would only question whether the level of fitness of the current teams would mean that they could run the 50's and 60's players off the park. To play Devils Advocate it could also be argued that maybe under old refereeing, the modern players would just not be able to cope with the physical tackling. Lets trust the panel on this one.

  • Comment number 65.

    nelly

    the spanish league is like spl due to the fact barca and real are so far ahead of the rest, i'd put valencia villareal atletico madrid on a par with the top 7 in the EPL bar man u n chelsea.

  • Comment number 66.

    @50
    I've posted twice today saying united were good team but takes typical Manc to come on and start showing no class at all. How does 2005 not count we beat the Italian, English champions en route plus AC Milan and the German runners up. The semis were the only team to stop Chelsea scoring in two consecutive games. The final is acknowledged by anyone who knows one jot about football as the greatest comeback of all time, eclipsing 99 easily.
    Now united are deserved champs this year and I actually believe they an excellent chance this Saturday but you my "friend" should try to be objective rather than cynical or disingenuous. Don't believe me look at my post 34 then grow up and appreciate the game you say that you follow

  • Comment number 67.

    I think the Liverpool team was the greatest, they conquered England mercilessly, comfortably and imperiously dominating Everton and co. In Europe they were the footballing imperialists, winners in '77. '78, '81 and '84. They had one of the greatest forwards in Kenny Dalglish, and players like Lawrenson, Hansen, the Kennedy's, Souness, Neal, Clemence and who ca forget Grobbelar with his amusing dance that confused the Romans and inspired a certain Pole twenty one years later?

    That Liverpool team were intelligent, clinical, resilient and sweeping. No-one could match them.

  • Comment number 68.

    Aarvark73
    To be fair Rugby is better than Soccer and neither compare to the American Sports.
    Hard to appreciate a sport played by overpaid cheats.

    Man City over Spurs in the FA Cup with 10 men put that comeback to shame.

    The greatest European comeback was our two late goals, most dramatic way to win the competition.
    Only ever heard Liverpool fans claim there comeback was better.

    You beat Chelsea 0-0 over two games to be fair.

  • Comment number 69.

    Even Liverpool's 2005 class should be remembered, probably more for their resilience and heroics, they beat runners-up Monaco, outlcassed Olympiacos in that nail-biting contest, dominated Bayer Leverkusen ruthlessly (a team that clinically swept aside Real Madrid) outmuscled, outwitted and outfought Italian heavweights Juventus, spurred on by a magnificent Anfield capacity atmosphere supplying renewed hope they had slain a Chelsea side that on three occasions domestically dominated them...and then in the final against one of the greatest modern line-ups, a team that boasted Cafu, Staam, Nesta, Maldini...a midfield that contained the rich attacking wealth of Pirlo, Kaka, Seedorf with the industrious Gattuso and Shevchenko and Inzaghi supplying firepower...they clawed their back from 3-0 goals down to emerge victorious...an illustration of their own class, and they had began to progress...maybe not the greatest team, but one of the greatest cup-contesting sides.

  • Comment number 70.

    @66 Greatest comeback ever? maybe over a game. But I think you're forget the 2006-7 league 1 play-off semi final. Yeovil town lose 0-2 at Huish park in the first leg only to travel to Forest and claim a 5-2 AET sending us to Wembley... surely to can't have forgotten that?

  • Comment number 71.

    Adam, you realy lack sme footballing culture

    Hungary or Belgium have had grea players and great teams. Hungary were the clear favourites before the 1954 World Cup Final (they even shamed England at Wembley 3-6) so if you said those days that Honved would be a lot better than Liverpool or ManU you'd not be laughed at

    While the Bosman ruling was a need and a must in the context of Europe, it has damaged the lower leagues. Anderlecht, Brugge or Standard Liege have been in European finals representing belgium, but all those Belgian players now move away. The likes of Veermalen (Arsenal), Kompany (Man City) or Dembele (Fulham) of their day would be playing for a Belgian side which would be far more competitive than what they are this day. And that was the way the European Cups were before Bosman; most teas had won them with a solid base of national players, even Steaua, Forest or Red Star.

    Have a pick of any nationality that plays in the English Premier League and put them back in their countries. You'd see ow the likes of Arsenal, ManU, manCity etc look a lot weaker than now, and the Dutch, Belgian or Croatian sides (to name some) look a few steps ahead as well.

    Please do not turn this into a Barcelona vs ManU - I am sure there will be another blog where you can argue and discuss until kick-off on Saturday

  • Comment number 72.

    #68

    hang on mate, even if that goal was incorrect, the referee later stated that Cech would have been sent off, and Liverpool awarded a penalty...so the momentum would have been shifted radically towards us...and we had a weakened team compared to a fantastic AC Milan side that swept all, and we stood stoutly, staunched them and beat them...you beat a good Bayern side, we beat a magnificent Milan side...we beat English champions Chelsea, Italian champions Juventus, Greek champions Olympiacos, 2004 runners-up Monaco...our comeback was immensely better...because we shattered them with three quick blows...then the double Dudek save, the Dudek dance...the sheer magic of it is explicably indescribable

  • Comment number 73.

    68 adam

    rugby better than football? football is the most followed sport in the world. the difference between football and all other sports is u use your feet with football, it's alot easier using ur hands.

  • Comment number 74.

    But for two air disasters (Super Ga / Torino / Munich / Manchester United) The history of the European Cup may well have been very much different. The Champions League of today is in many ways harder to win than the European Cup of 50 years ago. Its an age old argument of who was better but all that matters is to be the best when you are in the tournument.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 68 "To be fair Rugby is better than Soccer and neither compare to the American Sports. Hard to appreciate a sport played by overpaid cheats."

    Harlequins blood-gate, Baseball drugs cheats, top American Footballers earning more in a year than any footballer, I have to say, your knowledge of sport is pretty poor.

  • Comment number 76.

    Meido, soccer just lacks the entertainment these days of other sports, money has polluted the game.
    Vitriol has polluted the stands.
    And players are no longer respectable members of society.

  • Comment number 77.

    and anyway, the 2005 semi-final gol against Chelsea was not proven conclusively..that's why we call it the ghost goal, you can't tell from the angles...like i said, we would have battered chelsea if that goal wasn't awarded because Cech would have been sent-off and they would have been likely to be a goal down.

    And Milan weren't arrogant completely, they just couldn't recover swiftly enough, Gerrard once said that if these threre goals were spread out then they would have repaired themselves...but Liverpool are magical

  • Comment number 78.

    75 my knowledge of Sport is encyclopedic unlike my spelling! LOL!
    American Footballers are worth the money because of the revenue the sport generates.
    We pay players beyond the means our clubs can afford.

  • Comment number 79.

    #2 erm

    Jeez, there are some MU muppets about.

    That MU team which won the treble was indeed a fine team but they were comprehensively outplayed by Bayern in the Euro final.

    We all know what happened at the end but as Woody Allen would put it, it was a travesty of a sham of an injustice on Bayern.

    How can you say that they would beat any of the teams mentioned?

  • Comment number 80.

    I hate to be unromantic, but if we're deciding this simply on which team would beat the rest if you warped them out of time and put them on the same pitch, the current Barcelona side would almost certainly triumph. The players are stronger, faster and fitter, with the benefit of decades of tactical development and cutting edge coaching, training and nutrition. If you actually watch old football with unsentimental eyes (on ESPN Classic, for example, where you can often see these great teams of the past play in full) you'll see that the standard was much lower. Of course modern players have the benefit of smoother pitches, lighter balls and better boots, but that doesn't come close to negating the improvement the sport has made.

  • Comment number 81.

    As this is the greatest club side of all-time I'd like to know what people think of these teams compared to great National teams.

    Today I think everyone agrees National teams would get wooped by the better club teams, but what about back in the day?

    (this is my attempt to get away from the which sport is better debate...)

  • Comment number 82.

    For me, in my lifetime, the best club side ever were the AC Milan team of 1989. The dutch trio of Rijkaard, Gullit and Van Basten were amazing and their attacking brilliance was balanced by the best defence ever to grace a field, including: Maldini, Costacurta and marshalled by Baresi.

    We have seen some fantastic sides before and since but none as well rounded as this. The fact that they took part in 5 of 7 european final between 1988 and 1994 when only the league champions qualified and the Italian league was at its strongest (Maradonna at Napoli, Mathaus, Brehme at Inter Milan), just goes to show how strong the rossoneri were.

  • Comment number 83.

    Adam,

    You are a fool if you allow your bias to blind you to the style, achievements and overall performance of other sides.

    I cannot say that I saw the great Real Madrid side (apart from the Eintracht Frankfurt final) as we didn't have tv coverage at the time and certainly not of European games. However, from all the reports that I read it was generally agreed that they were so far in front of their opponents in skill, style and flair that I will accept that they deserve the accolade.

    If you had any sense then you would be able to appreciate that football is no better today than it was in any other period, it is merely different. The skill is no more or no less - just look at the first UK film of football in which a West Ham player backheels a ball on the touchline.

    As for your own allegence then the best side that you produced that I have ever was Best Charlton and Law. By far and away better than any of the later sides.

  • Comment number 84.

    76, good points but i'd still prefer it over any other. vitriol in the stands is as much apart of the game as a corner kick due to the unrivaled emotions that conjur during this sport. anyone who is disgusted by this are truly weak. but think of the children!!! they will understand when they get older.

  • Comment number 85.

    How they have the 89 Milan team ahead of the 94 team is incredible.
    The 94 European cup final was the greatest club performance of all time.

  • Comment number 86.

    85

    for importance of game.........maybe yes, but barca 5 madrid nil in november beats anything iv ever seen.

  • Comment number 87.

    Re United '99, let's not forget that two of their most influential players, Keane and Scholes, were missing from the final because of suspension. The team was totally unbalanced as a result with Giggs playing on the right and Beckham in the centre. Previous to that they had come back from two goals down, away from home, to defeat one of the most feared teams in Europe at that time. Let's also not forget just how good that Bayern team was as well - they won it the season after...

    Other than that, the '94 Milan team doesn't deserve to be in there as it is on the basis of one performance and I would have had Ajax '70s in there instead of Liverpoool as they had a bigger influence on football's development worldwide.

  • Comment number 88.

    re 6:correct me if im wrong,but im sure it was liverpool who demolished forest 5-0 and not the other way round,or was i supporting the wrong team at anfield that night

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 85 & 86

    AC Milan circa 1989 destroyed Madrid 5-0 in their semi-final, which was a better performance than their 4-0 over Barca in 1994.

  • Comment number 90.

    Don Revie's Leeds United team of the late 1960s / early 1970s deserves a mention.

    Under UEFA's Club Coefficient ranking system, Leeds United have been voted as the best team in Europe 3 times - more than any other British Team.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    90.At 12:40 24th May 2011, rocketspecial wrote:
    Don Revie's Leeds United team of the late 1960s / early 1970s deserves a mention.

    Under UEFA's Club Coefficient ranking system, Leeds United have been voted as the best team in Europe 3 times - more than any other British Team

    ---------------------

    Well let me contain my excitement... 3 times Co-efficient champions! You must be so proud. Here I am as a Man Utd follower thinking three European Cups is pretty decent, but obviously I'm misguided. We can't compete with Leeds' unrivalled glory.

  • Comment number 93.

    Great to see Forest being included. I was worried we would be ignored but then how could the achevement of a "provincial" club be ignored. It at least reminds people that we were actually quite good once.

    As for the ridiculous comments that pre Chmapions league it was easier to win, 2 points 1. it was the champions of each country. 2. if you lost, you were out. Unlike now where you can lose a few group games and still get through.

    I laugh at my friends who are Chelsea and Arsenal "fans" (who never been to their grounds) as they are so desperate to win the CL and keep failing. Message to Roman, you cant buy everything including Class and respect.

  • Comment number 94.

    United deserve where they are as the have been the team defensively in Europe this year. 3 isn't five though is it neither is 4 pity about 19 though. here's hoping for next season that we give you a lot a proper challenge

  • Comment number 95.

    16.
    At 09:28 24th May 2011, FernandodeInglaterra wrote:

    Just one more remark: in my opinion Barça's Dream Team was superior to AC Milan in 1994. Vastly superior, actually. A lot of what happened in the final in Athens had to do with a brawl between Cruyff and Laudrup. With Laudrup on the pitch, Barça would have won 7 out of 10 games against that Milan squad, Baresi & Maldini or no Baresi & Maldini.

    ========

    Oh, Fernando, Fernando! Really? You think Michael Laudrup would have made that much of a difference? Bear in mind Milan were missing Van Basten, Brian Laudrup, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Jean-Pierre Papin and Florin Raducioiu, while Gigi Lentini was only a sub (think he was also injured).

    Such a shame so many players were missing. What a great thing it would have been to have had Van Basten, Romario, Stoichkov, the Laudrups, Baresi, Maldini, Koeman all on the same pitch.

  • Comment number 96.

    Liverpool breathed fear around England during the heights of their golden eras...they had clinical, dominant and intelligent football that imperiously held a degree of dominance within England for years, they regularly challenged. Ajax of the 70's, Barcelona of the 90's and the present team exert huge footballing influence because as mentioned before here, they've helped mould and shape good footballing principles in conflict with the well-established and accomplished favour for defensive, physical, disciplined and tactical football.

    Liverpool, Barcelona, Ajax and AC Milan were the four golden clubs in my opinion

  • Comment number 97.

    The words of Bobby Charlton:
    "I was on the pitch, but I felt like a spectator. Di Stefano was easily the greatest player I have ever played against, and seen since. Then they had Puskas, Gento and the like around him. It was almost unfair".

    Not word for word, but I read that once and it stuck with me. If Sir Bobby says something about football, you take notice.

    For me as people have said, you can't really compare generations, so you go on what they achieved in their time. For that reason, Real are easily the greatest - 5 on the trot, and at least 2 of the greatest players of all time, with Gento and Kopa as well!!

  • Comment number 98.

    I think some people need another dose of valium... it's just a list guys, not the first draft of a United Nations resolution. It's always going to be subjective - doesn't mean someone is being biased necessarily. We've all seen different teams in different era's depending on how old we are, and different matches depending on whether we have subscription television or not.

    Vive la difference.

  • Comment number 99.

    94.At 12:53 24th May 2011, aarvark73 wrote:
    United deserve where they are as the have been the team defensively in Europe this year. 3 isn't five though is it neither is 4 pity about 19 though. here's hoping for next season that we give you a lot a proper challenge

    ------------

    Agreed - as a United fan I actually like Liverpool being the main challengers - hurts most to lose to them, means most to beat them. I guess its a form of respect. The 5 European Cups Liverpool has is quite handy in some ways - it gives Ferguson the incentive to keep going and not tire of his work, because otherwise there might be a danger hitting 19 would mark the end of an era for us.

  • Comment number 100.

    1960 Real Madrid team is a fine choice, but it is an opinion only. Made (no disrespect Tim adore yopur words) by 4 Europeans.

    You have to also remember Real Madrid had the backing of a Dictator. Franco stole Di Stefano from Barcelona who had brought him over to play for them and I´m fairly sure Valdivostok Utd wouldn´t have been offered as easy a defection as Puskas and co. Not to deter from that team as a team though.

    As for Italy I would only consider one team (for more than one reason too) from Italy -Turino 1948-9 but like the Babes we can only speculate.

    Santos 1962 would be my choice, Benfica were some side in the early to mid 60s and the make up of that whole team was incredible.

 

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