The Most Successful Clubs in France, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. It is a club’s trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones though.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

France and Ligue 1

As next door neighbours to the ‘Home of Football’, the game in France goes back a long way. At amateur level National Championships were contended from as far back as 1894 and then professionally in Ligue 1 since 1933, but with the usual World War breaks.

France is a curious footballing country. Its top tier league, Ligue 1, may be a level below the world’s top 4 highest quality leagues that are the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A, yet it’s certainly where top level football can be found, which makes sense given its rich footballing history and affluent fanbase.

Yet it’s teams have enjoyed such little success abroad; they’ve only scored 14.5 international points and little prestige to go with it. Ligue 1’s subsequently low international profile is probably explained by the fact is a very egalitarian league. Ten clubs have at least 5 Titles to their name and an impressive 5 clubs have reached the 100 points mark. Yet remarkably, no club has 300+ Success points.

Nevertheless, a lot of memories have been made in this big footballing country and it has given a lot to European football, particularly in the form of many world class players.

Scroll down to view the full table of France’s Most Successful Clubs


Below are France’s 5 ‘Big 100+ Clubs’:

5. Olympique Lyonnais

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_fd9656d2562849398807f672811f1eba~mv2.webp
OL celebrate winning their 7th consecutive Ligue 1 Title in 2008

Points: 100

Earliest Trophy Won: Coupe de France (CdF), 1964

Latest Trophy Won: CdF and Trophee des Champions (TdC), 2012

Most Successful Manager: Paul Le Guen – 30 points (2002–2005)

An amateur club, Racing Club de Lyon, was founded in 1896 yet wouldn’t commit to professional football. So, after decades of infighting a splinter group eventually formed – Olympique Lyonnais in 1950. It got on the scoreboard with its first major trophy, a French Cup in 1964 and then won a 2nd in ‘67.

In 1987, Lyon was bought by Rhône businessman Jean-Michel Aulas who took control of the club aiming to turn Lyon into an established Ligue 1 side. He launched an ambitious plan, titled OL – Europe, designed to make Olympique Lyonnais a European household name. This plan came to be realised at the turn of the millennium; from 2001-08 Les Gones kept a vice-like grip over Ligue 1 with 7 straight Titles in a row. OL had certainly become a household name by the time it achieved a Title/Cup Double in 2008.

Today, OL is France’s 5th most successful club.

4. AS Monaco FC

As Monaco players celebrate their latest Title win in 2017

Points: 105

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1960

Latest Trophy Won: Coupe de la Ligue (CdlL), 2018

Most Successful Manager: Lucien Leduc – 37 points (1958-63 and 1976-79)

AS Monaco FC hold the distinction of being the only club to represent an entire country. It is the only club in Monaco hence why is plays in the French leagues. Monaco was founded in 1919 as an amalgamation of Monégasque sports clubs. It was invited to join the professional Ligue 2 in 1933 but got relegated back down to amateur status at the first try. It managed to break the door open again in 1948.

Manager Lucien Leduc arrived in 1958 and led Les Monégasques to their first major trophy, a French Cup at the decade’s turn. He went one step better the year after with Monaco’s first Title, then better again with a domestic ‘double’ in ‘63.

Monaco have enjoyed major trophy wins every decade since, including another Title under Leduc in ‘78 and Arsene Wenger in 1988. Monaco is France’s 4th most successful club.

3. AS Saint Etienne

 Rachid Mekhloufi, St E’s all-time leading goalscorer with the Coupe de France, won in 1968

Points: 129

Earliest Trophy Won: Ligue 1 and TdC, 1957

Latest Trophy Won: CdlL, 2013

Most Successful Manager: Robert Herbin – 51 points (1972-83 and 1987-90)

Another French club founded well before WW2 yet which won nothing until well after, Saint Etienne’s glory years centre around the 1960s and ‘70s. The ‘70s decade is its most successful decade to date winning 4 Titles, 4 French Cups and 56 out of a total 129 Success Points. It went into the 1980s to win its final Title regarded as one of France’s biggest clubs, as it still is now.

In 1982, a financial scandal involving a controversial slush fund led to the departure and eventual jailing of long-time president Roger Rocher. Saint-Étienne subsequently suffered a free-fall with the club suffering relegation in the 1983–84 season. Its only major trophy since has been a solitary League Cup in 2013.

Les Verts easily make it into the ‘Big 100+’ and 3rd in the Success Rankings.

2. Olympique de Marseille

Jubilant Marseille players with Marseille’s, and Ligue 1’s, sole Champions League triumph, 1993

Points: 163

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1924

Latest Trophy Won: CdlL, 2012

Most Successful Manager: Gerard Gili – 23 points (1988-90, 1994 and 1995-97)

Marseille are a club tracing its history of winning big things back to the 20th Century’s first half. In the 1920s, Les Phocéens (The Phocaeans) hit the big time by winning 3 French Cups on the trot before a first league Title. By 1972, the club added its 5th Title to an ever bulging trophy cabinet as well as its first League/Cup Double.

By 1986 Bernard Tapie was elected Club President. He promptly assembled Ligue 1’s finest ever squad, packed with stars like Hoddle, Cantona, Deschamps and Desailly. From 1989, Marseille went on a barnstorming run, achieving a 2nd domestic Double then three more Titles immediately after. It was capped with the piece de resistance – a UEFA Champions League in 1993 – Marseille’s and Ligue 1’s only one to date.

Marseille’s latest success has also been a run of 3 trophy wins on the trot, this time League Cups from 2010 to 2012. Today Marseille are now France’s 2nd most successful club, pushed aside by the Paris new kids on the block.

1. Paris Saint Germain FC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_fc38788b8efa4110a667a8ef0a4fd41c~mv2.webp
PSG’s incredible quadruple of Ligue 1 Title, French Cup, League Cup, and Champions Trophy, 2018

Points: 215.5

Earliest Trophy Won: CdF, 1982

Latest Trophy Won: Ligue 1, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Laurent Blanc, 54 points (2013-16)

Incredibly the capital of France didn’t have a top football club until Paris Saint Germain was formed in 1970. By 1974, Ligue 1 status was secured. Les Parisiens continued from strength to strength; they won 2 Cups and a Title in the 80s; another 4 Cups and a Title came in the 90s, including beating Rapid Vienna to win a much coveted UEFA trophy – the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996.

PSG struggled to prosper in the dawn of the new century, despite more cup wins. By 2011, the club achieved what all pragmatic clubs salivate at the prospect of; they hooked in a not-poor sheikh with the arrival of new majority shareholders Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). That squad has won 8 out of 10 Titles, 6 out of 9 French Cups and 6 League Cups.

PSG’s outstanding squad of Galacticos has ensured that it largely rules the roost over French football. It’s France’s number 1 most successful club!

Best of the Rest

Brittany’s no.1 club FC Nantes, have enjoyed sporadic success across the decades since the 60s. Known for its jeu à la nantaise (Nantes-style play) it sits just shy of the ‘Big 100’ on 99 points.

FC Girondins de Bordeaux thrived under the ownership of ambitious real estate mogul Claude Bez in the 80s; they ran riot for a while and smashed and grabbed 3 Titles and 2 Cups from ’84 to ’87. They enjoyed another renaissance in the noughties with 4 major trophies, including a ‘Title/League Cup Double’.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (FFF Trophee des Champions)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
LC: League Cup (LdFP Coupe de la Ligue)
4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League (TBC)
4
AC: Association Cup (FFF Coupe de France)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: Top Tier League Title (LdFP Ligue 1)
9
PositionClubPoints SubtotalsSuccess Points Total
1Paris Saint GermainSC: 10 x 1 = 10
LC: 9 x 4 = 36
AC: 14 x 5 = 70
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 10 x 9 = 90
+3 (Trebles)
215.5
2Olympique de MarseilleSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 3 x 4 = 12
AC: 10 x 5 =50
CL: 1 x 8 = 8
T: 10 x 9 = 90
163
3AS Saint EtienneSC: 5 x 1 = 5
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
T: 10 x 9 = 90
129
4AS Monaco FCSC: 4 x 1 = 4
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 8 x 9 = 72
105
5Olympique LyonnaiseSC: 8 x 1 = 8
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 7 x 9 = 63
100
6FC NantesSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 8 x 9 = 72
99
7FC Girondins de BordeauxSC: 3 x 1 = 3
LC: 3 x 4 = 12
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
T: 6 x 9 = 54
89
8Stade de ReimsSC: 5 x 1 = 5
LC: 1 x 4 = 4
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T : 6 x 9 = 54
73
9CO Roubaix TourcoingAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 7 x 9 = 63
68
10Lille OSCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
T: 4 x 9 = 36
67
11OGC NiceSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 4 x 9 = 36
52
12Standard Athletic ClubT: 5 x 9 = 4545
13RC Strasbourg AlsaceLC: 4 x 4 = 16
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 1 x 9 = 9
40
14Stade Rennais FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 2 x 9 = 18
34
15Le Havre ACAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 3 x 9 = 27
32
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Italy’s Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. It is its trophy cabinet, however, which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

Italian Football and Serie A

Sold Price: Sport Poster Football Villalba Spain Rome Italy - November 6,  0120 3:00 PM GMT

With its National Championship founded in 1898, Italy has given a lot to the beautiful game over the many decades since. Italian football drips with history and culture, reflecting the country in general, and like the country, Italian football is known for the passion and style that it has in bucket loads.

Serie A was at its zenith by the 20th Century’s end, dominating Europe and being the most glamorous league on the planet.

Its clubs have also enjoyed incredible success in UEFA competitions, from the numerous triumphs which made AC Milan the legendary club it still is to lesser known winners such as Palma which has amassed 3 UEFA trophies. Italian football’s impressive 244.5 Success Points in international competitions reflects its European pedigree.

Serie A has passed on the torch to La Liga and the PL yet it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

Scroll down to the bottom to view the full table of Italy’s Most Successful Clubs

Competition Key
Points
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: Top Tier League Title (Serie A)
9

3 Most Successful Football Clubs in Italy:

3. Inter Milan FC

Campione del Mondo: Inter are FIFA Club World Cup Champions - Serpents of  Madonnina

Points: 269

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1910

Latest Trophy Won: Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Helenio Herrera – 40 points (1960-68 and 1973-74)

Despite coming in at 3rd place, Internazionale Milano is a true giant of the European game having won European and Italian crowns on numerous occasions.

The Nerazzurri won their very first championship in 1910 and the captain and coach of that first championship winning team, Virgilio Fossati, was sadly killed later while serving in the army during World War I. The club would grab its first ‘Coppa’ in 1939. Its greatest period came in 1960 with the arrival of coach Helenio Herrera from Barcelona FC. He implemented a modified version of the ‘door bolt’ system of play, created to provide greater flexibility for counterattacks. Under Herrera’s first period in charge Inter won 3 Titles and 2 European Cups.

Inter was awarded its 14th Title in 2005–06, after Juventus and AC Milan were stripped of points due to a match fixing scandal that year. It would peak again under manager legend Jose Mourinho who lead the club to an unprecedented ‘European Treble’ in the 2009-10 season.

Inter broke Juventus’ stranglehold on Serie A by winning the Title in 2021.

Winning major trophies every decade except the 1940s, Inter Milan has a well established global profile. It sits 3rd in the Italy rankings with over 250 Success points.

2. AC Milan FC

Ruud Gullit - Milan Maestro

Points: 294

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1901

Latest Trophy Won: Serie A, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Nereo Rocco – 65 points (1961-1963, 1967-73 and 1977)

The Rossoneri were founded at the end of the 19th Century by two Englishmen and the club won its first Title just 2 years after. Two further Titles were won before some of its members split away after a dispute to form fierce rivals Internazionale in 1908. After that, AC Milan won nothing for decades.

The 20th Century’s second half was when Milan really started to take off. It won 4 Titles in the ’50s with famous Swedish attacking trio ‘Gre-No-Li‘ in its ranks; 3 more in the ’60s and 6 Serie As during its, and Serie A’s, glittering period of the ’90s. Milan has also won the joint 2nd most ECs/CLs in Europe, winning 7 to date (2020).

Although also football giants, like Inter, both clubs have struggled to win much since the start of the 2010s. The epicentre of Italian football has shifted from Milan to Turin due to the stranglehold over Italian football that city’s no. 1 club now has.

1. Juventus FC

Juventus' open-top bus victory parade in Turin marred by injuries to six  fans

Points: 453.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Serie A, 1905

Latest Trophy Won: Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Giovanni Trapattoni – 95.5 points (1976 – 1986 and 1991–1994)

Juventus is a club, like Bayern Munich of Germany and France’s Paris Saint Germain, that has enjoyed a near monopoly over trophy winning in its domestic league since the 2010s began. This is somewhat impressive given it was relegated for a season in 2006-07. It is subsequently Serie A’s superstar club with an incredible 400+ success points.

It’s hard to single out Juve’s ‘glory years’ as they’ve been bringing home the bacon consistently since the 1930s. Only during the ’40s, ’60s and noughties were trophies a little harder to come by. The 2010s are easily Juve’s most successful decade with 8 Titles and 96 out of its 447.5 points won. They have also managed the rare feat of winning every UEFA trophy possible, including 2 EC/CLs.

Best of the Rest

Turin’s 2nd club, Torino FC, comes 4th in the rankings on 88 points and outside the ‘Big 100+’. From 1942-1949 (with a break due to WW2) ‘Grande Torino’ won 5 Titles in a row. This team of ‘invincibles’ also won the first ever League/Cup double in Serie A and once provided 10 players for the national team.

Genoa CFC, in 5th place and FC Pro Vercelli, in as 9th most successful are Italy’s ‘dormant volcanos’. Between them they won 16 Titles from 1898-1924 when Serie A was in its infancy.

Genoa won the first 6 out of 7 Serie As (then called the National Championships) using a strong English contingent. It’s probably worth noting the first few of these were small affairs with less than 5 teams competing.

Vercelli struggled in the doldrums of Italian football from the 1930s onwards before folding in 2010. It’s since been reincarnated. Will either club erupt again?

Let’s doff our caps to one of Italy’s more flamboyant clubs – Parma Calcio at 12th in the rankings. From out of nowhere Parma snatched 6 major trophies – 3 of then UEFA trophies – and all its 36.5 success points in just 10 years, from 1992-2002. This, under the guidance of Nevio Scala followed by a rare cup double under coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Competition Key
Points
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (Supercoppa Italiana)
1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
AC: Association Cup (Coppa Italia)
5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League
6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup
6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League
8
T: League Title (Serie A)
9

Success Point Ranking Table

PositionClubSub-point TotalsSuccess Points Total
1Juventus FCSC: 9 x 1 = 9
UEFA SC: 2 x 2 = 4
FIFA CWC: 2 x 3 = 6
AC: 14 x 5 = 70
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
CL: 2 x 8 = 16
T: 36 x 9 = 324
453.5
2AC MilanSC: 7 x 1 = 7
UEFA SC: 5 x 2 = 10
FIFA CWC: 4 x 3 = 12
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
UEFA CWC: 2 x 6.5 = 13
CL: 7 x 8 = 56
T: 19 x 9 = 171
294
3Inter Milan FCSC: 6 x 1 = 6
FIFA CWC: 3 x 3 = 9
AC: 8 x 5 = 40
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
CL: 3 x 8 = 24
T: 19 x 9 = 171
+1 (Treble)
269
4Torino FCAC: 5 x 5 = 25
T: 7 x 9 = 63
88
5Genoa CFCAC: 1 x 5 = 5
T: 9 x 9 = 81
86
6AS RomaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA ECL: 4
AC: 9 x 5 = 45
T: 3 x 9 = 27
77
7Bologna FCAC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 7 x 9 = 63
73
8SS LazioSC: 5 x 1 = 5
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 7 x 5 = 35
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 2 x 9 = 18
66.5
9FC Pro Vercelli 1892T: 7 x 963
10SSC NapoliSC: 2 x 1 = 2
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
T: 2 x 9 = 18
56
11AFC FiorentinaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 2 x 9 = 18
55.5
=13UC SampdoriaSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 4 x 5 = 20
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 1 x 9 = 9
36.5
=13Parma Calcio 1913SC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 3 x 5 = 15
EL: 2 x 6 = 12
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
36.5
=15Casale FBC
USD Novese
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Hellas Verona FC
T: 1 x 9 = 99
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Spanish Football’s Most Successful Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Any club which remotely thinks it deserves the label ‘big’ should be playing in the top league of its association, buying the best players and, ideally, holding down a global brand presence. Yet it is its trophy cabinet which really sorts the economy class clubs from the business class, or even private jet ones.

The ARL Football Success Ranking System for men’s European club football establishes for certain which clubs are the most successful of each nation and in the whole of Europe. It is a system of scoring points to clubs based on what trophies and how many have been won. Different trophies score different points and are based on a ‘glory’ criteria. Only ‘competitive football’ trophies are considered.

Spanish Football and its ‘La Liga’

As the only validative measure of league quality, UEFA’s League Coefficient currently ranks Spanish football as the 2nd best in Europe (2021), having dominated UEFA’s cup contests for much of the 21st Century’s ‘teens’. It’s worth bearing that in mind when understanding why La Liga’s two powerhouses and rivals, Real Madrid and Barcelona, have such global reputations.

Alongside a supporting cast of Spanish football clubs, they have scored a whopping 336.5 Success Points in total from all international competitions.

Its top tier league, ‘La Liga’ was founded in 1929. 5 Clubs are in the ‘Big 100+’ honour roll of clubs with at least 100 Success points to their name and Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most successful clubs in Europe.

Spain is a nation which tries to jostle with the English Premier League’s lucrative place in the limelight by offering plenty of glamour ties against Europe’s elite for its biggest clubs, earning them plenty of dosh in the process.

Competition KeyPoints
SC: Domestic ‘Super Cup’ (RFEF Spanish Super Cup)1
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup3
LC: League Cup (Copa de la Liga)4
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League4
AC: Association Cup (RFEF Copa Del Rey)5
UEFA EL: UEFA Cup / Europa League6
UEFA CWC: UEFA Cup Winners Cup6.5
UEFA CL: UEFA European Cup / Champions League8
T: Top Tier League Title (La Liga)9

Scroll down to the bottom to view the full table of Spain’s Most Successful Clubs!


Here is the ARL countdown of Spain’s 5 most successful clubs

5. Valencia FC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_db4ac94d29684ac5a5b64e2cce61dcf8~mv2.webp

Points: 109.5

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1941

Latest Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 2019

Most Successful Manager: Rafa Benitez – 24 points (2001-2004)

Founded in 1919 and only competing for the Copa del Rey for the first time in 1923, Valencia sat in the background of the Spanish football scene until blowing up shortly after the Civil War, winning its first ever trophy in 1941. It followed this up with 3 La Ligas throughout the rest of the 1940s and this set the tone for ambition with mixed results.

The club has managed to win major trophies in every decade since, except the 80s, including its 3rd La Liga under ex Real Madrid legend Alfredo de Stefano in 1970 and it added another 2 Titles plus 1 UEFA Cup to its trophy cabinet in three years under its most successful manager Rafa Benitez. It won its 8th Copa del Rey as recently as 2019 by beating the league champions Barcelona in the final.

Valencia is the first club to make it into the ‘Big 100+’, coming in at 5th.

4. Atletico Madrid

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_78b5940e6e82421e8e8c849d9824fc60~mv2.webp

Points: 184.5

First Trophy Won: La Liga, 1940

Latest Trophy Won: La Liga, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Diego Simeone – 40 points (2011 – present (2021))

A club founded by three Basque students in 1903, Atletico Madrid (AM) was only intended to be a subsidiary branch of Basque club Athletic Bilbao who the three saw win the Copa del Rey in that year. It became independent in 1921 however and, like Valencia, it would come into its own after the Civil War; it won La Ligas consecutively at the start of the 1940s and again at the start of the ‘50s. The club also won the King’s Cup twice in a row at the start of the ‘60s and again at the start of the ‘90s.

La Liga in the Postmodern era has been characterised by an increasingly stifling dominance by the ‘Real – Barca’ rivalry, hogging financial resources and the talent pool in the process. It’s been refreshing to see a third club find success of their own, largely under the reign of their most successful manager Simeone, grabbing 5 UEFA trophies, another Copa del Rey, then crowning it with another La Liga Title in 2014.

AM were crowned Spanish champions yet again in 2021.

Although AM has established itself as La Liga’s 3rd best club in the 21st Century, its later start in football puts it in as Spain’s 4th Most Successful Club.

3. Athletic Bilbao FC

Points: 190

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1903

Latest Trophy Won: RFEF Super Cup, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Fred Pentland – 43 points (1922-1925 and 1929-1933)

A club with the unique distinction of employing the cantera policy, which limits it to recruiting exclusively from the Greater Basque Region, is a founding member of ‘La Liga’. ‘Los Leones’ (The Lions) featured prominently in early Copa del Rey editions prior to La Liga’s inception in 1928, winning 3 in a row, from 1914 – 16, for example.

Athletic has its roots in the late 19th Century with a heavy British influence. Most of its managers were also British up until the early ‘30s, including its most successful manager Fred Pentland. Implementing a pioneering short passing style of play, he led Athletic to 2 League/Cup ‘doubles’ in 1930 and 1931 and under him the club didn’t share the King’s Cup with anyone from 1930 until 1933.

It continued to vie with Barca and Real Madrid (RM) for Spanish dominance until the latter half of the 20th Century which inevitably saw its small recruitment pool handicap them against the rest of Spanish clubs’ ever expanding recruiting networks. Major trophies have come ever harder to come by although, under the stewardship of Javier Clemente, a dour yet effective playing style would see Athletic haul in another 2 La Ligas in the first half of the 1980s.

Athletic Bilbao’s huge Copa del Rey haul helps put it in 3rd place in Spain’s Most Successful Club ranking.

2. Barcelona FC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a27d24_26c27168eb0a4d2b8ba3ff807a00db0a~mv2.webp

Points: 470

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa del Rey, 1910

Latest Trophy Won: Copa del Rey, 2021

Most Successful Manager: Pepe Guardiola – 66 points (2008-2012)

Standing alone as the only club able to loosen Real Madrid’s stranglehold over La Liga, Catalan top dog Barcelona is its fierce rival and a global giant in its own right. It falls short of the 500 Success points mark but has a record 150 points from the Copa del Rey alone, winning more than 1 in 4 of every trophy won. It clinched the first ever La Liga in 1930 before its founder, Hans Gamper, tragically took his own life a year later.

The 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s were sparse decades for Titles, though it filled its trophy cabinet with Copa del Reys and 4 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups in the 80s. Its superpower status really took off in the 90s and on into the 21st Century. It managed to win itself 3 Champions’ Leagues (CL) including 3 Titles and 2 CLs, amongst other silverware, under Pepe’s Guardiola’s leadership. He added 66 points to the club in 4 short years from 2008 – 12.

With over 450 points, this puts Barcelona in as just the 2nd Most Successful Club in Spain.

1. Real Madrid FC

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Points: 579

First Trophy Won: RFEF Copa Del Rey, 1905

Latest Trophy Won: La Liga, UEFA CL, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Miguel Munoz – 110 points (1959-1974)

Real Madrid (RM) is arguably the biggest club in the world by virtually every yardstick and it has the success to match, passing the stratospheric 500 point mark. The club has a record 14 Champions’ League trophies, no less than 7 Intercontinental Cups/FIFA Club World Cups, and dozens of Titles.

The club was founded in 1902 and RM won its first Copa del Rey soon after in 1905. Under the ambitious stewardship of Santiago Bernabéu Yeste from 1945 RM embarked on a policy of buying up the cream of European talent and creating teams of ‘Galacticos’. From then on it’s laid down a firm dominance over La Liga, grabbing roughly one in every three Titles ever won.

The first of those Galacticos, Alfredo di Stefano, launched RM into the big time as it jumped into the new big thing – International matchups formally governed by UEFA. When the European Cup was launched in 1955, RM won the first 5 on the trot.

As they say, the rest is history. ‘Royal Madrid’ truly are the kings of football. It is not only the Most Successful Club in Spain, but in the whole of Europe!

The Best of the Rest

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Although it holds just 1 La Liga Title, Sevilla FC’s profile has risen considerably in the 21st Century by winning a record 6 UEFA Europa Leagues, 3 of them won consecutively from 2014-16. That is a wonderful achievement for a club outside of the ‘El Clasico’ cartel! They come in at 6th.

8th placed Real Sociodad managed to break the status quo for a brief window from 1980 – 82, snatching 2 Titles plus a Super Cup under the guidance of ex Socio player Alberto Ormaetxea.

Success Point Table

PositionFootball ClubSuccess Points SubtotalsSuccess Points Total
1Real Madrid FCSC: 12 x 1 = 12

UEFA SC: 4 x 2 = 8

FIFA CWC: 7 x 3 = 21

LC: 1 x 4 = 4

AC: 19 x 5 = 95

EL: 2 x 6 = 12

CL: 14 x 8 = 112

T: 35 x 9 = 315
579
2Barcelona FCSC: 13 x 1 = 13

UEFA SC: 5 x 2 = 10

FIFA CWC: 3 x 3 = 9

LC: 2 x 4 = 8

AC: 31 x 5 = 155

UEFA CWC: 4 x 6.5 = 26

CL: 5 x 8 = 40

T: 23 x 9 = 207

+2 Trebles
470
3Athletic Bilbao FCSC: 3 x 1 = 3
AC: 23 x 5 = 115
T: 8 x 9 = 72
190
4Atletico Madrid FCSC: 2 x 1 = 2
UEFA SC: 3 x 2 = 6
FIFA CWC: 1 x 3 = 3
AC: 10 x 5 = 50
EL: 3 x 6 = 18
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 11 x 9 = 99
184.5
5Valencia FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 8 x 5 = 40
EL: 1 x 6 = 6
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
T: 6 x 9 = 54
109.5
6Sevilla FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
UEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2
AC: 5 x 5 = 25
EL: 6 x 6 = 36
T: 1 x 9 = 9
73
7Real Zaragoza FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 6 x 5 = 30
UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5
37.5
8Real Sociedad FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 2 x 9 = 18
29
9Real Betis FCAC: 3 x 5 = 15
T: 1 x 9 = 9
24
10Deportivo de la Coruna FCSC: 3 x 1 = 3
AC: 2 x 5 = 10
T: 1 x 9 = 9
22
=11RCD Espanyol FC
Real Unión Club de Irún
AC: 4 x 5 = 2020
=13RCD Mallorca FCSC: 1 x 1 = 1
AC: 1 x 5 = 5
6
=13Villareal CFEL: 1 x 6 = 66
15Real Valladolid FCLC: 1 x 4 = 44
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