After getting a severe fright by their neighbours, Real Madrid went on to finally claim their elusive 10th European Cup. One has to feel sorry for Atleti as they were desperately close to their greatest moment, but it has been a great season for the club and winning the La Liga title is a good consolation prize.Real Madrid have been the best team in the competition and fully deserve their crown as Europe’s best, but who have been the best teams in the history of the European Cup?
5. Ajax 1-0 AC Milan (1995)
Manchester United will be hoping Louis Van Gaal can give them a team as good as he made this Ajax team. This was a special and unique side that tied in with the Ajax school of total football that made them the envy of Europe in the 1970s. They were blessed with a mixture of experience and youth containing astonishing talented footballers such as Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Frank Rijkaard, Danny Blind, Marc Overmars and Edgar Davids just to name a few.
This Ajax side were dominant domestically winning three Dutch titles in a row. Their Champions League triumph was even more impressive in that they beat arguably the greatest AC Milan team of all time who also feature in this top five.
4. Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (1999)
Possibly Ferguson’s greatest team, this treble-winning side will forever hold a special place in Manchester United history thanks to their never-say-die attitude. Peter Schmeichel manned the sticks, a Dane considered to be one of the best goalkeepers of the modern era. Players from the Class of ’92 such as Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were led by inspirational captain Roy Keane. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole formed a terrific strike partnership and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham weren’t bad either, as Bayern Munich so cruelly found out.
So many iconic moments come to mind, such as Roy Keane’s incredible performance in Turin. However, the last three minutes in the final against Bayern were incredible and summed up this United team.
3. AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona (1994)
This was one of the most successful periods in AC Milan’s illustrious history as they won three Serie A titles back-to-back and reached three Champions League Finals in a row. Despite losing two of the finals, the 1994 final win against Barcelona will live long in the memory.
A fantastic Barcelona team were strong favourites coming into the game but they were well and truly put to the sword by the greatness of this Milan team. The side was built on defensive brilliance with players such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta. Marcel Desailly and Dejan Savicevic starred in midfield while Marco Van Basten was one of the main men up top. One of the best performances in a European Cup final ever by Capello’s men.
2. Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (2011)
Everyone is familiar with Pep Guardiola’s special Barcelona side. They are very unlucky not to be number one, as they are undoubtedly the greatest team of the modern era. This side produced some breathtaking football with their tiki-taka style. The genius of Xavi and Andres Iniesta was a joy to behold.
However, the star of the show was Lionel Messi who will go down as one of the best players to ever grace the game. We were very lucky to witness this Barcelona side. They may be in transition at the moment and it seems that tiki-taka football is not the answer anymore but this wasn’t the case between 2009 and 2011. The 2011 final win against Manchester United saw the Blaugrana at the peak of their powers.
1. Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt (1960)
Most people will not have seen this Real Madrid team but the general belief by the older generation is that this was the greatest club team of all time. They were certainly the most successful having won the first five European Cups, it is hard to see any other team winning five European Cups in a row ever again.
The Real Madrid attack of this era is spoken of in god like terms, led by the famous Alfredo Di Stefano. The Hungarian, Ferenc Puskas, is regarded as one of the best players to ever play. Francisco Gento and French playmaker RaymonKopa were also very highly regarded. Their 7-3 victory in 1960, the last of their five in a row, is commonly considered as one of the greatest football matches of all time and most frightening display of attacking football by this Madrid team.
Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena.