What is the greatest ever decade for players and teams?

What was the best decade ever?


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Fortitude

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Right, with the CL over and done with, that's the decade pretty much wrapped up as I don't believe the Copa America will change opinions on anyone else who has merit for this thread, so with that said, what are peoples' teams of the '10's? as it was the one most contested in the OP.
 

steve zizou

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I disagree with a few points but good read regardless. Thanks for the effort.

You should make a Medium post.
I agree. This is just too much quality for Redcafe. We just want to know when DeLigt is going to sign!!:drool:
 

JamesB__

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Right, with the CL over and done with, that's the decade pretty much wrapped up as I don't believe the Copa America will change opinions on anyone else who has merit for this thread, so with that said, what are peoples' teams of the '10's? as it was the one most contested in the OP.
Buffon
Lahm - Ramos - Pique - Marcelo
Xavi - Modric - Iniesta
Messi - Suarez - Ronaldo
It’s Spain heavy yeah but they’ve dominated the Champions League and four of the players won two international titles at the beginning of the decade too. Suarez made a name for himself at the 2010 World Cup and is still the centre forward for one of Europe’s top sides today.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Can't say before 90s, no memories of all the decades.

So only among three options: 90's, 00's and 10's, I have to say the 90's are the best.

Mostly because that's the last period of time where football had plenty of footballers with strong characters dominating games, basically characters are primary and systems are secondary, both played big part of course in the football in that time. That kind of football actually continues on to the early to mid years of 00's but eventually football changes to a more emphasize on system than individuals, plus growing depletion of players with characters that is progressing nicely to the decade we're in now which I find so lacking in characters and felt more robotic. Not saying there's no more, there's still very few countable players with characters now, but they're like dying breed. Football now is still fun but felt too "empty" tbh.

00's is an interesting dynamic shift with many managers, players, teams and clubs making big changes/strong marks everywhere, in club and national football.

10's is overall quite boring. My love towards football is diminishing. Just fleeting awesome moments now and then in football but often short term, to piqued my interests.
 

harms

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Neuer
Alves - Godin - Ramos - Marcelo
Schweinsteiger
Xavi - Iniesta
Messi - Suarez - Ronaldo​

Notable omissions: De Gea, Robben, Neymar, Hazard, Ribery, Modric, Lahm, Kroos, Busquets

Something like this, perhaps? Although Xavi & Iniesta's peak was right on the verge of the decades. On peak level van Dijk can probably make it to the bench — but he needs a few more seasons to fully establish himself; he can probably have a shot at getting to the 20's team.

Edit: just noticed that it's only 1 player away from Fortitude's team in the OP.
 

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Ronaldo & Messi would go in the 2000s list too considering both won a Ballon D’or in that decade and were world class for at least 3 years of the decade.
 

Sir Scott McToMinay

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Bonucci? I'd have Chiellini/Godin/Varane over him easily. Van Dijk too. Even Juventus fans are very critical of Bonucci.
At his best he was fantastic, he’s not the same player anymore.

Godin/Chiellini/Varane are all good choices too, Van Dijk is a bit too early for him, fantastic player no doubt.
Next decade is his decade (maybe).
 

Fortitude

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5. Juventus. 2015-present. Serie A’s massive fall from grace from dominant super league through the late 80’s all the way into the 2000’s had many casualties with Juventus, after AC Milan, being the severest. In the beginning of their rise back to prominence they were seen as a side doing good things in a moderately good league, but their consistency in the last few Champions Leagues has slowly earned them respect to the point some see them as favourites for this year’s competition, especially in light of them signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Madrid’s supposed demise from their own mantel as kings of Europe. Given the 2010’s don’t actually end for another year, should Juventus win the tournament this season, they would place themselves above Atlético above them, but would have to do something more impressive than merely winning the competition to go further up the ranks.


:( Need to be switched out for Liverpool, don't they? I'm asking a rhetorical question here.... aren't I...?
 

harms

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Why not? Won 7 league titles in a row.
Well, so did Barzagli (even more, actually — 8). He wasn't close to his peak level (which would be in the mid 00's), or to the level of peak Neuer/De Gea. Don't get me wrong — Buffon is definitely one of the greatest ever, possibly the greatest, considering his all-round ability, but it's the wrong decade for him.
 

harms

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:( Need to be switched out for Liverpool, don't they? I'm asking a rhetorical question here.... aren't I...?
Why? Juventus had won 8 out of 10 titles and got to 2 CL finals. Liverpool had been runners-up in the league twice (this year was fantastic, granted) and had reached 2 CL finals, winning one against Tottenham. Both Juve and Liverpool lost to very similar Real Madrid sides... but in the second one Juve had to face peak Messi-Neymar-Suarez treble-winning Barca while Liverpool had to beat Tottenham.

I'm not even going to mention national Cups.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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5. Juventus. 2015-present. Serie A’s massive fall from grace from dominant super league through the late 80’s all the way into the 2000’s had many casualties with Juventus, after AC Milan, being the severest. In the beginning of their rise back to prominence they were seen as a side doing good things in a moderately good league, but their consistency in the last few Champions Leagues has slowly earned them respect to the point some see them as favourites for this year’s competition, especially in light of them signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Madrid’s supposed demise from their own mantel as kings of Europe. Given the 2010’s don’t actually end for another year, should Juventus win the tournament this season, they would place themselves above Atlético above them, but would have to do something more impressive than merely winning the competition to go further up the ranks.


:( Need to be switched out for Liverpool, don't they? I'm asking a rhetorical question here.... aren't I...?
You already know the answer. You are just asking the question to make peace with the answer ;)
 

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Great thread!

For me definitely the 90s, also because I don't know what happened before that. European competitions were amazing and you had a greater variety of clubs actually competing at the highest level, including Eastern European ones like CSKA and Red Star. The '98 WC was arguably the best there has been the last 30 years. More importantly it was before the sugar daddies entered the scene, and the massive TV deals, and tore the soul out of football.

Makes me sound like a nostalgic twat, but I miss those days.
 

The holy trinity 68

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Buffon
Lahm - Ramos - Pique - Marcelo
Xavi - Modric - Iniesta
Messi - Suarez - Ronaldo
It’s Spain heavy yeah but they’ve dominated the Champions League and four of the players won two international titles at the beginning of the decade too. Suarez made a name for himself at the 2010 World Cup and is still the centre forward for one of Europe’s top sides today.
Can’t knock that line up but personally I would probably have Ronaldo in the middle instead of Suarez and Neymar out wide.
 

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For me it was the 70s, the sheer chaos and uncertainty of it all - pure madness.
Have to go with the 1960s for sheer quality across the board. The 70s were chaotic, as far as we were concerned, but that decade also spawned the great Bayern and Ajax sides that captured three European Cups apiece. Liverpool won a brace too. Then there was the phenomenal Brazilian team of 1970, the Dutch team of 1974, and the German side that beat them in the final.
 

0161_UNITED

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I’d probably include Arsenal in the best teams, problem is that team stretched from the 90s into the 2000s and it’s tough choose which.

I think the 90s is going to win because of the age of the posters, and because that’s widely regarded as United’s second golden age, but also because the biggest effect on football was international broadcasting. There was a quantum leap that went from just Europeans getting coverage from other European leagues to suddenly the whole world getting exposure - most notably Asia and then the World Cup 94 was the final catalyst that brought European football to the American market.

The 50s, 60s and 70s are going to suffer greatly because of the lack of of footage (I certainly don’t think there’s a lot of it widely available - and if it is I suppose it’s a bit effort to find it and go over it). I always feel like my knowledge of Best, for example, is shaped less by the limited footage I’ve seen than all the stories I’ve heard from all those older gents at the pub who claim they were there, saw him play, and once went on a bender in London with him with some brilliant colourful anecdotes, many of you are probably the same. It’s definitely the 90s for me. Cantona, class of 92, Keegan’s Rant, Gazza’s Tears in WC ‘90, WC 94 is criminally underrated, England were decent in WC ‘98 and that was a good tourney. I totally remember the fixture list coming out and literally circling every Arsenal - United match and thinking through how those 2 fixtures were title deciders. Everything about football has to be viewed through a cloud of disappointment since Fergie retired for me. There are definitely times I think I’ve enjoyed the World Cups and Euros more than United during the Moyes, Van Gaal, and Mourinho era.
 
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Saffron

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The 10’s have been so bad, it’s just a continuation of every club’s narrative arc that they established in the 00’s.

Chelsea are still the same soulless petroclub they were in 2009 but with less money and success now. Arsenal are still the same Arsenal they were in 2009 but an even poorer version now. City are still the same sheik club they were in 2009, just with more success now. Barcelona are still desperately trying to hang on to what they were in 2009. Our decline started in 2009 with the underinvestments after Ronaldo and we are just completing that story arc now. Real Madrid spent the entire decade building a team around a player they bought in 2009. Bayern did the same with Robben who they also bought in 2009.

And now that we’re moving into a post-Ronaldo, post-Messi decade with Neymar and Mbappe wasting away in a farmers league I reckon the 20’s will be just dreadful.
 
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SharpshooterTom

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Whether or not its the greatest decade in terms of quality is debatable but I do think the 90s was the most 'fun' decade in the sport, at least for me anyway.

The pitches were better than the ones in the 60s/70s/80s, but not as good as today. The football was not quite as pure possession as today, but there was a nice overall balance to it giving it an authentic feel from being too slow and devoid of quality like Pele's era, but not obsessively acting like Spain of 08'.

A mixture of some very technical skillful play and a quite a bit of old English fashioned direct play with a fast tempo gave it an exciting edge.

Also we didn't have the era of super teams amassing 100+ points. League's were being won with around 80 in those days which made a lot individual matches unpredictable and exciting IMO.

I was just want to make it clear that I love ALL decades of football. Love old football, and love the game today. Its been the greatest sport in the world since war for reason because its been exciting to many people in the world during each and everyone of those decades and it will continue to be for many more to come.

I'm proud the sport has such and deep and wonderful history.
 

Denis' cuff

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Superb effort and great source of discussion. Well done.

A point that Jack Charlton made, re: the 66 WCF has some merit. He pointed out that the free kick that led to W Germany ‘s equaliser should never have been given. Then there’d have been no discussion about what followed because the game would’ve followed a different course. Then again, we’d have been deprived of that dramatic finish

Also, I must say that Brazil’70 aside, the ‘72 W Germany side with Beckenbauer and Netzer in their pomp was absolutely awesome. I remember England being roundly scolded after losing 1-3 to them at Wembley but really, it was no disgrace to come 2nd to that team.
 

Fortitude

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Why? Juventus had won 8 out of 10 titles and got to 2 CL finals. Liverpool had been runners-up in the league twice (this year was fantastic, granted) and had reached 2 CL finals, winning one against Tottenham. Both Juve and Liverpool lost to very similar Real Madrid sides... but in the second one Juve had to face peak Messi-Neymar-Suarez treble-winning Barca while Liverpool had to beat Tottenham.

I'm not even going to mention national Cups.
So you'd keep it the same? Objectively?
You already know the answer. You are just asking the question to make peace with the answer ;)
Well, I was just thinking it'd be quite hypocritical and unobjective of me to deny them, if they've just taken that spot by merit, but it's hard to say given they didn't win the league, and for some, aren't the best team in their own country despite the back-to-back finals they've reached.

Juventus running roughshod over a gimme league and then coming up short in a proper competition also rings a bit hollow - if I'm honest, I don't know what should be done here and my notion of rhetoric was a bit reactionary given the CL win happened just a day ago (recency bias, perhaps).
 

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Fortitude

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Superb effort and great source of discussion. Well done.

A point that Jack Charlton made, re: the 66 WCF has some merit. He pointed out that the free kick that led to W Germany ‘s equaliser should never have been given. Then there’d have been no discussion about what followed because the game would’ve followed a different course. Then again, we’d have been deprived of that dramatic finish

Also, I must say that Brazil’70 aside, the ‘72 W Germany side with Beckenbauer and Netzer in their pomp was absolutely awesome. I remember England being roundly scolded after losing 1-3 to them at Wembley but really, it was no disgrace to come 2nd to that team.
Thanks!

It's a valid point raised about the FK. I do think the sides were neck-and-neck and the controversy over the win takes a little away from that.

I have to ask, because it's been my own steadfast assertion for a long time now: do you believe the '70 England side to be better than the '66 one? I really do believe that's the greatest England side there ever has been, only bettered by arguably the greatest NT of all time, in a tight game, and even better iteration of West Germany than they faced in '66.
 

harms

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So you'd keep it the same? Objectively?
I'll never be objective towards Liverpool and United, but I see no rational reason to put Liverpool ahead of Juventus — neither in terms of results (a huge, huge difference), consistency (laughable, really), or quality. This Liverpool team is strong, but it's not an all-time great team in my book. It's not the best team in the world — they've barely made it through the group stage of CL and were trashed by an average Barca side (with genius Messi). City performed significantly better than them in the league, although they've, incredibly, managed to keep up with them.

The fact that they've managed to overcome most of those issues, beat Barcelona in one of the greatest comebacks in the competition's history and went toe-to-toe with the ridiculous City side in the league is a testament to them — not only to their luck, but also to their quality, hunger and mentality. But I don't see them as an all-time great side, which is what's required to move Juventus down the list. If, say, Pep's Barcelona or Sacchi's Milan emerged in 2018 and swept everything away, sure. Liverpool had a great season and almost ended up with the big double, but if they were to face peak Juventus from the 10's, I'm not sure that I'd have them as clear favourites.

Football is a weird thing though. Does anyone remember Bayern side of 1999 as an all-time great one? They were on the verge of their own treble, but lost the cup final on penalties and Solskjaer ended their season on 93 minute. If not for one penalty and 2 corners, the perception of that United and Bayern sides would've been completely different. Does it mean that their players became better or worse because of it? No. Same with Liverpool — if they would've managed to win the league as well as the treble, it would've been one of the most incredible achievements in English football which would've instantly elevated them to the best of the best. But they didn't.

So many words for one simple thought.
 

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Bonucci ahead of Chiellini is like having Varane ahead of Ramos or Matip ahead of Van Dijk.

Left back is the worst position of the decade. After Marcelo there aren't really any contenders and Marcelo's prime was pretty short.
 

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Thanks to all who've put in the effort to make this big list.

I've got some gripes with it though ...

I think any 2010s list without Modric is ridiculous. He's the essential part of the team that won 4 CLs in 5 years, a historic 2nd place at WC for Croatia, and a Ballon d'Or on top of that, things that none of the others managed to do in that timespan, I know you'll be saying but look who's already there... which brings up my second point:

Xavi and Iniesta had part 2000s (euro 08, treble 09, even WC 2010 is half and half, since it is after the 2009-10 season) and part 2010, so if we were really counting 2010s Modric would easily take the first spot. Still, even if going by player's careers, he'd at least be a better choice than Schweni.

You conveniently managed to cut Real Madrid's 97-2002 in half (which is 3 CLs in 5 years, but you omitted the first part and just counted the 2000-02 part and called it 2 CLs in 3 years, not only that, you just wrote like 2 lines about it and called it a day, you should've be more thorough to be consistent) but you -again conveniently- didn't cut Barca's 2008-11 into two halves, so it's not consistent with the rules you have already set in other places.

Also one minor mistake with the dates: Heynckes' treble winning side was 2012-13 not 2013-14, the latter is when Ancelotti won the double with Madrid, and probably should be added to that Madrid side for consistency's sake as you've already put some big timespans for certain teams like Juve 1980-86 or Pool 1980-88 although, naturally, there'll be many differences between the first side and the past one (this point is also related to Madrid 97-2002 instead of 2000-02).
 
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Cockney Phil

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Have to go with the 1960s for sheer quality across the board. The 70s were chaotic, as far as we were concerned, but that decade also spawned the great Bayern and Ajax sides that captured three European Cups apiece. Liverpool won a brace too. Then there was the phenomenal Brazilian team of 1970, the Dutch team of 1974, and the German side that beat them in the final.
The 1978 World Cup was not too shabby. The sheer variety of football - like Clough vs Revie - was so unpredictable and the media didn’t yet set the agenda. Money was important but still within the bounds of acceptable.
 

Denis' cuff

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Thanks!

It's a valid point raised about the FK. I do think the sides were neck-and-neck and the controversy over the win takes a little away from that.

I have to ask, because it's been my own steadfast assertion for a long time now: do you believe the '70 England side to be better than the '66 one? I really do believe that's the greatest England side there ever has been, only bettered by arguably the greatest NT of all time, in a tight game, and even better iteration of West Germany than they faced in '66.
The controversy made it all the sweeter for me. In the euphoria at the time it was largely ignored and only in subsequent years it looked questionable. By that time, we probably thought we were due a break anyway, particularly against the Germans. Not sound reasoning but I think that’s the way a lot of us felt. Also, as a youngster at the time, it’s all an emotional ride and the passage of time allows us to be more objective.

Basically, I think the 66 side was better defensively but we probably had a bit more drive going forward in 70, as well as more self belief. Without any bias, I think peak (European Footballer OTY) Charlton carried England to the 66 win, esp his crucial SF brace against many peoples faves, Portugal, but was just beginning to decline in 70. Even so, his substitution clearly had a profound effect on the German comeback in the semi. Gordon Banks was badly missed and many of us felt Stepney would’ve been a better choice than Bonetti, who was criticised for a couple of their goals. I don’t think there was much to choose between either 66 or 70 teams (although the 70 squad looks stronger in hindsight) and frustration in losing that semi 2-0 lead was all the more hard to bear losing Banks and Charlton at crucial points. The beginning of karma swinging Germany’s way.
 
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Feck me, that front six (from the Op)!?

And as much as I'd like to, I can't even make a case for Robson :(

1980's All-Star XI


----------------------------------------------------Van Basten

------------------Maradona-----------------------------------------------------------Gullit

-------------------------------------------------------Platini

-------------------------------------Falcao----------------------------------Matthäus

Junior---------------------Rijkaard---------------------Gerets------------------Scirea

-------------------------------------------------------Shilton
 

harms

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I think any 2010s list without Modric is ridiculous. He's the essential part of the team that won 4 CLs in 5 years, a historic 2nd place at WC for Croatia, and a Ballon d'Or on top of that, things that none of the others managed to do in that timespan, I know you'll be saying but look who's already there... which brings up my second point:

Xavi and Iniesta had part 2000s (euro 08, treble 09, even WC 2010 is half and half, since it is after the 2009-10 season) and part 2010, so if we were really counting 2010s Modric would easily take the first spot. Still, even if going by player's careers, he'd at least be a better choice than Schweni.
Picking Schweiny ahead of Modric is usually a tactical decision. You don't put Modric as a defensive midfielder. Xavi & Iniesta is who he's competing with, and while a lot of their career was in 00's, I'd still say that their peak level over the few first years of this decade was higher. That's arguable though, I have no issues with anyone who'd pick Modric ahead of any of the Barca duo for this.
 

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Picking Schweiny ahead of Modric is usually a tactical decision. You don't put Modric as a defensive midfielder. Xavi & Iniesta is who he's competing with, and while a lot of their career was in 00's, I'd still say that their peak level over the few first years of this decade was higher. That's arguable though, I have no issues with anyone who'd pick Modric ahead of any of the Barca duo for this.
Fair enough.

Still, a midfield of Modric AND Xaviesta would just be bunkers, I don't think anyone would be able to dispossess them ever :drool:
 

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Feck me, that front six (from the Op)!?

And as much as I'd like to, I can't even make a case for Robson :(

1980's All-Star XI


----------------------------------------------------Van Basten

------------------Maradona-----------------------------------------------------------Gullit

-------------------------------------------------------Platini

-------------------------------------Falcao----------------------------------Matthäus

Junior---------------------Rijkaard---------------------Gerets------------------Scirea

-------------------------------------------------------Shilton
Can't beat that.
 

BlackShark_80

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Feck me, that front six (from the Op)!?

And as much as I'd like to, I can't even make a case for Robson :(

1980's All-Star XI


----------------------------------------------------Van Basten

------------------Maradona-----------------------------------------------------------Gullit

-------------------------------------------------------Platini

-------------------------------------Falcao----------------------------------Matthäus

Junior---------------------Rijkaard---------------------Gerets------------------Scirea

-------------------------------------------------------Shilton
no Cabrini, Baresi, Bergomi, and Amoros?
 

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Excellent thread — no idea why I hadn't stumbled across it previously!

Um, can't decide between the '80s and '90s, really — these are the only decades where the attack, midfield and defense are all of a genuinely incredible standard at every single position and you can construct a uniformly robust team, IMO (at least from an All-Time standpoint). The former probably wins it when push comes to shove, but this is like splitting hairs because the margins are extremely fine and a lot of the most illustrious players from that era can't play together, so there's a handicap. Tempted to go with a 3-4-3 for the '80s and 4-4-2 for the '90s, since those base setups were kind of synonymous with the respective decades — though in a head-to-head, it might make more sense to go with a more measured 3-4-1-2 for the latter as well, with Cafú/Carlos out wide (Figo drops out) and a better security blanket through the middle — mostly to repel Maradona and match up man for man.
P.S. The decades don't quite lineup for a couple players in there when you consider peak performance...oh well! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯