The 50 greatest teams ever ranked by stats

Pep Guardiola is the proud owner of the two greatest teams in football history.

Well, at least, that’s according to statistics with the Manchester City manager having held the reins of the 2012 Barcelona and 2014 Bayern Munich sides that have conquered all other male squads.

Guardiola is already revered as one of the greatest managers in history for his uncanny ability to win trophy after trophy after trophy and now the data has given him a major argument in the GOAT debate.

Pep Guardiola shines in statistical ranking

Over at, a complex algorithm is used to rank the greatest male teams in history with the peak of their ‘Elo Rating’ comparing the sides by how incredible they truly became in their prime.

You can read more about how the totals are calculated here, but the moral of the story is that it measures a team’s capacity to beat another in direct competition with only one value per club at any one time.

So, if we’re being truly accurate then the data shows that Guardiola’s Barcelona side on April 15th, 2012, is the greatest in history, followed by his Bayern team on March 26th just two years down the line.

And with the rankings factoring in teams from across footballing history, whether that be the Real Madrid sides of the 1960s or Hungarian outfits of the 1950s, it really is nothing to be sniffed at.

Who is the greatest Premier League manager? (Football Terrace)

50 greatest football teams in history

As such, we figured that it only made sense to put Guardiola’s remarkable achievement into perspective by checking out what the algorithm believes to be the 50 best teams in history down below – check it out:

50. Paris Saint-Germain (2020)

49. Villarreal (2008)

48. Barcelona (2000)

47. Paris Saint-Germain (2016)

46. Inter Milan (1990)

45. Sevilla (2007)

Sevilla’s Renato Dirnei Florencio celebrates his goal against Real Madrid during their Spanish Super Cup final second leg soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid August 19, 2007. REUTERS/Victor Fraile (SPAIN)

44. Liverpool (1973)

43. Borussia Monchengladbach (1976)

42. Torino (1948)

41. Tottenham Hotspur (2017)

40. Bayern Munich (2001)

Bayern Munich goalie Oliver Kahn waves to supporters as he carries the Champions League trophy upon the team’s arrival at Munich’s city hall May 24, 2001, following their win of the Champions League trophy. German champion Bayern Munich beat Spaion’s Valencia FC in a penalty shoot-out by 5-4 to win the trophy for its fourth time after their last victory 25 years ago.


39. Inter Milan (2008)

38. Lazio (1999)

37. Real Madrid (1987)

36. Manchester United (2001)

35. Manchester United (2021)

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Fulham – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – May 18, 2021 Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring their first goal with Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw as a fan displays a “Glazers Out” banner Pool via REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

34. AC Milan (2006)

33. Ajax (1995)

32. Chelsea (2014)

31. Lyon (2006)

30. Liverpool (1979)

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – AUGUST 11: David Johnson of Liverpool waves during the 1979 FA Charity Shield match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by Duncan Raban/Allsport/Getty Images)

29. Budapest Honved (1956)

28. Arsenal (2008)

27. Bayern Munich (1980)

26. Inter Milan (1965)

25. Juventus (2006)

Juventus’ Pavel Nedved of Czech Republic (L), Alessandro del Piero (C) and French Patrick Vieira celebrate a goal against Werder Bremen during their Champions League first knockout round first leg soccer match in Bremen February 22, 2006. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

24. Ajax (1973)

23. Liverpool (1990)

22. Juventus (1995)

21. Valencia (2004)

20. Chelsea (2021)

Soccer Football – Champions League Final – Manchester City v Chelsea – Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal – May 29, 2021 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League Pool via REUTERS/Susana Vera

19. Real Madrid (2001)

18. Bayern Munich (2013)

17. Hamburg (1980)

16. FC Porto (2011)

15. Liverpool (2008)

2008 08 05T120000Z 940548657 GM1E48607MM01 RTRMADP 3 SOCCER
Liverpool’s Xavi Alonso is congratulated by teammates Alvaro Arbeloa (L) and Fernando Torres (R) after a goal against Valerengas during their friendly soccer match at Ullevaal stadium in Oslo August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Knut Falch/Scanpix Norway (NORWAY) NO COMMERCIAL USE. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY. NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

14. Juventus (2018)

13. Barcelona (1960)

12. Atletico Madrid (2016)

11. Manchester United (2008)

10. Chelsea (2008)

2017 04 17T000000Z 118207982 MT1ACI14780350 RTRMADP 3 FOOTBALL
Football – Chelsea v Manchester United 2008 Champions League Final – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – 21/5/08 Chelsea’s John Terry slips and misses a penalty during the shoot out Action Images via Reuters / Michael Regan Livepic

9. MTK Budapest (1955)

8. Manchester City (2019)

7. AC Milan (1993)

6. Bayern Munich (2020)

5. Real Madrid (1961)

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Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas, the inside-left of Real Madrid FC, December 1959. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

4. Liverpool (2020)

3. Real Madrid (2014)

2. Bayern Munich (2014)

  1. Barcelona (2012)
2012 05 05T120000Z 20499364 GM1E8560GV001 RTRMADP 3 BARCELONA
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his fourth goal with coach Pep Guardiola against Espanyol during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona May 5, 2012. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino(SPAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Incredible teams everywhere

Goodness me. It’s hard to keep it all together when you’re scrolling past legendary teams who were stacked with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and more.

Nevertheless, while it’s not expressly stated, we can only assume that just European teams were in contention because it’s certainly curious that, say, the legendary Santos team of Pele’s era is absent.

And the algorithm is by no means perfect when you consider that a trophyless Arsenal side from the 2000s somehow finds themselves above the Budapest Honved team spearheaded by Ferenc Puskas.

2008 10 21T120000Z 2101011623 GM1E4AM0BJ201 RTRMADP 3 SOCCER CHAMPIONS
Arsenal players celebrate their goal against Fenerbahce during their Champions League soccer match at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul October 21, 2008. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)

However, imperfections aside, there’s no denying that it’s a fascinating outlook on what the cold, hard numbers suggest are the greatest ever male sides to play the sport that we love so dearly.

And while you could pick faults in any equation until you’re blue in the face, it can’t be a coincidence that the two teams that ruled them all were both managed by the exact same coach.

Whether you like it or not, there’s no longer any denying that Guardiola is firmly in the conversation for the greatest manager in football history.

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