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‘Man City among the greatest sides I have seen – but who are yours?’

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‘Man City Among the Greatest Teams I’ve Witnessed – Who Are Your Favorites?’

During my tenure as the chief football writer for Sport Newes Center, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some of the most exceptional teams in the game. As Manchester City sealed the Treble in Istanbul, it prompted me to reflect on the other remarkable sides I’ve covered.

Manchester City’s accomplishment of becoming only the second English men’s team to conquer the perfect Treble – comprising the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup – undeniably solidifies their place among the all-time greats. With the likes of Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and Jack Grealish, City showcased brilliance in every position, elevating their game to new heights.

One of the most exhilarating displays I’ve witnessed was City’s first 45 minutes in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid, where they secured a stunning 4-0 victory. They are unquestionably a magnificent football team, even when considering the ongoing allegations and denials of financial misconduct by the Premier League.

Now, let’s delve into other extraordinary teams I’ve had the privilege of covering throughout my career. Due to the sheer number of exceptional sides, I have limited this article to the years I’ve worked for the BBC. However, I’d love to hear about the greatest team you’ve had the pleasure of watching by using the form at the bottom of this page.

Klopp’s Resurgent Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s transformation of Liverpool since taking charge in October 2015 took time to reach its full potential. But once it did, they became an incredibly thrilling attacking force. The lethal trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino propelled them to new heights, and the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a staggering £142m in January 2018 enabled Liverpool to ascend to another level.

The funds were wisely invested in Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, fortifying their defense and leading to a Champions League final appearance that season, although they fell short against Real Madrid. Klopp continued to bolster the squad with the addition of Alisson Becker, and the following season, Liverpool secured the Champions League title by defeating Tottenham in a final that will forever be remembered for their miraculous comeback against Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Liverpool’s subsequent triumph, ending their 30-year wait for a league title, further cemented their status as one of the outstanding teams of the modern era.

Real Madrid’s Era of Bale, Ramos, and Ronaldo

Real Madrid has etched its name in history as one of the great teams, and during my time as a reporter, one era stands out above all others – starting in 2014. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness five of Real’s Champions League triumphs, the first being Zinedine Zidane’s stunning left-foot volley in the 2002 final against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park.

Subsequent victories came under the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, with a supporting cast that included the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, and the immensely talented Gareth Bale, before his departure left a bittersweet taste. From Ramos’s iconic stoppage-time equalizer against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon in 2014 to Vinicius Jr’s winner in Paris in 2022, Real Madrid consistently displayed their ability to win in different ways, leaving an indelible mark on the footballing world.

Guardiola’s Barcelona and Beyond

Pep Guardiola’s inaugural season as the manager of Barcelona resulted in an extraordinary Treble, culminating in a magnificent victory against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. This Barcelona side, often referred to as the epitome of passing football, featured the exceptional talents of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in midfield, complemented by the defensive solidity of Sergio Busquets. Above all, it was Lionel Messi who dazzled, exemplifying greatness with his brilliant performances.

In 2011, Barcelona displayed their dominance once again by overwhelming Manchester United with a resounding 3-1 victory in the Champions League final at Wembley. With the addition of David Villa, this iteration of Barcelona showcased an even more emphatic attacking style that left opponents in awe.

Spain’s Reign of World Domination

Spain, long burdened by the tag of underachievers, finally shed that label under the guidance of Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque. Their amalgamation of Barcelona and Real Madrid players formed the backbone of a team that conquered the footballing world. The likes of Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, and Fernando Torres propelled Spain to their first major crown in 44 years, clinching the Euro 2008 title with a victory over Germany.

This success carried over to the 2010 World Cup, where they triumphed after an intense final against the Netherlands, sealed by Iniesta’s memorable extra-time goal. Spain’s mesmerizing display reached its pinnacle in the Euro 2012 final, where they demolished Italy 4-0, securing an unprecedented third successive major tournament victory.

Manchester United – A Legacy of Greatness

Manchester United boasts an illustrious history, making it difficult to choose just one exceptional team. Although the iconic Treble-winning 1999 squad falls slightly outside my reporting experience, their incredible achievements cannot be overlooked. Winning the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup in the same season, with unforgettable moments such as their dramatic comeback against Bayern Munich in the final, solidifies their place among the greats.

For the purposes of this article, I focus on the Manchester United team that secured Sir Alex Ferguson’s second Champions League title in 2008. Led by the attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Carlos Tevez, with defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, this formidable squad demonstrated their class in a penalty shootout victory against Chelsea in Moscow. Their success extended beyond Europe, as they also clinched the Premier League title that season.

Mourinho’s Chelsea Glory Years

Under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, Chelsea underwent a transformation, starting with Claudio Ranieri and culminating in the arrival of Jose Mourinho. Mourinho’s impact was immediate and profound, as he led Chelsea to their first league title in 55 years. With John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, and Arjen Robben at his disposal, Mourinho shaped a team that combined defensive resilience with potent attacking prowess.

The 2005-06 season witnessed another title triumph for Mourinho’s Chelsea, although their Champions League aspirations were thwarted by Liverpool in two successive semi-finals. Despite the sour ending, this period marked the beginning of Chelsea’s golden years, with Mourinho showcasing his managerial prowess.

Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’

Arsene Wenger’s arrival at Arsenal in 1996 heralded a new era for the club. The Frenchman’s astute approach brought together a collection of exceptional talents, crafting a team that captivated fans with their stylish and skillful play. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, and Marc Overmars elevated Arsenal to new heights.

Among their numerous triumphs, the crowning glory must be attributed to ‘The Invincibles’ of the 2003-04 season. This remarkable squad went unbeaten throughout the entire top-flight season, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 1888-89. Their remarkable achievement remains etched in football history, showcasing Wenger’s ability to combine style and substance.

Now it’s your turn to share your memories. Use the form below to tell us about the greatest team you’ve witnessed, and a selection will be published on the Sport Newes Center website and app.

Note: The BBC retains the right to select contributions based on editorial requirements and subject to online terms and conditions and BBC editorial guidelines.

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FootyLover23 June 12, 2023 - 1:24 am

This article is like a trip down memory lane! Remember watchin’ City’s historic Treble, they were truly phenomenal. And Klopp’s Liverpool, damn, they played some exhilarating football! Real Madrid’s era of Bale, Ramos & CR7 was magical. Can’t forget Pep’s Barca, pure class. Spain’s domination was unreal! Man Utd’s 2008 Champions League win, unforgettable! And Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’, a masterpiece. Such a great read, bravo!

SoccerEnthusiast7 June 12, 2023 - 1:24 am

Woah, this article got me all nostalgic! Man City’s Treble win was legendary, and Liverpool’s attacking prowess under Klopp was a sight to behold. Real Madrid’s star-studded team was a force to be reckoned with, and Barca’s style of play was simply mesmerizing. Spain’s golden era brought so much joy. Man Utd’s history-making moments, Chelsea’s rise under Mourinho, and Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’…just wow! Amazing article, loved every bit of it!


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