Best football seasons: What are top global clubs' greatest-ever years for trophies?


In recent seasons, it has become more and more common to see the biggest clubs winning multiple titles every season.

The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing, and lifting one piece of silverware a year is no longer enough to even guarantee a manager they will keep their job.

Throughout history, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been totally dominant of their leagues at different times.

The greatest club side in history is an impossible title to bestow - but what was each club's greatest ever season?

  • Milan 1994 Champions League winnersGetty

    AC Milan - 1993-94

    AC Milan’s treble in 1993-94 was one of the more remarkable seasons in club football history.

    Under Fabio Capello, Milan won Serie A by three points to second-placed Juventus, despite only scoring 36 goals in 34 league games. Only four teams scored fewer, and two of those were relegated.

    However, a defence built around Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi proved near-impassable, while the handbrake came off in Europe.

    Milan put six past Copenhagen and three apiece past Porto and Monaco on their way to the final, against Barcelona’s ‘dream team’ led by Johan Cruyff.

    Romario, Stoichkov, Koeman and Guardiola were swept aside 4-0, with Milan wrapping the game up within 60 minutes.

    Capello’s side also won the Supercoppa Italiana that season, but were beaten in the European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup.

  • Ajax 1971Getty Images

    Ajax - 1971-72

    Ajax became only the second European team to win a continental treble in 1971-72, winning the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup and European Cup.

    An iconic squad featuring Johans Cruyff and Neeskens, Arnold Muhren and Johnny Rep and managed by Stefan Kovacs were beaten just once in the league, scoring 104 goals in 34 Eredivisie games and finishing with a 12-1 thrashing of Vitesse on a triumphant final day.

    A 3-2 win over FC Den Haag secured the KNVB Cup in the home stadium of rivals Feyenoord while Dynamo Dresden, Marseille, Arsenal and Benfica were dispatched on the way to the European Cup – also at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium.

    Cruyff scored twice in a 2-0 win over Inter in the final, taking his own tally for the season to 30 and securing the second of three consecutive European crowns.

  • Arsenal Invincibles

    Arsenal - 2003-04

    Arsenal may have only won one trophy in 2003-04, but their Invincibles season in the Premier League is a unique achievement unlikely to be matched in the Premier League.

    Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira – the Gunners’ squad reads as a list of English footballing legends, and 03-04 marked the apex of Arsene Wenger’s managerial career.

    Arsenal were, however, beaten in the semi-finals of the domestic cups by Manchester United and Middlesbrough, in the Community Shield by United, and knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Chelsea.

    Wenger’s first season brought a league and FA Cup double, Arsenal’s first, but the Invincibles season was without doubt the greatest in the club’s history.

  • Diego Simeone Atletico Madrid 1995-96Getty

    Atletico Madrid - 1995-96

    Atletico Madrid may have been transformed in the modern era by Diego Simeone, but he didn’t build them out of nowhere.

    Their greatest season arguably came in 1995-96 under Radomir Antic, as they claimed a La Liga and Copa del Rey double – with Simeone a key member of the squad.

    Atletico finished four points clear of Barcelona in second, while neighbours Real struggled to sixth place, missing out on European qualification completely despite actually winning both Madrid derbies.

    A thrilling 6-5 aggregate win over Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-finals sent Antic’s side to the final where they claimed a 1-0 extra-time victory over Barca.

    Atletico wouldn’t win the Spanish title again until 2013-14 – when Simeone’s side became the first team outside the El Clasico duopoly to win the league in 10 years.

  • Barcelona 2009 Champions League winnersGetty

    Barcelona - 2008-09

    When Pep Guardiola was moved up from his post as manager of Barcelona B in 2008, few could have expected that arguably the greatest season in European football history would follow.

    Barca swept all before them, redefining expectations on how football could be played and how much a single team could dominate.

    Guardiola’s side passed their way around Athletic Bilbao to lift the Copa del Rey in May, before clinching the league title three days later and dispatching Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United – the Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez vintage – 2-0 in the Champions League final.

    A historic treble wasn’t enough for this historic side. As the next season kicked into life, they also took home the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup, completing a scarcely believable haul of six trophies in a calendar year.

    Barca won another trio of trophies in 2014-15, the ‘MSN’ squad tearing teams apart around Spain and Europe, but Guardiola’s La Masia-reared treble remains their highest point.

  • Franck Ribery Bayern Munich Bundesliga 10052014Getty Images

    Bayern Munich - 2013-14

    Bayern Munich’s 2013-14 side was among the greatest ever seen in German football, breaking dozens of records on their way to a quadruple of Bundesliga, Champions League, DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup glory.

    Jupp Heynckes’ side won the league by 25 points (a new record), won 91 points (a new record), won the title after just 28 games (a new record), won 29 of their 34 games (a new record) and scored in every league game, which had only been done once before.

    Bayern didn’t have it easy in the cups, either. They beat Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, the DFL-Supercup and on the way to their cup final win over Stuttgart.

    Most satisfying was the Champions League win. Arjen Robben scored in the dying seconds at Wembley to cement Bayern’s status as the best team in the world and exorcise the ghosts of their final defeat on home soil to Chelsea two years previous.

  • Benfica

    Benfica - 1960-61

    Benfica won a domestic treble in 2013-14, but their greatest accomplishment was their back-to-back European Cups in 1961 and 1962 under legendary manager Bela Guttmann.

    The first of those came as part of a league and European Cup double, forward Jose Aguas scoring 43 goals in all competitions as Eusebio barely featured in his first season at the club.

    Benfica began the league season with 12 wins from 13 games, and they beat Sporting Lisbon to the title by four points with just two defeats all year.

    They were shocked 5-4 over two legs by Vitoria de Setubal in the Taca de Portugal, but made amends with a surprise win of their own against favourites Barcelona in the European Cup final.

    Hungarian icon Guttmann got the better of an iconic trio of fellow countrymen in Laszlo Kubala, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor as Benfica prevailed 3-2, before repeating the trick against Real Madrid with a 5-3 win the following season – despite a hat-trick from Madrid and Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas.

  • Shinji Kagawa Borussia DortmundBongarts

    Borussia Dortmund - 2011-12

    Borussia Dortmund’s greatest achievement may have been their Champions League win in 1996-97, but their 2011-12 domestic double under Jurgen Klopp is unmatched in terms of domestic dominance.

    It couldn’t have started much worse, Dortmund beaten on penalties in the DFL-Supercup by Revierderby rivals Schalke, and they took just seven points from their first six games in the Bundesliga.

    But after a defeat to Hannover on September 11, they didn’t lose another domestic game.

    Dortmund, spearheaded by 30-goal Robert Lewandowski, scored for fun, setting a new Bundesliga points record with 81 from 34 games and thrashing Bayern 5-2 in the DFB-Pokal final with a Lewandowski hat-trick.

    Their poor start to the season cost them in Europe – they finished bottom of their Champions League group – but once that early inconsistency was out of their system, they never looked back.

  • Celtic 1966-67TheCelticWiki

    Celtic - 1966-67

    Domestic trebles have been relatively easy to come by for Celtic in recent years, but none will rival the European treble they won in 1966-67.

    Led by the legendary Jock Stein, Celtic won every competition they entered – not just the league, Champions League and Scottish Cup, but also lifting the Scottish League Cup and Glasgow Cup, scoring 196 goals across all five tournaments.

    The Scottish Cup final win over Rangers was sweet, but Celtic’s peak came on May 25, 1967 as the ‘Lisbon Lions’ got their name, beating Inter 2-1 in Portugal to lift the European Cup.

  • Chelsea title win 2010Getty Images

    Chelsea - 2009-10

    Chelsea’s finest day might have come in Munich in 2012, but their Champions League-winning season was one of inconsistency and upheaval – and they finished sixth in the Premier League.

    Just as historic was their first league and FA Cup double, won under Carlo Ancelotti two seasons previous.

    Didier Drogba enjoyed his best season with 37 goals in all competitions, with Frank Lampard adding 26 and Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka getting 15 each.

    Chelsea broke records that season, plundering 103 goals in the league and pipping Manchester United to the title by a single point with an 8-0 destruction of Wigan on the final day.

    They edged Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup final, Drogba adding to his big-game reputation with the only goal at Wembley.

  • Jose Mourinho Inter 2010

    Inter - 2009-10

    Inter are the only Italian side to ever win a European treble, with Jose Mourinho’s 2009-10 side standing out as the historic club’s greatest ever.

    Inter beat Roma by two points in Serie A and 1-0 in the Coppa Italia final, but arguably their highest point of the season was their Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona.

    The game helped lay the foundations for the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry of the 2010s, with the Portuguese brought in by Real Madrid to topple Barcelona’s castle after Inter’s 3-2 aggregate win.

    The 1-0 defeat at Camp Nou was an iconic defensive performance, Inter strangling the life out of Barca’s 2008-09 treble winners.

    If Mourinho had passed one audition for the Madrid job, he nailed the second. Diego Milito scored twice as Inter won their first European Cup since 1965, beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

  • Michel Platini JuventusPanoramic

    Juventus - 1983-84

    Juventus have won plenty of domestic doubles and trebles in their time – with 35 Serie A titles, 13 Coppa Italia wins and eight Supercoppa Italianas, there’s plenty of overlap.

    One season that stands out for Juve is the 1983-84 season, which brought a double of the Serie A title and the club’s only European Cup Winners’ Cup.

    A legendary squad featuring Michel Platini, Paolo Rossi and Zbigniew Boniek and led by Giovanni Trapattoni pipped Roma to the Italian title and beat Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Porto on their way to the Cup Winners’ Cup.

    Their league triumph also meant qualification for the European Cup, which they won for the first time the following season, but the final against Liverpool was marred by the Heysel Disaster.

  • Liverpool's European Cup winning team of 1984Getty

    Liverpool - 1983-84

    Incidentally, Liverpool’s greatest season came the same year, in 1983-84. Their first year after the retirement of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan took the reins and won three major trophies for the first time in English football history.

    Ian Rush scored 47 goals in all competitions including 32 in the league as the Reds beat Southampton by three points, before a Merseyside derby victory over Everton in the replayed League Cup final.

    Liverpool had won three European Cups under Paisley, and they continued their love affair with the continent with a penalty shoot-out victory over Roma in the Italian capital.

  • Kevin De Bruyne Man City 2019Getty Images

    Manchester City - 2018-19

    Pep Guardiola’s second entry on this list, he took Manchester City to their two greatest seasons back-to-back between 2017 and 2019.

    The Centurions season in 2017-18 broke a plethora of Premier League records but the following campaign took domestic dominance to a level never seen before in English football.

    City won everything England had to offer. Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield – and the 6-0 evisceration of Watford in the FA Cup final was historically one-sided.

    The Champions League black spot remained with City’s breathless defeat to Tottenham, but their status as the best team in England was secure as they won 14 straight league games at the end of the season to clinch the title from Liverpool.

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United Bayern Munich 1999

    Manchester United - 1998-99

    Manchester United became the first team to win the treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1998-99, and they did so in breathtaking style.

    Sir Alex Ferguson’s team beat Arsenal by one point on the final day, denying the Gunners back-to-back titles following their double win the season before.

    United couldn’t be accused of having easy draws in the cups. They beat Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal on the way to the FA Cup final, where Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes scored in a 2-0 win over Ruud Gullit’s Newcastle.

    Then, in Europe, their highest point. After facing Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter and Juventus on route to the final at Camp Nou, Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stoppage time goals against Bayern brought about one of the most famous comebacks in footballing history.

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic Paris SG Marseille Ligue 1 04102015Gettyimages

    PSG - 2014-15, 2015-16

    Paris Saint-Germain are the only club to have won all four domestic trophies in a single season, and they did it twice in a row under the management of Laurent Blanc.

    PSG scooped the Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions back-to-back, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani top-scoring.

    European disappointment left a black mark on their record, as they exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage twice in a row.

    However, that was one step further than they got under Unai Emery in 2017-18, when PSG swept another domestic quadruple.

  • Porto 2004 UCLGetty Images

    Porto - 2003-04

    Jose Mourinho makes his second appearance on the list, taking Porto to a Primeira Liga and Champions League double, as well as a supercup win and a Taca de Portugal final.

    Porto won a league, cup and UEFA Cup treble the season previous – repeating the trick in 2010-11 – but their Champions League win remains their biggest achievement.

    The likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Deco and Benni McCarthy starred as Porto cantered to the league title by eight points, while the Champions League run brought that famous last-gasp win over Manchester United and a dominant 3-0 win against Monaco in the final.

  • Rangers IbroxGetty

    Rangers - 1975-76

    Four domestic trophies available, four domestic trophies won. Rangers were undisputed as the finest team in Scotland in 1975-76.

    Jock Wallace’s side started as they meant to go on with a 2-1 win over Celtic on the opening day of the league season, eventually claiming the title by six points.

    Rangers also beat Celtic in the finals of the Scottish League Cup and the Glasgow Cup and saw off Hearts in the Scottish Cup final, though they were knocked out of the European Cup in just the second round by Saint-Etienne.

  • Real Madrid Champions League 2017

    Real Madrid - 2016-17

    Under Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid won four titles for the first time in their glittering history back in 2016-17.

    A European Super Cup win over Sevilla early in the season got the ball rolling, before Madrid beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers 4-2 to lift the Club World Cup before the turn of the year.

    A first Spanish title in five years followed, Madrid beating Barcelona to first place despite the Catalans scoring 116 goals in the league.

    Then, after dispatching Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico in the Champions League, Madrid smashed Juventus 4-1 in the final in Cardiff to lift their third European crown in four years and the second of their famous three in a row.

  • Tottenham 1960-61YouTube/Dennis Munday

    Tottenham - 1960-61

    Tottenham’s run to the Champions League final in 2019 remains their biggest achievement of the modern era, but it didn’t match their league and FA Cup double back in 1960-61.

    Spurs had won both competitions before, but Bill Nicholson’s side took both crowns for the first and so far only time in the club’s history.

    Bobby Smith top-scored with 33 goals, with Les Allen getting 26 and Cliff Jones 20 from the wing as Spurs reigned supreme.

    They won 15 of their first 16 games in the First Division, eventually winning it with an eight-point gap to second-placed Sheffield Wednesday, and beat Leicester 2-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley in front of a crowd of 100,000.