It’s a question that is asked constantly – what are the top 10 football clubs in the world?
This is a question that inevitably leads to a debate as old as the sport of football itself. Fans of all football clubs will passionately argue that their club is the best in the world. Not only that, they’ll also give you a list of reasons, reasonable or not, for it being the case! It does pose an interesting question though – what makes a football club the biggest and best?
There are many factors to take into account when considering which club in the world is the biggest and/or best. For example, a club that makes the most money would have to be up there right? But what about fans? Do they have a worldwide fanbase? Success on the field is just as important. Surely the biggest club in the world will have to have won a fair amount of trophies, right?
In this list, we’ve tried to take everything into account and put together the top 10 football clubs in the world. See if you agree with our list and where you’d make some changes.
10. Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund may surprise many with their place in this list, but hear us out. Dortmund are the second biggest club in Germany at the time of writing. Although Stuttgart have won one more league title, Dortmund have finished runners-up on more occasions. They’ve also been the team to push Bayern Munich more than most in the German Bundesliga. They are the epitome of a “what if” club.
In terms of nurturing young talents and turning them into world superstars, nobody does it better than Dortmund. Their issue has always been keeping hold of those players. They are synonymous with losing their biggest talents to rivals Bayern, but have made huge profits selling their assets in the past. The latest stars that the footballing elite have their eyes on are Erling Braut Haaland and Jude Bellingham. Expect plenty of interest in those two in next summer’s transfer window.
They have a Champions League trophy to their name and regularly reach the knockout stages of the competition. We feel they are deserving of their place at number 10 in this list.
9. Manchester City
This probably won’t go down well with the Manchester City fans out there. City have dominated the Premier League, winning three of the last four, but are yet to do it in Europe. Pep Guardiola’s men did reach the final of the 2020/21 Champions League, but were beaten by Chelsea. That’s the closest the Manchester club has come so far to winning Europe’s biggest prize.
If City can continue to perform well in the Champions League and keep competing in the Premier League, they could move up this list. As it is, they’re included in this list due to their dominance of English football in recent years. It remains to be seen what’s in store for Manchester in the post-Guardiola era, but it is worrying for the club. For the time being, City are still able to attract some of the world’s biggest stars.
That will help them to continue to challenge both domestically and in Europe for the next few years. After that, who knows? We may see City move right up the list, or fall off of it completely…
Juventus’ historic European success is what sees them ahead of Manchester City in this list. The Italian giants have two Champions League titles to their name, the most recent coming in 1996. The Old Lady also have three UEFA Cups and two UEFA Super Cups under their belts in the clubs honours list. That record puts them ahead of most clubs in Europe in terms of stature as a club. Ironically, many will be more familiar with the team of the 2000s that didn’t manage to win the European Cup.
The Bianconeri have won a whopping 36 Italian Serie A titles, along with 14 Coppa Italias and nine Supercoppa Italianas. That makes them one of the most successful teams domestically in this list. They have fierce local support, but are also followed all over Europe and the rest of the world. From 2001-2018, Juventus had the same first choice goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. Unsurprisingly, Buffon is a club legend. He recently left the club to end his career at Parma, the club where it all began back in 1995.
It’s well known that the Juventus fans crave another Champions League title. Since their last victory, they have lost five Champions League finals. Not even having Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin was enough to win the coveted trophy. Ever the bridesmaid, will they ever win Europe’s biggest trophy again?
7. Paris Saint-Germain
France’s most successful football club, PSG, enters the list in seventh place here. For all of their domestic success, however, they’re yet to land a major European trophy. Had they managed a couple of Champions League or Europa League titles, they could have been higher in this list. As it stands, they’re still in a respectable place here. They have one of the world’s richest owners and have some of the world’s biggest stars in their ranks in the form of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr. PSG’s acquisition of Lionel Messi in the summer of 2021 is one that they hope will propel them into success in Europe.
The Parisians took a major step in the right direction in the 2019/20 season, when they made it to the Champions League final. It wasn’t to be for PSG though, as fate had a hand to play in the match. Former PSG forward Kingsley Coman scored the winning goal to hand Bayern Munich their sixth Champions League title. They also reached the semi-finals of the competition in the 2020/21 season under Mauricio Pochettino.
With Lionel Messi now in the team, PSG will be expected to reach the final of the Champions League. Anything less than that could be seen as a failure for this squad.
Chelsea are where Manchester City could be in a few years’ time as a club. The Blues were just another club in the Premier League until billionaire Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003. Claudio Ranieri was unable to deliver success after £100m spent, and so he was replaced by Jose Mourinho. It was to be the beginning of a new era for Chelsea Football Club. Under Mourinho, Chelsea enjoyed instant success, winning their first championship title in over 50 years. They also became just the fifth team since the second world war to win back to back league titles.
Since Abramovic’s takeover, Chelsea have won five Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, two Champions Leagues and two Europa Leagues among others. Their success spawned a new generation of fans from across Europe and the rest of the world. They’re now very much considered as one of the biggest clubs in England and are consistently challenging both domestically and in Europe.
If they can continue to compete over the five to ten years, they could find themselves moving up this list.
Barcelona are currently going through a massive period of transition in their history. If this list was being compiled ten years ago, Barca would be in the top two. As it stands, their dominance both domestically and in Europe has slipped. To make things worse for the club, they lost their biggest asset in Lionel Messi due to their financial issues. That has now left the club in a state of limbo and, frankly, their fortune could go either way. The next few years will be critical for the future of this football club. Their worldwide fanbase will be hoping that they can bounce back from the issues that they’re currently facing.
Barca maintain their place on this list due to their vast and illustrious history when it comes to winning trophies. The Catalans have 26 La Liga titles, as well as 31 Copa del Reys and 13 Supercopa de Españas, the latter two being Spanish records. In Europe, Barca have won the Champions League five times, the UEFA Super Cup five times and the FIFA Club World Cup three times.
Barcelona has one of the biggest and most passionate fan bases in world football. Each one will be hoping that they can come out the other side of this tricky period.
England’s second most successful club in terms of domestic league titles, Liverpool won’t surprise anyone with their inclusion here. The Reds have 19 English league titles to their name, as well as seven FA Cups, and eight League Cups. They’ve done it in Europe too, winning six Champions Leagues, three UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups. There aren’t many clubs with as rich a history as Liverpool FC and that’s why they found themselves so high up on our list here.
Being a successful club also attracts worldwide fans and Liverpool’s international following is up there with the best. Fans from around the world visit the city of Liverpool every year for a chance to sample the famous Anfield atmosphere. Even when the club were “struggling” between the 1990s and 2000s, they still managed to win trophies. That’s the sign of a top class club that will probably forever remain near the top of these types of lists.
If they can secure a few more league titles in the coming years, they could easily move up this list. Reds fans would no doubt love to knock Manchester United off their “perch”, in the infamous words of Sir Alex Ferguson.
3. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich are Germany’s most successful football club. The Bavarians have had the monopoly on the German Bundesliga in the 21st century. Since the year 2000, Bayern have won 15 league titles, winning every title since the year 2013. If they win it in 2022, that will be ten straight leagues for Bayern. Their run has taken their total to a massive 31 league titles overall, a German record. It’s not just domestically where Bayern have excelled either, their European record also holds up to scrutiny.
The German juggernauts have won six Champions League titles in their illustrious history. In the year 2020, Bayern won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup treble. They were already one of the biggest clubs in the world, but that treble certainly hasn’t hurt their cause. They never have any issues attracting some of the world’s top players to Munich and often get them for free.
Their transfer strategy of taking the best players from Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig is one of pure genius. They simultaneously strengthen their own side, while weakening that of their rivals. It’s part of the reason that Bayern are so dominant in Germany.
2. Manchester United
From a financial standpoint, Manchester United are one of the most valuable football clubs in the world. That immediately has them high up in this list, however their achievements on the pitch only strengthen their case. The Red Devils are England’s most successful club, with 20 league titles to their name. That 20th title in 2013, was Sir Alex Ferguson’s parting gift from the club. United haven’t managed to win a Premier League trophy since their legendary manager retired, but have continued to amass others. The club has 12 FA Cups, five League Cups and a massive 21 Community Shields to its name. As with all of the teams near the top of this list, United also have an impressive European honours list.
The red side of Manchester will be quick to remind City fans that they have three Champions League titles. They also have a Europa League title, won in 2017, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a European Super Cup. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise that Manchester United has a massive world wide fan base. They’re particularly well known in China, which sees them rake in some of the biggest shirt sale numbers in the world.
Red Devils fans are craving for their team to be competing for the Premier League title again. With Cristiano Ronaldo back at the club, that may become a reality…
1. Real Madrid
It’s so close between Real Madrid and Manchester United for the top spot here, but Madrid just edges it. In terms of international profile, the two clubs are nearly identical. Madrid cultivated a massive North and South American following during the early 2000s due to their infamous Galacticos team. The team, made up of the world’s best and most expensive players, captured the imagination of football fans all over. To be top of this list, you need more than just a massive, worldwide fan base though. You need to be doing it on the pitch too, and nobody has done that better than Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are Spain’s most successful club, with 34 La Liga titles to their name. They also have 19 Copa del Reys and 11 Supercopa de Españas in their honours list. When it comes to Europa, Real Madrid are the kings. They have a total of 13 Champions League titles, more than any other club, to their name. AC Milan are the next closest club on seven titles, which shows just how far ahead Madrid are. Under manager and former player Zinedene Zidane, Real won three consecutive Champions Leagues between 2016 and 2018. The first club to do so since the European Cup was rebranded in the early 90s.
With a worldwide following, unprecedented success on the field and the highest club value in world football, it’s no surprise Real Madrid top this list.
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