Updated for February 2019
Football is a beautiful game with fans from every corner of the world. Whether you live a 2 minute walk away from your team’s stadium or stay up until 5am to watch them, there’s no doubting fans’ commitment to their teams. This commitment is vital to a club’s success, money is great but you need both money and a loyal fanbase to become successful.
This list will comprise the most successful European football clubs of all time, updated for 2019.
Some clubs have grown in stature while others have waned, you’ll be hard pressed to find a list full of European super-clubs like these!
Note: I don’t count one-off game trophies such as the Community Shield and Super Cups.
Juventus have won Serie A 7 times in a row and show no sign of stopping any time soon. Still very much the Italian giants, the guys over at Turin are taking advantage of the failures of their domestic rivals to win every local trophy they can get their hands on.
They’re no slouch in Europe either, remaining a heavy-weight European club, feared by almost every team in the world. The recent acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo has made them favorites for the Champion’s League in the eyes of many fans, neutral or otherwise!
Ajax are by far the most successful Dutch football club, PSV are the closest rival with 35 trophies. Their youth system is famous for producing bright young talents that go on to become superstars. A considerable amount of football legends have come from the Amsterdam club. Although their key players have continuously been nicked by other European superpowers, their success has continued throughout the years and will do for more years to come.
8. Bayern Munich
The most successful German team takes the number 7 spot on this list. Bayern Munich are a mega club full of superstars and future talent. Their domination of the Bundesliga guarantees any player who joins them will win trophies, this attracts the worlds biggest players and managers. The staff behind the scenes do an incredible job with the Bavarians which contributes heavily to their success.
7. FC Porto
Porto are one of the 2 Portuguese clubs to absolutely dominate the Primiera Division since its inception. They are the record holders for the most Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira trophies as well as the Campeonato de Portugal, which ended in 1938. Before their league winning season in 2017/18, Porto last won a trophy in 2013 but their successful history has rocketed them up this list into 6th.
6. S.L Benfica
The most successful Portuguese football club is currently beating their bitter rivals Porto to trophies season after season. Before 2013, Porto were the most successful but Benfica’s amazing run of success in the past few years have allowed them to leapfrog Porto. During 2014, they managed to win all 4 domestic trophies which is an astonishing feat, even more so when you realise they only conceded 18 goals in the entirety of the 2013/14 season.
Benfica are in a great place to become the 3rd most successful European club, overtaking the next 2 entries if they win a couple more trophies..
FC Barcelona could well be the biggest club in the world. They hold numerous records for the likes of the Club World Cup, Copa Del Rey and Supercopa de Espana. This success has gone from generations of home grown talent, world beaters signed from other clubs and great work from the behind-the-scenes staff. Like Real Madrid, Barca are still winning trophies season and after season. It’s a fight between the two La Liga superpowers to hit 100 trophies.
4. Real Madrid
Real Madrid are one of the most recognisable and followed clubs in the world. Their constant signings of ‘Galacticos’ have rained down success over the years. They’ve been hauling in trophies since the start of the 20th century!
They currently hold the record for an absolutely insane 13 European Cups. They also hold the record for the most La Liga titles at 33. Domestically, Madrid seem to have troubles winning La Liga in recent years but the Champion’s League is essentially their own personal competition.
Perhaps a huge surprise to many readers, perhaps a bit obvious to others. Celtic are the only Scottish team ever to win the European Cup. They’ve also won a huge amount of domestic trophies, including 49 League titles, 38 Cup wins and 18 League Cup trophies. They had an outstanding first season under Brendan Rodgers, winning the treble and not losing a single game domestically!
The Rangers club that won the majority of their 116 trophies was liquidated in 2012 but the ‘new’ club is still recognised as the old one. Rangers and Celtic have battled fiercly for many years, the Old Firm derby is one of the most famous in world football. They’ve won the treble seven times and hold the record for the most Scottish League titles at 54. Unfortunately, due to their situation after the liquidation, they won’t be at Celtic’s level for a while. Not that it matters, they’ll be the most successful Scottish football club for much longer!
1. Linfield F.C.
Completely bossing the Irish scene domestically since 1890 is Linfield, with a staggering trophy haul over the years. The NIFL Premiership contains 11 teams and Linfield have finished first on 53 occasions. They don’t turn their nose up at cups either, winning the League Cup 10 times, Irish Cup 43 times as well as a big history in a dozen other (now defunct) cup competitions.
Having never won a single honor in Europe, Linfield have gone as far as the Quarter Finals in the 66-67 season. This decade, they’ve faltered during the qualifying rounds of both the Europa and Champions League.
I think I speak for everyone when I say it’d be great to see them do a cup run, in the same way I’d like to see Celtic or Rangers do so too. Absolutely massive teams domestically, with a passionate and furious fan-base. Just being able to see their fans party upon reaching the Quarters or Semis of a European Cup would be amazing!