Arguably, there are a lot of teams per decade that were seen as the best football teams ever by some and not so great by others. However, these are only our opinions therefore there can’t be a right or a wrong answer, unless you bring the facts of the clubs, countries and players into account. But lets not forget that over time, football has massively changed. The physicality, technicality, improved medical services and health and safety along with the increased financial capital have helped modern day football completely differentiate itself from the past.
In 1970, Brazil had lifted their third consecutive World Cup in Mexico after beating Italy in the finals. Brazil had some naturally talented and gifted players in Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Rivelino and the goal scoring mechanist Pele. These breed of players have passed down the generations and to date Brazil have constantly continued to be a huge threat in major tournaments. The 1970’s Brazil squad was seen as the best in the world by some because of the beautiful style in which they played, mixed with flair and skill and a catalogue of goals from star striker Pele.
Entering a new decade, the 1980’s era had seen Merseysiders Liverpool win a number of the old English Division title and European Cups. Liverpool had a number of Scottish stars in their team, including Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen. The fluidity in their passing, the itch to score goals and the winning of major silverware had made the 80’s Liverpool squad really memorable.
Liverpool were seen as a dominant force in English football, however local rivals Manchester United, separated apart by 30 miles, had become a real contender for silverware and becoming the best team in England in the 90’s under manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
When Fergie had taken charge of Man Utd in November 1986, he had struggled to adopt to life in English football. However, with all the faith shown in him by the owners and CEO, Sir Alex helped repay that tribute by helping Manchester United win the Premier League and surpassing Liverpool’s record of 18 English Division titles. He also managed to get knighted by the Queen during his illustrative career as manager of Manchester United.
The 1990’s dominant era for Manchester United had been largely produced by the youth system academy, with Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers Gary and Phil playing a huge role in making Manchester United really successful in the 90’s. Ferguson had also acquired the services of Eric Cantona and Roy Keane, and with Euro 92 winner Peter Schmeichel in goal, the United squad looked a formidable outfit and were dubbed by a lot of footballing fanatics as the best ever after that magical night in Barcelona where Man Utd had come from 1-0 down to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 and complete a treble winning season. History was made.
At the start of a new century, it was Arsenal who were seen as a major threat and were named ‘The Invincibles’ after an unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2004. With athletic defenders such as Martin Keown and Sol Campbell in the back, protected by a midfield combined with Pires, Viera and Ljunberg, and world class strikers in Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal were the team to beat as there was no stopping them. They emerged unbeaten throughout the season and had managed to lift the Premier League title under Arsene Wenger once again.
In the latter part of the 2000’s, Catalonians Barcelona had attracted the attention of thousands of football fans with their style of play, their ultra offensive approach towards teams which made teams defend for their lives. A lot of footballing fans, pundits and critics will say that Barcelona in the 2009 season under Pep Guardiola was the best ever squad to grace football because of the creative midfielders Xavi and Iniesta as well as Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi, who managed to score 94 goals in the 2012 calendar year, surpassing Gerd Mullers record. The little Argentine continued to break goal scoring records and with Barcelona winning a lot of major silverware in successive form including the La Liga and Champions League, they were seen to have the best squad the game of football has ever witnessed.
Although there is no right or wrong answer, I personally think that Brazil of the 1970’s were the best ever squad to grace football as they had a World Cup to show for it and a striker who had managed to score over 1000 goals throughout his career. More importantly, football in the 70s was extremely rough and tough with extreme hardness in a tackle and fewer rules to follow, which made it harder to participate in, however the modern day game has improved massively, mainly the speed of the game which is more fluent, quicker and free flowing nowadays.