Throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, there were many great sides that were composed, and lead their side to greatness. From World Cup finals to domestic titles, these sides were the best of the best. Now that the decade is over, here is a look at the 10 greatest football teams that were assembled this decade (and what year that each side was their best).
The 2000-2001 Liverpool squad were able to win the FA Cup, the Worthington Cup (English League Cup), and the UEFA Cup to complete an unusual treble.
In the FA Cup Final, Liverpool beat Arsenal by a 2-1 score, as Michael Owen scored two late goals to give them the victory. In the League Cup, they were able to win 6-5 on penalties with Jamie Carragher scoring the winner after Birmingham City tied the match with a late penalty. And in the UEFA Cup final, Liverpool faced Deportivo Alavés, and won 5-4 on a late own-golden-goal by Delfi Geli, completing their treble.
During that season, Liverpool were able to beat everyone in their path except in the Premier League, and won the UEFA Super Cup by a 3-2 score over Bayern Munich on August 24, 2001 to complete their great season.
After winning the UEFA Cup in 2003 over Celtic 3-2, José Mourinho's boys were looking to succeed even further with their squad in the 2003-2004 campaign. And did they ever, as Porto were able to win the Portuguese Liga and the Portuguese SuperCup in Portugal, and had tremendous success in the Champions League.
In the Champions League, they were able to beat Manchester United, Lyon, and Deportivo La Coruña as they went to the Veltins Arena in Germany to take on AS Monaco, who also surprisingly made it to the Champions League final.
In the final, Porto were able to get goals from Carlos Alberto, Deco, and Dmitri Alenichev to beat Monaco 3-0 and complete their great run to the Champions League title. Even though Mourinho left for Chelsea after the championship, Porto have still been great in Portugal and in Europe since their title, and were also able to win the Intercontinental Cup in December on a score of 8-7 on penalties over Once Caldas.
Going into Euro 2004, Greece were not expected by anybody to win the European Football Championship, and they were 100-1 odds to win the tournament. However, the Greeks did not allow this to faze them, and in the opening match of the tournament, they stunned host Portugal by a 2-1 score.
After getting the tiebreaker over Greece due to goals scored, Greece never looked back, as they were able to beat France and the Czech Republic by 1-0 scorelines and were onto the final, where they once again faced the Portuguese.
In the final, Greece got a goal on their only shot on target off a header on a corner by Angelos Charisteas, which coupled with great goalkeeping by Antonis Nikopolidis and a great job by their 66 year old manager Otto Rehhagel, Greece were able to win Euro 2004 by a 1-0 score in one of the most stunning cup finals in history.
During their 2003-2004 season, Boca Juniors showed the world why they are one of the best sides in South America as they had an incredible season.
Boca started off this great campaign by winning the 2003 Copa Libertadores, which allowed the Argentine giants to play in the 2003 Intercontinental Cup final against the winners of the 2003 UEFA Champions League in AC Milan.
In the Intercontinental Cup final, Boca were able to draw with Milan thanks to a goal by Matías Donnet, and the match went to penalties. In penalties, Boca were able to win 3-1 as Donnet scored the winning penalty kick, and Boca Juniors won the Intercontinental Cup final. Afterwards, Boca were able to win the Primera División Argentina in what was the ending of an incredible season.
In the 2001-2002 season, Real Madrid came out of the gates as one of the strongest sides in recent memory, with a squad consisting of superstars such as Raúl, Zinedine Zidane, Luís Figo, and Roberto Carlos.
During their season, they were able to take down arch-rival Barcelona and the defending winners of the Champions League in Bayern Munich to go onto the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.
In the final, Zidane scored an incredible game-winner to win Real their ninth Champions League title. After the Champions League season, Real won the 2002 UEFA Super Cup over Feyenoord by a 3-1 score, and were able to win the Intercontinental Cup over Olimpia by a 2-0 score as Real became built up to be one of the strongest sides in Europe.
In the 2002-2003 season, Arsenal had one of the greatest seasons in English football history as they became the first side since Preston North End in 1889 to go an entire season in the top flight and not suffer a loss.
Throughout the year, Arsenal were a great side with players such as Thierry Henry (who had 30 goals in the Premier League that season), Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg, Sol Campbell, and Jens Lehmann (who came to the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund for 1.5 million pounds before the season begun).
Despite being knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Carling Cup semifinal by Middlesbrough, but they still had one incredible season.
In 2006, Internacional had one of their greatest seasons ever, as they were able to win the biggest title in their clubs history by winning the Copa Libertadores in a two-legged final over Brazilian foe São Paulo by a 4-3 score on aggregate, which allowed them to compete for the FIFA Club World Cup in December of that year.
In the FIFA Club World Cup, Luiz Adriano scored the winner against Egyptian side Al-Ahly, pairing the South American champions against FC Barcelona, who were the European Champions.
In the FIFA Club World Cup final, Adriano was able to score a late winner for the Brazilians, as they were able to beat Barcelona 1-0 and became crowned the FIFA Club World Cup Champions. In June of 2007, the Red Inter were able to win the Recopa Sudamericana over Mexican side Pachuca, completing a treble for the Brazilians.
Going into the 2002 World Cup, Brazil weren't considered to be a favorite to win their fifth World Cup after a terrible qualifying campaign in COMMEBOL, but the Brazilians were unfazed by this and came into the World Cup looking to surprise everyone.
And did they ever surprise, as Ronaldo and Rivaldo were both absolutely incredible as Ronaldo was able to score a record eight goals in the World Cup, and Rivaldo was able to score five times, which combined with great play by players such as Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos, and Brazil were able to knock down every team in their path as they won every match.
With Ronaldo's brace in the final, Brazil were able to beat Germany by a 2-0 score and win their record fifth World Cup.
Going into the 2006 World Cup, many members of the Italian National side were unsure of their future due to the recent gambling scandal that had rocked Italian football. Many considered that to make Italy a side that probably wouldn't be able to win the World Cup.
But Italy were able to prove the skeptics wrong, as they finished first in Group E (which was the Group of Death), and were able to continue on, as they beat Australia 1-0, Ukraine 3-0, and Germany 2-0 on two late goals in added time, as Italy went onto the World Cup final against arch-rival France.
In the World Cup final, France and Italy battled the match to a 1-1 draw, which required added time to decide the World Cup championship. In the 110th minute after an exchanging of words, French star Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi to the ground, which caused Zidane to be given a red card and the match went onto penalties.
In the penalty shootout, Italy won 5-3 and won their fourth World Cup, and only conceded two goals throughout the entire tournament (an own goal by Cristian Zaccardo against the United States in the Group Stage, and a penalty by Zidane in the final).
After winning no major trophies in the 2007-2008 season, FC Barcelona shook up their side, making former Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola their new manager, and got rid of Ronaldinho and Deco, among others. But as the season started, Barcelona got a record 50 points in their first 19 games of their La Liga season, and appeared to be unstoppable.
They were able to beat Real Madrid 6-2 in the Bernabéu in the second El Clásico of the season, and were able to run away with La Liga. They were also able to win the Copa del Rey over Athletic Bilbao by a 4-1 score to complete the double.
And in the Champions League, they were able to beat Chelsea on away goals to advance onto the Champions League final against Manchester United, where Barcelona won 2-0 to complete the treble. But Barcelona were still not done, as a result of their great season, they were able to play in the UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring on a late goal by Pedro in extra time, they won the Super Cup.
Barcelona were also able to beat Athletic Bilbao by a 5-1 score over two legs to win the Supercopa de España in Barcelona's fifth championship. And in the FIFA Club World Cup (which Barcelona qualifyed for by winning the Champions League), Barcelona won 2-1 in extra time by a goal by Lionel Messi over Argentine side Estudiantes to give Barcelona an unprecidented Sextuple as a result of the 2008-2009 season.
Now that we have looked back at this decade's best sides, what do you, the reader, think?
Is there a great side that should be included on the list? Do you agree with the order of the list?
Please tell me in the comment thread below.