Best football teams in the world – ranked

While every club in world football wants to be known as among the best on the planet, a select elite instead dominate the global landscape.

While sides like Real Madrid and Liverpool have long enjoyed success domestically and in Europe, the progression of teams like Manchester City means a new order is being developed around the globe.

Here are 90min’s top football teams in the world.

Kostas FortounisKostas Fortounis

Olympiacos claimed the Europa Conference League trophy / Francois Nel/GettyImages

Olympiacos may have lost out to PAOK in the Super League Greece but they became the first side from the country to win a major European trophy when they defeated Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final.

Ayoub El Kaabi bagged the winner in extra time as a long VAR check saw the club’s fans grow anxious before the strike was confirmed, sparking jubilation in the stands at OPAP Arena.

cole palmercole palmer

Chelsea’s young core are under pressure to deliver / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/GettyImages

Chelsea are yet to show much improvement since Todd Boehly took control of the club. That being said, a late charge did at least help the Blues finish sixth in the Premier League.

Cole Palmer enjoyed an extraordinary first season at Stamford Bridge but the England international will need more help from his teammates if they are to push on.

Diogo Dalot, Bruno FernandesDiogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes

Man Utd saved their season with the FA Cup / Visionhaus/GettyImages

There seems to be little clue over what Manchester United’s style of play is under Erik ten Hag, with the Dutchman not helped by a catastrophic injury list over the 2023/24 term.

However, the Red Devils still showed enough grit and determination to save their season somewhat by winning the FA Cup, downing local rivals Manchester City with a memorable win at Wembley Stadium.

Xavi SimonsXavi Simons

Xavi Simons impressed on loan at Leipzig / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

It was another solid season for RB Leipzig, who reached the Champions League last 16 before being ousted by finalists Real Madrid.

The German side consistently produce young stars with great potential, though it was loanee Xavi Simons who impressed most in Saxony over the 2023/24 season.

Thiago MottaThiago Motta

Bologna were a surprise package in Serie A / Image Photo Agency/GettyImages

Bologna enjoyed a stunning 2023/24 season as manager Thiago Motta implemented a beautiful style of play at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

The Rossoblu can now look forward to their first ever appearance in the Champions League, having only ever played in the European Cup once back in 1964/65.

However, the club faces a massive challenge to keep their impressive squad together, with their manager due to leave at some point this summer.

Alex SandroAlex Sandro

Juventus came third in Serie A / Image Photo Agency/GettyImages

Juventus ambled through another disappointing season in Italy, culminating in Massimiliano Allegri’s combustible departure after their Coppa Italia triumph.

La Vecchia Signora’s squad still lacks the star quality to challenge properly in the Champions League but a title push could arrive in 2024/25 with a move towards a more progressive manager.

Antoine GriezmannAntoine Griezmann

Griezmann is still starring for Atletico Madrid / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

There was to be no La Liga or Champions League challenge from Atletico Madrid in 2023/24, eventually coming fourth in Spain’s top flight.

They messed up the chance to win the Copa del Rey after Barcelona and Real Madrid exited the competition before the semi-final stage, being eliminated themselves by Athletic Club 4-0 over two legs.

However, Diego Simeone’s side managed to beat Los Blancos twice over the course of the season and they’ll be plotting greater improvement next term.

Alexander IsakAlexander Isak

Isak is a star at Newcastle / Robert Cianflone/GettyImages

A ridiculous injury crisis stopped Newcastle United from capitalising on their Champions League qualification, being eliminated at the group stage after being handed a horribly difficult group.

However, the talent at Eddie Howe’s disposal is undeniable, with the likes of Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimareas hauling the Magpies to an eventual finish of seventh in 2023/24.


Monaco have some bright stars / VALERY HACHE/GettyImages

It’s tough for any side to match Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1 but Monaco did enough to finish as the best of the rest in France.

Les Rouge et Blanc have sometimes struggled to avoid being stripped of their best players in transfer windows but their finish of second this time around showed definite improvement with Adi Hutter at the helm.

Angelo StillerAngelo Stiller

Stuttgart enjoyed a stunning 2023/24 campaign / Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

Stuttgart were one of the top stories from the 2023/24 season that few were talking about.

Having preserved their status in the Bundesliga by the barest of margins last time out, the historically significant German outfit secured a Champions League berth for 2024/25.

A stellar summer proved crucial in their swift rise, with leading goalscorer Serhou Guirassy joining the club from Rennes. Angelo Stiller, Deniz Undav and Max Mittelstadt also played leading roles in their debut campaigns.

Ange PostecoglouAnge Postecoglou

Rebuild? What rebuild? / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Many feared the worst for Ange Postecoglou in year one of his Tottenham Hotspur tenure after the Lilywhites lost all-time record goalscorer Harry Kane in the summer.

Succumbing to mid-table obscurity was projected for Spurs but Postecoglou has instead lifted a club off its knees having endured years of pragmatism in the wake of Mauricio Pochettino’s exit.

The Greek-Australian’s gung-ho style certainly isn’t without its flaws but he has helped galvanise the club, even if results tailed off dramatically towards the end of the campaign.

Ademola LookmanAdemola Lookman

Atalanta claimed the 2023/24 Europa League / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Atalanta turned heads with an incredible run during their victorious 2023/24 Europa League campaign.

Master tactician Gian Piero Gasperini led his side to glory in Dublin, having ousted Liverpool during the earlier knockout stages of the competition.

Their Serie A form was a little more inconsistent before a strong end to the campaign guaranteed them a top-four finish.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Rafael LeaoRuben Loftus-Cheek, Rafael Leao

Milan improved in the second half of the season / Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

Just when it looked like Milan were again drifting under Stefano Pioli, the Rossoneri burst into life heading into spring.

Superstar Rafael Leao began to dazzle once more, with Milan’s left-hand side continuing to punish the teams that naively surrender space in transition.

Pioli will leave this summer having guided them to a second-place finish in Serie A but their squad remains strong and better things may arrive in 2024/25.

Artem DovbykArtem Dovbyk

Girona mounted a surprise title challenge in Spain / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

Michel’s Girona faded down the final stretch but gave La Liga’s heavy hitters an almighty scare.

Links to the City Football Group mean their story isn’t an archetypal fairytale but Girona’s astute recruitment and Michel’s enthralling ideals can only be celebrated.

Savio, Aleix Gomez and Miguel Gutierrez have all blossomed into coveted stars, while Artem Dovbyk ended the campaign with the Pichichi Trophy after netting 24 goals.

Ezri KonsaEzri Konsa

Unai Emery has unlocked Aston Villa’s potential / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Aston Villa have got the history and financial might to upset the Premier League’s aristocracy, but their attempts to breach the division’s ‘Big Six’ weren’t realised until they appointed Unai Emery as manager in October 2022.

Villa Park is roaring once more with Emery at the helm and qualification for the Champions League made 2023/24 a highly successful campaign, even if they failed in pursuit of Europa Conference League glory.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - BundesligaFC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund recently beat Bayern away for the first time in a decade / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League campaign has carried the load this term.

Edin Terzic’s side were woefully inconsistent domestically. A 1-0 home defeat to Stuttgart just a week after they secured their first victory away at Bayern Munich in almost a decade surmised their frustrating season.

However, BVB have shone in Europe, escaping the ‘Group of Death’ with flying colours and reaching the final after finding themselves on the easier side of the quarter-final draw.

They couldn’t finish the job but it was still a memorable season at Signal Iduna Park.

Fermin LopezFermin Lopez

Barca became something of a laughing stock at the end of 2023/24 / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Barcelona’s La Liga title defence was ultimately a tame one and focus shifted towards manager Xavi’s future during the run-in.

After declaring he was leaving before reneging on that decision, Xavi was sacked after criticising the club’s transfer policy and Hansi Flick will be tasked with reviving their fortunes.

Big things are expected of young stars like Pedri, Gavi and Lamine Yamal, but the off-field chaos must come to an end if success is to return to Catalonia.

Vincent KompanyVincent Kompany

Kompany has replaced Tuchel at Bayern / Adam Pretty/GettyImages

The collective cohesion upon which Bayern Munich have thrived for decades has escaped the latest iteration. Stability has ceased to exist in Bavaria since Hansi Flick left the club after winning the treble in 2020.

Thomas Tuchel was blessed with an array of attacking stars, including sharpshooter Harry Kane, yet his side so often looked short of final third ideas.

The appointment of Vincent Kompany as Tuchel’s successor has left many scratching their heads and a reclamation of the Bundesliga title next term is very far from guaranteed.

Vitinha, Lucas Hernandez, Fabian Ruiz Pena, Kylian Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi, Ousmane DembeleVitinha, Lucas Hernandez, Fabian Ruiz Pena, Kylian Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi, Ousmane Dembele

PSG romped towards another Ligue 1 title / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe era has drawn to a close, with manager Luis Enrique recognising the need to transition to a world without the France superstar.

Mbappe’s long goodbye included disappointment in the Champions League as they were defeated by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals, but there’s no denying the French side are as cohesive collectively as they have been in years.

Domestic success was never in doubt this term thanks to Enrique’s arrival and PSG’s accumulation of supreme French talent, but success in Europe continues to evade them.

Jurgen Klopp, Wataru EndoJurgen Klopp, Wataru Endo

Liverpool won one trophy in Klopp’s last season / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Jurgen Klopp’s last Liverpool team wasn’t as ferocious or defensively stable as their unit that won the Premier League and Champions League, but the Reds still proved strong enough for a third-place finish in 2023/24.

The Merseysiders ultimately sent the departing German boss off with triumph in the Carabao Cup, having fallen out of league title contention, but the foundations are in place for Arne Slot to build a new era at Anfield.

Federico Dimarco, Lautaro Martinez, Benjamin PavardFederico Dimarco, Lautaro Martinez, Benjamin Pavard

Inter’s stock took a hit after their Champions League exit / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Oh, Inter.

Unfortunate to have been beaten in Istanbul by Man City, they were the dark horses to go all the way in Europe this term. However, the Nerazzurri succumbed to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

Their premature Champions League exit means it’s hard to justify placing them any higher, but Inter’s brilliance can’t be ignored. They dominated a mightily competitive Serie A, with Simone Inzaghi maximising the potential of what might appear a fairly underwhelming squad in terms of talent.

Mikel ArtetaMikel Arteta

Arsenal are hunting a first Premier League title in 20 years / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Arsenal may well be the most impressive team of 2024, backing up their novelly superb 2022/23 campaign with another title charge in 2023/24.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Mikel Arteta this term, but the Spaniard has found a formula which has allowed the Gunners to compete on a level footing with not only the Premier League’s best but the continent’s elite, too.

Arsenal recorded the fifth-best defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues and are capable of suffocating opponents into submission at a canter. They’ve evolved into a formidable unit under Arteta, but their performances in the Champions League suggest they’re still a year or two away from the apex of this cycle.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v TSG Hoffenheim - BundesligaBayer 04 Leverkusen v TSG Hoffenheim - Bundesliga

Bayern Munich’s dethroners / Ralf Ibing – firo sportphoto/GettyImages

It was always going to take something special to dethrone Bayern Munich.

A pragmatic start to his tenure saw Xabi Alonso get Bayer Leverkusen out of the mire last season and the Spaniard has since taken the club to new heights.

Leverkusen have not merely taken advantage of Bayern’s demise, they ended the Bundesliga season unbeaten as they won the title.

Alonso’s flying wing-backs, balanced pivot and masterful creators have coalesced to create an outstanding unit.

Pep Guardiola, Jack GrealishPep Guardiola, Jack Grealish

Man City remain the team to beat in England / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Questions were raised in regards to Man City’s motivation for 2023/24 having reached the pinnacle in Istanbul.

Pep Guardiola secured the club’s primary goal of winning away at Tottenham and then powered their way to an unprecedented fourth-straight English league title, even if their Champions League hopes were dashed by Real Madrid.

The absences of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez have added a hint of chaos to the Cityzens to their detriment. They’ve appeared more vulnerable as a result this season, but they remain the team to beat in England.

Real Madrid win 2024 UEFA Champions League trophy, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in finalReal Madrid win 2024 UEFA Champions League trophy, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in final

Real Madrid claimed the Champions League in 2023/24 / Anadolu/GettyImages

Real Madrid’s humiliation at the Etihad and Karim Benzema’s subsequent departure forced Carlo Ancelotti into a rethink, but the club have responded in a big way this season.

Jude Bellingham was the star of the season’s opening half, with Vinicius Junior blossoming after Christmas. Rodrygo has shone in his compatriot’s absence, while the well-balanced engine room has brought enough stability.

Madrid are far from perfect without the ball, but Ancelotti’s masterful empowering of his individual stars led Los Blancos to another La Liga title and a 15th Champions League trophy.


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