A few weeks ago we wrote an article outlining what we believed to be the best football stadiums in the world. We, apparently, had a bit to learn about football and seemed to disappoint a number of die-hard fans who had hoped to see their favorite stadiums on the list.
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In order to redeem ourselves, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on what we consider to be the thirteen best football teams in the world as opposed to their home stadiums. Our passion is, after all, for the game and the teams themselves – not the stadiums – right? In NO particular order, here are our favorite football teams!
13. Ajax – Holland
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AFC Ajax was founded back in 1900, making it one of the oldest clubs in Europe. After a rocky start in the early part of the century the tables turned and the club has since earned 29 league titles. The original stadium, “De Meer,” closed in 1996 and the club moved to Amsterdam ArenA where they continue to make football history.
12. Olympique Lyon – France
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Founded in 1950, Olympique Lyon (also known as Olympique Lyonnais or simply OL) club has both male and female football teams. The male team currently holds a French record, having won seven Ligue 1 titles in a row, and fans flock to Stade de Gerland, Lyon regularly to watch home matches.
11. Bayern Munich – Germany
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When the then Schwabinger Bayern first formed, spectators identified them on the field by looking for their straw hats. Today, the modern Bayern Munich is an independent football club followed by millions of fans from all over the globe. Felix Magath, when he was president, took control of the team in 2004 and implemented a strength, conditioning, and skills program that continues to take the team to league title games. The current president of the team is Uli Hoenb.
10. Juventus – Italy
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Juventus, also fondly referred to by fans as Juve, is one of the most successful football teams in Italy’s history. Founded in 1887, the team has won over 51 trophies – 40 in Italy alone and 11 from European and world matches. The club boasts over 170,000,000 fans from around the globe.
9. Liverpool – UK
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The Liverpool Football Club prides itself on excellence despite a rocky start over 100 years ago. When John Houlding took over the club in 1892 there were only three players left, but he eventually grew the team and was able to continue the tradition of football at Anfield – one that has remained ever since. They won their first title in 1901, took their first FA cup in 1965, and took their first European Cup in 1977.
8. Roma – Italy
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A.S. Roma, as the team is formally called, was founded in 1927 and was one of several Italian football teams based out of Rome. The team was actually the result of the merger of several Italian teams- Alba, Fortidudo, and and Pro Roma – because the government wanted to form a strong team for members of the working class to look up to. Roma took the World Cup in 2007 after successfully defeating France.
7. Valencia – Spain
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Back in the early 1900′s entry to see a Valencia football match at Algiros cost a mere 25 cents. The club was new but spirits were high and the original team was chock full of aggressive players like Arturo Montesinos and Eduardo Cubells. The club has a long history of success and continues to grow in popularity!
6. Arsenal – UK
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Fans flock to Emirates Stadium in droves of thousands to watch the Arsenal Football Club play. The club was founded in 1885 but didn’t play its first match until 1893 (while known as Woolrich). They played at Highbury for 93 years before moving to Emirates in 1996.
5. Inter Milan – Italy
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Inter Milan as formed back in 1908 by a group of rebels that called themselves Football Club Internazionale Milano. Why were they rebels? They wanted, unlike the original Milan Cricket and Football Club, to welcome foreign players on their team. Inter Milan won the Italian League title for the first time in 1910 and has a history littered with successes. The club celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2008.
4. Chelsea – UK
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The Chelsea Football Club was formed in 1905 and was honored to be able to officially play its first game in the Football League. Giving Liverpool and Manchester United a run for their money, Chelsea won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006 – something done by very few teams.
3. Real Madrid – Spain
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Real Madrid sprang into existence back in the year 1900 and was immediately established as one of the most talented football clubs in Spain. The team has done nothing but grow, and over the past 8 years they have attracted top players (including Beckham and Ronaldo), won their ninth European Cup, third Intercontinental Cup, and first European Super Cup.
2. Barcelona – Spain
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Hans Gamper founded the Futbol Club Barcelona (aka Barca) back in November of 1899 and the club has continued to grow ever since. Just like every other team in history, Barca has experience both periods of success and failure. The club has earned 18 Spanish League titles and is also the proud owner of two European Cups, won in 1992 and 2006.
1. Manchester United (old Trafford) – UK
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Manchester United has been in existence since 1878 and continues to grow in both skill and popularity. In the last 8 years the club has signed a number of incredible players, including Fabien Barthez and Rio Ferdinand – both of whom played major roles in the club’s wins in the early part of this century.
So what do you think? Did your favorite team make the list? Do you have a favorite football memory including one of these teams that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your stories!