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

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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

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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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Scotland’s 5 Most Successful Football Clubs, Ranked (May, 2022)

ARL Football Success Ranking System

Whilst 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 which really sorts the economy class clubs from the 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.

Competition KeyPoints
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
LC: League Cup (Scottish League Cup)
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
AC: Association Cup (Scottish FA Cup)
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
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 (Division 1 / Scottish Premiership)
7

Scotland, its Premiership and ‘Old Firm’

As one of football’s ‘Home Nations’, Scotland’s football spans three centuries. The Scottish Cup is the 2nd oldest in the world and its clubs have been fighting it out for National Championships since 1890.

A number of countries have stand-out giants of the game which dominate their leagues. Scotland is famous for two of these giants and their ferocious, all consuming rivalry is known as the ‘Old Firm’. It has been ever-present and completely overshadows the Premiership. Both clubs subsequently have ginormous Success Point hauls leaving scraps for the rest. Just these two clubs make it into the ‘Big 100+’ yet have almost 1100 Success points between them! – As good a testament to Glasgow’s age old dominance over Scottish league football as any.

The Premiership prospered after WW2 but it just couldn’t keep up with the sort of money neighbouring England’s Premier League could attract. 21st Century Scottish football is comparatively poor as a result. Clubs between leagues 6-10 of the UEFA Coefficient score -2 points per domestic trophy. The SP is 9th in the Coefficient as of 2022.

Scottish clubs have had some success in Europe, winning 3 major trophies between them including the first UEFA trophy in the whole of Britain. They have 23 Success Points from UEFA competitions.

Scroll to the bottom to view the table of Scotland’s most successful clubs


5. Hibernian FC

Points: 43

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1887

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2016

Most Successful Manager: Hugh Shaw – 21 points (1948-1961)

Most Successful Decade: 1950s, 14 Points

‘The Hibees’ won their first ever major trophy, a Scottish Cup, in the same year as Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. In 1903 they won another cup followed by their first Title the year after.

Hibs’ glory period followed World War Two when the club were crowned Scottish champions three times in just four years. With an attacking forward line known as the ‘Famous Five’, Hibs were arguably one of the best teams in Britain. They have also won three Scottish League Cups, including the latest in 2007.

4. Heart of Mithlothian FC

Points: 60

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Division 1, 1891

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2012

Most Successful Manager: Tommy Walker – 25 Points (1951-1966)

Most Successful Decade: 1950s, 23 Points

‘The Jambos’ were one of the best teams in Scotland, and indeed the world, towards the end of the 19th Century by being crowned Scottish champions on two occasions (and were even ‘World Champions’ in 1902 by beating Tottenham Hotspur at Tynecastle) They also won the Scottish Cup four times before 1906.

Hearts enjoyed another glorious period with Tommy Walker as manager in the 1950s and ’60s. With club legends John Cumming and Dave Mackay, Hearts would clinch another two Scottish Titles and five domestic cups. A memorable 5-1 thrashing over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian FC to win the Scottish Cup in 2012 is Hearts’ latest trophy won. They are the most successful club in Edinburgh.

3. Aberdeen FC

Points: 69.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1947

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish League Cup, 2014

Most Successful Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson – 43.5 points (1878-1986)

Most Successful Decade: 1980s, 41.5 Points

As Scotland’s 3rd most successful club, outside the Old Firm’s heady heights, ‘The Dons’ of Aberdeen have done well for themselves, clinching major trophies in every decade since the 1940’s apart from the 2000s. 

Aberdeen FC won its first Title in 1955. It then revelled in a glory period under a manager who would go on to become one of the greatest managers in modern history. Under Alex Ferguson’s guidance, the club won three Titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup. He also lead them to a UEFA CWC, beating mighty Real Madrid in the final, plus Scotland’s first UEFA Super Cup – all this in the space of seven years.

2. Celtic FC

Points: 521

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 1892

Latest Trophies Won: Scottish Premiership and League Cup, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Willie Maley – 154 Success points (1897-1940)

Most Successful Decade: 2010s, 91 points.

This Glaswegian club was founded by a Catholic priest as a means of raising money to alleviate poverty in the slums. 5 years later they would beat Rangers in their first ever game 5-2, then described as a ‘friendly encounter’.

Few clubs reach the stratospheric 500+ Success Point mark. To do this, Celtic have been filling their boots with silverware almost non-stop. This includes winning over a quarter of all Scottish Cups. They’ve won Titles every decade except the 1940s. The ‘50s was a lean decade, as other clubs such as Hibernian FC enjoyed success, so too were the ‘90s which betrayed the fact Celtic’s stewards had failed to keep abreast of rising commercial revenue streams which had begun to infuse football across Europe.

The Bhoys managed 6 Titles in a row from 1905-1910; 9 from 1966-74 plus 9 consecutively from 2012-2020. These are not the sorts of winning streaks seen at all often with other giant clubs!

Under club manager legend, Jock Stein, The Celts would claim their first quadruple in 1967 managing to grab Scotland’s first and only European Cup as well. It was a feat that’s never been matched south of the border; an ‘annus mirabilis‘ for Celtic. Celtic took full advantage of Rangers’ exile from the top flight to achieve an ‘invincible’ season – and sixth treble – under Brenden Rogers in 2017.

1. Rangers FC

Points: 554.5

Earliest Trophy Won: Scottish Division 1, 1891

Latest Trophy Won: Scottish Cup, 2022

Most Successful Manager: Bill Struth – 160 Success points (1920-1954)

Most Successful Decade: 1990s, 93 points

Rangers FC were founded all the way back in 1872. Those first 19 years before its first major trophy was a rare period when Scottish football was free of the Old Firm’s vice like grip; when only the Scottish Cup was to play for at national level, before the first National Championship in 1890. Rangers would win the 2nd edition in 1891.

Like its Glaswegian rival Celtic, Rangers’ trophy cabinet is absolutely festooned with shiny metal, including a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (CWC) won in 1972. Rangers have won at least 50% of Titles in 4 out of the 13 decades Scottish Championships have run, and almost half of Scottish Titles total and in every decade since the 1890s.

After ‘The Gers’ latest League/LC double in 2011 something unfathomable happened; Rangers went into administration due to financial mismanagement and re-emerged in the Scottish 4th tier. They returned stronger 5 seasons later, however, to win their 55th Title in 2021.

Rangers FC is Scotland’s most successful club and the 2nd most successful in all of Europe!

Competition Key
Points
UEFA SC: UEFA Super Cup
2
LC: League Cup (Scottish League Cup)
2
FIFA CWC: Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup
3
AC: Association Cup (Scottish FA Cup)
3
UEFA ECL: UEFA Europa Conference League
4
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 (Division 1 / Scottish Premiership)
7

Scotland’s 13 Most Successful Clubs

PositionClubSub-point TotalsSuccess Point Total
1Rangers FCLC: 27 x 2 = 54

AC: 34 x 3 = 102

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

T: 55 x 7 = 385

+7 (Trebles)
554.5
2Celtic FCLC: 20 x 2 = 40

AC: 34 x 3 = 102

CL: 1 x 8 = 8

T: 52 x 7 = 364

+7 (Trebles)
521
3Aberdeen FCUEFA SC: 1 x 2 = 2

LC: 6 x 2 = 12

AC: 7 x 3 = 21

UEFA CWC: 1 x 6.5 = 6.5

T: 4 x 7 = 28
69.5
4Heart of Midlothian FCLC: 4 x 2 = 8

AC: 8 x 3 = 24

T: 4 x 7 = 28
60
5Hibernian FCLC: 3 x 2 = 6

AC: 3 x 3 = 9

T: 4 x 7 = 28
43
6Queen’s Park FC
AC: 10 x 3 = 30
30
7Kilmarnock FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2

AC: 3 x 3 = 9

T: 1 x 7 = 7
18
=8Dundee United FCLC: 2 x 2 = 4

AC: 2 x 3 = 6

T: 1 x 7 = 7
17
=8Dumbarton FCAC: 1 x 3 = 3

T: 2 x 7 = 14
17
10Dundee FCLC: 3 x 2 = 6

AC: 1 x 3 = 3

T: 1 x 7 = 7
16
11Third Lanark A.C.AC: 2 x 3 = 6

T: 1 x 7 = 7
13
12Vale of Leven FC
AC: 3 x 3 = 9
9
13St Johnstone FCLC: 1 x 2 = 2

AC: 2 x 3 = 6
8
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5 Most Successful Spanish 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. 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 ranks Spanish football as the 2nd best in Europe (2022), 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 table of Spain’s Most Successful Clubs!


5. Valencia FC

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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

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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

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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!

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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European Football in 2040

A light-hearted look at what European club football might look like in the not-too-distant future.

It’s no exaggeration to declare that European football is the apex of the world’s beautiful game.

It has the globe’s best players and coaching staff and draws in a mindbogglingly huge global audience to both UEFA’s flagship Champions League and its best domestic leagues.

Yet, as the world gets smaller, there were growing calls for a new ‘Super League’ for the continent’s biggest clubs to fight it out.

This call crystallised into the founding of the European Super League in April 2021. This would’ve included 12 of Europe’s elite clubs playing each other every week, with 9 of those clubs protected from relegation.

Yet, in what was perhaps the most popular and unifying response since the dawn of time, literally everyone, from the humble fan to the UEFA president, was incandescent with hostility towards a move that would have removed some of Europe’s best players and most illustrious clubs from the egalitarian UEFA footballing landscape into an exclusive clique of their own.

There was so much hostility to the formation of the ESL it was quickly suspended, perhaps indefinitely.

But, amongst all the rabid arguments in opposition, perhaps the main one was not so much the idea of a European football league per se, in my opinion, but the lack of participation opportunities for the rest of the vast football club community the ESL offered.

So is a European ‘Super League’ viable with full access to all football clubs on merit? I believe so.

Why?

There’s a lot of clubs in Europe with big budgets, fanbases and trophy rooms but are trapped in leagues that cant challenge them, and that is no good for keeping fans captivated or attracting new ones.

More and more choose to follow UEFA’s top 3/4 leagues and the playing/coaching talent is following them.

This means a lot of UEFA’s leagues are withering on the vine and the one or two clubs in UEFA’s less glamorous leagues still capable of competing in the Champion’s League are withering too, and they’re not happy about that.

The English PL, in particular, is now viewed as more of a European Super League they are not a part of but who a lot of their talent is leached by, and they want a piece of the pie.

Full English! A sign of Premier League dominance in 2018/19 when only English teams were in the UEFA CL and EL finals. Of those four clubs, none were even the best team in the PL that season. (dnaindia.com)

It seems just as inevitable that UEFA’s domestic leagues will amalgamate into a continental one as it was inevitable that England’s regional leagues would merge into the national Football League way back in the 19th Century. It’s just a matter of time!

So, let’s have a little fun and imagine how club football will be by the year 2040…

UEFA Super League (SL)

It is the inaugural season of UEFA’s Super League which Europe’s biggest clubs have been anticipating with bated breath for some time now. Here, famous giants like Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus will now be pitted in the ultimate footballing arena.

Old city and national rivalries will fade and new cross-continental ones will be forged, and some clubs look forward to the coming years more than others.

In the year 2040 the Super League (SL) comprises three divisions – SL1, SL2 and SL3 – each with 20 clubs, and the first 60 clubs to join the league have been selected based on their position in UEFA’s Team Ranking for 2039–40

For the first season England has six clubs qualify, all in SL1, Germany has seven clubs qualify; just two in SL1, and Spain also has seven; four of those in UEFA’s top new SL 1.

Throughout all three divisions, clubs from nations as wide-ranging as Bulgaria, Scotland, Ukraine and Belgium, among others are in the mix, and promotion and relegation work on a ‘three up – three down’ system. The SL1 Title winners will be joined by the runners up to qualify for the enlarged FIFA Club World Cup.

Domestic Football

The remaining clubs play their league and cup competitions as they always have in their domestic leagues, now of course without their strongest clubs.

Champions Cup

The league champion of each nation will enter a knockout competition for the following season and the four semi-finalists of that qualify for promotion to SL3, replacing the bottom four from SL3.

Europa Cup

The old Champions League has been revamped. It is now called the Europa Cup and all the 60 Super League teams will compete in it (plus the four relegated). The two finalists will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup alongside the SL1 top two.

Now, it is akin to England’s League Cup or Germany’s DFL Ligapokal, etc.

FIFA Club World Cup

The FIFA CWC is now an enlarged 16 team competition starting from the second season. The four UEFA clubs will join 12 more from FIFA’s five other continental ruling bodies to compete in an annual group stage/knockout competition.

It will now replace the old Champions League as the greatest cup competition in the world, as it was meant to have been when it began all those years back at the dawn of the century.

Summary

(abc.com)

So, there you have it. A possible football landscape with a super pan European League system, a European cup competition, replacing the old Champions League, and where Europe’s greatest titan clubs will aim to compete for true global domination. This, in a world where clubs from China’s own Super League, and N. America’s burgeoning MLS will provide an ever tougher challenge to European hegemony.

It could be an exciting future. The grassroots passion of traditional, local fanbases will fade but it could also see global fanbases spread to make the game in the future more of a global religion than sport.

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