Naming the ten most successful soccer clubs of all time has been an arduous task, but courtesy of the sports news site TheSportsToday.com, we have narrowed the selection down based on titles won, their global fanbase and historical success.
Let’s take a quick look at the list.
Since its humble beginnings in 1900, Ajax developed into one of the best clubs in European soccer in the 20th century, let alone the Eredivisie.
Among a host of European trophies, the Lancers have won four Champions Leagues and are the only side in Europe to have won all major European titles.
In addition to their eye-catching continental success, Ajax also boast 35 Eredivisie triumphs and 20 KNVB Cup trophies, far more than any other side in the history of the Netherlands’ soccer.
From Johan Cruyff through Marco van Basten to Dennis Bergkamp, the Amsterdam powerhouse have produced some of the brightest talents in the history of European soccer.
#9 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund’s style of football has made them one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in Europe, but the club’s history dates way back to 1909.
Though BVB are lagging behind arch-rivals Bayern Munich in terms of domestic and international honours, they have lifted numerous accolades throughout their illustrious history.
Indeed, a tally of eight Bundesliga crowns, five DFB-Pokals, six DFL-Supercups, one European Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one Intercontinental Cup highlights Dortmund’s status as European greats.
Plus, Borussia’s famous ‘Yellow Wall,’ a spellbinding sight in the south stand of their home venue, is something rarely seen on other stadiums across Europe.
Chelsea’s rise to stardom coincided with Roman Abramovich’s mega-money takeover back in 2003, but the Blues’ first title in England’s top-flight dates back to 1954/55.
However, since the Russian billionaire purchased the club in the early 2000s, the Londoners have developed into one of the top clubs in England and Europe.
Apart from five Premier League titles and numerous domestic accolades, Chelsea have conquered the Champions League twice, adding two Europa League trophies and a couple of UEFA Super Cups to the tally.
On that basis, it comes as no surprise that their worldwide fan base is growing each passing day.
#7 AC Milan
AC Milan may have experienced a downfall following Silvio Berlusconi’s trophy-laden era in the ’90s and the early ’00s. But they are still one of the most prominent soccer clubs on the planet.
Only Inter Milan and Juventus are superior to the Rossoneri when it comes to the Serie A crowns, with the San Siro outfit racking up 18, coupled with five Coppa Italias and seven Supercoppa Italiana titles.
Yet, no other Italian side can compare with Milan on the continental level, with the Red and Blacks acquiring seven Champions League trophies, more than all other domestic rivals combined.
Indeed, Milan’s name in the worldwide audience still carries significant weight despite the club’s recent struggle.
Juventus have won fewer Champions League trophies than Milan, but there is a good reason they are ahead of the Rossoneri on this list.
The Bianconeri have won Serie A 36 times, only one less than Inter and Milan combined, as they are by far the most successful Italian club in domestic action.
Moving outside the Italian borders, the Turin heavyweights have two Champions League titles to their name, though it is worth noting that their last continental success dates back to 1995/96.
Juventus’ supporter base beats all other Italian teams by a fair margin, while they have also contributed more players to Italy’s national team than any of their domestic opponents.
Liverpool are not considered among the top three most successful clubs in English soccer by accident.
The Reds have won everything there is to win on the domestic front, including 18 Premier League titles.
The list goes on, with the Merseyside giants dominating other domestic competitions throughout their rich history, including seven FA Cups, eight League Cups, 15 Community Shields, and one League Super Cup.
What’s more, per research, Liverpool have around 550 million supporters worldwide, with only Manchester United (600) boasting more.
#4 Bayern Munich
When it comes to German soccer, no team can compare with Bayern Munich, who have earned a household status in the world for a good reason.
Despite playing more European Cup/Champions League finals than any other side in the competition’s history, the Bavarians have ‘only’ five titles to their name.
But in Germany alone, the Munich-based side have been a force to be reckoned with since its foundation in 1900, clocking up a staggering 31 Bundesliga titles.
Additionally, they have established a long-term dominance of domestic proceedings barely seen in European soccer before, having won the league in each of the last nine seasons.
#3 Manchester United
Even folks who have no interest in soccer are familiar with the meaning of Manchester United across the globe, and it is no surprise.
In addition to being the most valuable soccer club on the planet, with the largest fan base, the Red Devils boast an astonishing record in both England and Europe.
A haul of 20 Premier League titles, 12 FA Cups, five League Cups and 21 FA Community Shields sums up Man United’s status as the world’s supreme power in a nutshell.
But it stretches beyond the English borders, with the Old Trafford side having three Champions League crowns, one Cup Winners’ Cup, Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup apiece decorating their trophy cabinet.
Arguably one of the most widely supported teams on the planet, Barcelona boast probably the largest social media following in the world among soccer clubs.
The Catalans have earned that attention since setting the ball rolling in 1899, winning almost every major trophy in both Spain and Europe throughout their 121-year-long history.
The Camp Nou outfit have 26 La Liga crowns, 31 Copa del Rey titles and 13 Supercopa de Espana trophies under their belt, with the latter two representing absolute records in Spanish soccer.
But it does not stop there, with Barcelona also acquiring the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup five times each to confirm their status as a European force.
#1 Real Madrid
Estimated to be worth €3.8 billion, Real Madrid have been the second highest-earning soccer club on the planet for years while having one of the world’s largest supporter bases.
Domestically, Los Blancos have amassed 67 trophies, including a record-breaking 34 La Liga titles and 19 Copa del Rey crowns.
If Madrid’s domestic success amazes you, then what to say about their European glory that contains 26 international titles, including 13 in the Champions League alone.
An unprecedented run of three consecutive Champions League triumphs between 2015/16 and 2017/18, accompanied by plenty of domestic and continental success this century, probably the best illustrates the club’s household status.