Club or country - best ever football team

Nani Nana

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Hi folks,

Found nothing of the sort in the search function - what is the best football team ever ?

Background to my query is to find out whether international or club football yielded the best ever team.

It is often argued that club football is most competitive, yet the benefit of playing and training together at club side and joining up with the country's best talent also makes a case for nations being a level above.

Spain 2010 combining the best Real Madrid and Barça talents would likely beat Barcelona 2010 despite missing Lionel Messi fot that reason.

Your thoughts?
 

Redplane

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I find it hard to imagine even the best national team would be able to beat the best club sides.

The only reason it could be close is basically exactly of what you re in essence saying yourself - that a large portion of the national team already plays together on a regular basis at a club level, or did so in the past. Whether it's Spain relying on Real and Barça, Germany on Bayern and Dortmund, the Netherlands on Ajax and PSV, or England on the "big 4". In a way I guess that might make the coaching of teams like Brazil and Argentina more of a challenge.
 

Nani Nana

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I find it hard to imagine even the best national team would be able to beat the best club sides.

The only reason it could be close is basically exactly of what you re in essence saying yourself - that a large portion of the national team already plays together on a regular basis at a club level, or did so in the past. Whether it's Spain relying on Real and Barça, Germany on Bayern and Dortmund, the Netherlands on Ajax and PSV, or England on the "big 4". In a way I guess that might make the coaching of teams like Brazil and Argentina more of a challenge.
Another reason is the best players tend to turn up for their country more eagerly than their club - think Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal or Messi with Argentina.

If you slice it in time, because comparing Brazil 1970 to Manchester United 1999 makes little sense, I would argue that it is mostly the World Cup winning countries that are considered the best sides, so the debate would be which country was best.

Real Madrid of 1950s would likely not beat Pelé's Brazil, no club side from the 1980s would beat Maradona's Argentina, etc. The best club side in the Champions League era must be Guardiola's Barça but they were probably not even as good as Spain 2010.
 

Mrs Smoker

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I have no doubt best country teams would beat best club teams more often than not. But, only in World Cup like occasions. Which can't be replicated, so we'll never know.

Well, of course, didn't count couple of United teams, those are unbeatable.
 

Mb194dc

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Best I've seen is that 2010~ Barcelona team. Spain of the same year were good, but they lacked Pep and Messi. Per op.

Never seen a peak Mourinho team dismantled 5 - 0 in the manner they were that season. That RM side was stacked with quality and experience but they got annihilated. Don't think Jose has been the same man since then. Same Barcelona team met Utd in the CL final at the end of that season and it was also barely a contest.
 

Paul_Scholes18

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I think club teams have been better the last 20 years. We had a brilliant side the last time we won the champions league in 2008. Barca around the same time was brilliant. Real under Zidane was brilliant too for two years. The Bayern side that won the treble pretty great as well.

Few teams have dominated on national level. Spain had a great side, but was also very boring and not so great in attack. They won most of the games with 1-0 and often in extra time to win the world cup. Most other recent winners have only won it one time. I guess France in 1998 and 2000 was pretty good too.
 

Dancfc

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On paper that Brazil 02 side could have been quite formidable is they were ever together in club footy.

Cafu and Carlos at fullback. Gilberto DM Rivaldo, Dinho and R9 running riot in attack.

Although CB would be a weakness. Lucio was pretty young and Roque Junior wasn't all that either.
 

SadlerMUFC

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Club football is far superior to national team football. To put a little perspective on it, France is the defending World Cup champions and their starting striker is a guy who can't get a game at Chelsea and is being kept out of the starting line up by a guy who can't get a game for England...
 

Gio

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Club football is far superior to national team football. To put a little perspective on it, France is the defending World Cup champions and their starting striker is a guy who can't get a game at Chelsea and is being kept out of the starting line up by a guy who can't get a game for England...
You could obviously turn that around and say that the starting striker for the best team in Europe over the last five years cannot get a game for the world champions.
 

NellyManc

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Best ever team i have seen is AC Milan 1990 to 1992, didnt lose a league game in 1992, great defence great midfield, great attack , perfection.
 

SadlerMUFC

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You could obviously turn that around and say that the starting striker for the best team in Europe over the last five years cannot get a game for the world champions.
I'm assuming you're talking about Aguero for Argentina? He does get games but when he doesn't start it's a real head scratcher because nobody on that team should keep him out of the starting 11...
 

Offside

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Barcelona 2008-2011 is as good as you're ever likely to see. Breathakingly brilliant.
 

Lay

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I'm assuming you're talking about Aguero for Argentina? He does get games but when he doesn't start it's a real head scratcher because nobody on that team should keep him out of the starting 11...
He means Benzema
 

giorno

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1958 Brazil, 1970 Brazil and 1982 Brazil

Pick one
 

Ibi Dreams

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The thing is that club sides play together for 50+ games every season. I just don't think that a national side will ever be as well coached or drilled or have the same chemistry as a great club team. Sure, sometimes some great players come together for their country and look good on paper, but they often don't quite deliver.

Barca circa 2010 are the best club team I've seen, and I don't think any national team was better. Spain weren't as good, they had a lot of the same players but Barca had (and still have) the best player of all time
 

paraguayo

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Respecting the differences between eras, 1958 Brazil and 2010 Barca.

1958 Brazil criminally underrated compared to 1970. They had a much more explosive Pele, and Garrincha and Didi who were miles ahead of 1970's 2nd banana.

2010 Barca because they had the most explosive Messi, and the best controllers of the game of all time. They were like a snake with wings.
 

RUCK4444

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Has to be the 2010 Barca side, incredible team, simply unstoppable.

The fittest player I’ve ever seen was Three Lung Park but I remember seeing him absolutely run into the ground, gasping, in that CL final. They ran rings around us to the point I wasn’t even angry, you just knew you couldn’t compete with them.

It wasn’t athleticism or brute force, just total control through gifted footballers, they would have teams in a trance at times.
 

mariachi-19

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Has to be the 2010 Barca side, incredible team, simply unstoppable.

The fittest player I’ve ever seen was Three Lung Park but I remember seeing him absolutely run into the ground, gasping, in that CL final. They ran rings around us to the point I wasn’t even angry, you just knew you couldn’t compete with them.

It wasn’t athleticism or brute force, just total control through gifted footballers, they would have teams in a trance at times.
Or other additives...
 

RUCK4444

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Or other additives...
Yeah that gets mentioned a lot but it’s not something that would necessarily improve that particular team imo.

I’m sure it has more to do with the fact they had the best midfield to ever grace a pitch and they happened to be in the same team as one of the greatest of all time.

They weren’t a particularly quick or physical side, it was all about technique, something that performance enhancers have no real affect on.
 
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Respecting the differences between eras, 1958 Brazil and 2010 Barca.

1958 Brazil criminally underrated compared to 1970. They had a much more explosive Pele, and Garrincha and Didi who were miles ahead of 1970's 2nd banana.

2010 Barca because they had the most explosive Messi, and the best controllers of the game of all time. They were like a snake with wings.
Amazing fullbacks too ('58?)

I guess the lack of footage for the 58 team hampers them as it's harder to watch enough games to fully and objectively compare?

As a Welshman, brought up on the story of Wales v Brazil in the 58 WC (and only losing 1-0 without John Charles), shame they didn't beat them or they could have said they beat the best team ever... :)
 

tentan

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Spain 2008-2012 and Barcelona 2008-2012 - Best teams ever.
 

Foxbatt

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The Brasilian team of Pele and Garrincha was unbelievable. You can't compare club vs country as I would say that Brasilian team would beat any club team.
 

giorno

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Spain 2010 combining the best Real Madrid and Barça talents would likely beat Barcelona 2010 despite missing Lionel Messi fot that reason.

Your thoughts?
Iker-Ramos-Pique-Puyol-Capdevila-Busquets-Xabi-Xavi-Iniesta-Villa-Torres/Pedro

Valdes-Dani Alves-Pique-Puyol-Abidal-Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta-Messi-Pedro-Zlatan/Villa

Noooooo-pe.
 

Siorac

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Team would show up huge weakness in Pep's Barca sides as Mourinho did in 2010 with Inter.
What huge weaknesses?

Inter got a nice enough win in Milan after Barcelona had been forced to travel by bus because of the Icelandic volvcano and then hung on for dear life at the Camp Nou. They were also an offside call away from getting knocked out.

I mean, well done and all but it was incredibly close and definitely not evidence of some gaping weaknesses in that Barca side.
 

Michaelf7777777

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I think whether a great club team or a similar great national team is stronger depends on the transfer structure (both in terms of rules and what generally happens of the country concerned). In situational contexts where transfers from abroad are very rare if they happen at all (e.g. the USSR) then the national team will generally be stronger (or at least even) than the club tem it is based on. This is the case because the players who are the best in the country in their position will be included in the national team as well so there is no difference in those positions while in positions where the club team player is not the best in the country, the other player is included in the national team. An example of this is the comparison between Dynamo Kiev and the USSR national team under Lobanovski in 1986 where 9 of the outfield players of the national team played for Dynamo Kiev but the national team had a large improvement because Rinat Dasayev was the goalkeeper instead of Viktor Chanov. This can also be the case when all of the star players in a great club side are of the same nationality. An example of this would be comparing the great Bayern Munich and West Germany teams of the 70's where all of the great Bayern players (Maier, Muller, Beckenbauer, Breitner and Schwarzenbeck) were also in the West German national team who also had other greats in Overath, Netzer, Bonhof, Vogts and Overath.

On the other hand, when the transfer system in a country is such that the important players on a great club team feature multiple nationalities it is more likely that the club team will be greater than the national team. An example of this would be comparing Guardiola's Barcelona to Vicente Del Bosque's Spain where the inclusion of non-Spainards (particularly Messi and Dani Alves) made Barcelona the better team. This is particularly the case as club teams spend more and more money on transfers and scouting as it makes it more likely that the great club team can sign someone from abroad to cover a position where their country has no great players which is not an option that national teams have. An example of this, using the Barcelona and Spain example again, is that prior to the emergence of Jordi Alba, the Spanish national team had a weakness at LB which was not a problem that Barcelona had due to the signing of Eric Abidal from Lyon.
 
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TGK

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Have to have a mention for the Ajax and subsequently the Dutch team of the 70's. 'Total football' named after them and spawned a whole new system which Ajax and then later Barcelona had huge success with.

They lost the big one twice, but two World Cup Finals in two continents on the bounce isn't a bad effort.

Somehow feels more influential than Brazil '58 to '70. Not sure why but it does.
 

harms

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Real Madrid of 1950s would likely not beat Pelé's Brazil, no club side from the 1980s would beat Maradona's Argentina, etc. The best club side in the Champions League era must be Guardiola's Barça but they were probably not even as good as Spain 2010.
Those are some truly weird statements. Maradona's Argentina was not a great-great team, it was a decent defensive side with probably the best attacking player of all-time leading them. The same can be said for Napoli, for example. But when you look at the club football of the 80's, you have Sacchi's AC Milan with the back four of Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta and Tassotti, Rijkaard in midfield and Gullit & van Basten up front; you have Juventus with the backline of Scirea, Brio, Gentile and Cabrini; Tardelli and Platini in midfield & Boniek with Rossi up front. Those are the teams stacked with an all-time greats in every position, even though each one of Platini, Gullit & van Basten would be a bit less influential individually than Maradona.

Spain of 2010 was not an all-conquering machine, it was a boring and uncreative side that had to rely on Villa's magic to get the results. They were effective and their possession-oriented style meant that the opponents had very little chance of doing anything threatening, but the time when the GD was more than +1 was in the game against Honduras. Pep's Barcas, be in the 08/09 or the 10/11 version, were incredible teams that scored an insane amount of goals as well as providing almost the same level of possession-based defensive control.
 

harms

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  1. Sacchi's AC Milan
  2. Pep's Barca
  3. That's where it gets very hard. Probably the 1970 Brazil.
 

totaalvoetbal

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The team that is consistently regarded as the greatest club team of all time and the best team Ajax team of my lifetime. The reference for almost all the greatest teams that came after them. 3 European Cup's whilst competing with the legendary Feyenoord side and also winning a 'treble'.

In the modern era, Pep Guardiola's Barcelona is the 'best' team I have seen by some distance. Their influence on the modern game cannot be understated.

The Dutch team in the 1974 World Cup is still the best national team I have ever seen.

It should be noted that it is too difficult to compare teams across all eras directly as the rules, fitness of players and general tactical environment are completely different.