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World Football: Ranking the Top 50 Most Influential Teams on the Planet

Callum D'SouzaSenior Writer IApril 12, 2011

World Football: Ranking the Top 50 Most Influential Teams on the Planet

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    Football. Arguably the greatest game to grace the world. Watched, adored and played in every aspect of every continent, mankind simply cannot live without the beautiful game. Whether it's played in alleyways with paper bags rolled tightly into a spherical ball, to Saturday morning madness with children to freezing winter nights with the snow trickling down, football is an addiction.

    What makes it more exciting though are the professional teams. Literally every country has some form of professional league that fans week in week out look forward to. When played at the highest level with the highest calibre, football becomes a devastating art that is caressed by money. With such leagues as the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A and the French Ligue 1, millions of people worldwide watch their beloved team to escape the hazards of everyday and to be engulfed by the overwhelming excitement it produces.

    But just who are the most influential teams on this planet? With so many leagues and so many teams, which teams captivate and motivate their fans?

    Bleacher Report attempts to establish and rank the top 50 most influential teams in modern day society.

50. Sadd Sports Club (Al-Saad Club)—Qatar

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    Easily Qatar's most successful, admired and popular team in the Qatar National First Division. Established in 1969, Al-Zeem which translates to the Boss, have won the Championship 11 times and in 2007 completed the quadruple of all four domestic titles, a feat yet to be challenged.

    Situated in Doha, the capital of Qatar, Al-Saad are the dominant force with the most fans and support in Qatar. This is highlighted by their state of the art stadium, Jassin Bin Hamad Stadium, which holds 18,000 people and is the predominant ground for the Qatar national team.

    Also, an ever present force in the Asian Champions League and Club World Championships, Al-Saad Club bring joy to the mostly struggling Asian nation, and will be forever renowned as the greatest Qatari club to play football.

49. Kashima Antlers—Japan

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    Kashima Antlers are the most successful club in the history of the J-League, as well as one of the most respected and polished outfits in Asia. Kashima have won the Japanese title seven times since the J-League's establishment in 1993, alongside the exciting J-League Cup and Emperor's Cup three times.

    The Antlers have competed in every J-League since it began, and in 2007 became the first team in Japan to have won 10 domestic titles. A strong Brazilian community, the Japanese giants exhibit and exciting brand of football which accomadates their 40,000 seat Kashima Stadium that is considered one of the best stadiums in Japan.

    A well presented, well respected side that continues to uphold Japanese football.

48. Club Deportivo Guadalajara (C.D Guadalajara)—Mexico

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    With 11 first division titles, seven Campeón de Campeones and two Copa México, Guadalajara are one of the most successful clubs in Mexican football history. Furthermore, the Chivas (goats) is one of the 10 founding members of the Mexican First Division and along with longstanding rivals Club America, the Mexican giants have never been relegated .

    The club has a rich history and has endured traumatic financial phases since being established in 1906. Predominantly wearing red, white and blue, Guadalajara is one of the best breeding grounds for Mexican youngsters with the likes of Arsenal's Carlos Vela and Manchester United's Javier Hernandez both progressing through Les Chivas's famous academy.

    Possessing an almost 50,000 seat stadium as well as an intense rivalry with Club America, Guadalajara are one of the strongest Mexican teams and one of the most popular.

47. FC Dynamo Kyiv—Ukraine

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    Based in the capital of Ukraine, Dyname Kyiv are one of the strongest and most loved outfits to play in the Ukrainian Premier League having never fallen from the top tier. The White-Blues boast 12 league titles, nine Ukrainian Cups, one UEFA Super Cup and two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups. A sensastional feat.

    Dynamo Kyiv have boasted notable players such as Andriy Schevchenko, Goran Pandev and Serhiy Rebrov, the Ukraine side is a commanding presence in the North of Europe who has maintained a strong place in the UEFA tournaments.

46. FC Steaua Bucureşti—Romania

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    The Romanian giants are renowned as the best Romanian team in European competitions, and of course, the Romania Liga 1. Amassing to date a massive 23 championship wins as well as becoming the first East European team to win the UEFA Champions League when they were successful in 1986, the Red and Blues are the most popular side in Romania.

    A number of European musicians, actors and directors have paid tribute to their support for Steaua whilst also boasting a fan huge fan base, the Romanian champions support is overwhelming and there is no denying their presence in Eastern Europe.

45. Club Atlético Peñarol (C.A. Peñarol)—Uruguay

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    With their traditional black and yellow kit, the Sunflowers are the most successful Uruguayan football team of all time and their achievements emphasis their dominance. They have won the Primera División a record 48 times whilst the Copa Libertadores has been secured five times, making them the most successful Uruguayan team in the competition's history.

    The team plays their home matches in Estadio Centenario, the largest stadium in the country, which holds over 65,000 people alongside also owning their own private stadium called Estadio Contador Damiani.

    A popular presence all throughout South America.

44. Los Angeles Galaxy—America

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    Situated in the glamour and bustle of the United States, Los Angeles Galaxy has become one of the most talked about clubs in World Football and not necessarily for their footballing ability. Thanks to a heavy celebrity fan base and strong relationships with many big name European clubs, L.A. Galaxy are a vastly decorated club.

    The MLS giants rose to fame in 2007 when they secured the services of English star player David Beckham from Real Madrid in a deal potentially worth $250 million. Furthermore, the Galaxy is also boasts a heavy fan base in Mexico.

    But don't let there decoration and money fool you, Galaxy have succeeded in America's football league, they are the reigning MLS Supporters Shield champions as well as having won the MLS Cup twice (the MLS Supporters' Shield three times, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup twice (2001, 2005), and is one of just two MLS teams to win the CONCACAF Champions League championship, which they accomplished in 2000.

    Everyone knows about the team from L.A.

43. D.C. United—America

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    Close to the White House in the heart of America in Washington, D.C., and boasting the strongest fan base in the Major League Soccer with three supporters' clubs and one of the highest attendance averages in Major League Soccer, D.C. United are the club of America and have achieved monumental success too.

    The Red and Blacks, as they are commonly referred to, have won the U.S. Open Cup twice and hold the record for most MLS Cups and MLS Supporters' Shields with four apiece. D.C. United was the first club to win both the MLS Supporters' Shield and the MLS Cup back-to-back. The Washington side were also the first American club to win the CONCACAF Champions' Cup (now the CONCACAF Champions League) and Copa Intermericana in 1998. They are also the only U.S.-based club to ever participate in a South American CONMEBOL competition, playing in the 2005 and 2007 editions of the Copa Sudamericana.

    D.C. also boast a state of the art stadium that can hold close to 50,000 fans which is located by the Anacostia river. A strongly respected club.

42. Red Star Belgrade—Serbia

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    Serbia is a nation that adores their football and with a population of over seven million, when almost 50% of the population supports you, it's clear your a pretty popular side. Thriving in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade are a rich football side who share one of the intenses rivalries in World Football with FK Partizan.

    Red Star is the only Serbian and ex-Yugoslav club to have become European and World Champions having won the 1991 European Cup and 1991 Intercontinental Cup. They are also the only Serbian club ever to win an international title. Those plaudits compliment there eye catching Stadion FK Crevena Zvezda which holds over 55,000 fans.

    Red Star Belgrade are the club of Serbia. 

41. Panathinaikos FC—Greece

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    Established in 1908, Panathinaikos are one of the oldest clubs in Greece which is why it is only natural the Greens boast a stunning fan base and play home matches at the superb Athens Olympic Stadium. The Greek giants are also a successful club who have won 20 Greek Championships and 17 Greek Cups. 

    Panathinaikos also enjoy a fierce rivalry with Olympiacos F.C. which has been present since the 1930s, their derby is known as, "the derby of eternal enemies" which the whole of Greece stands up and watches.

40. PFC CSKA Moscow—Russia

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    Based in the capitial of Russia and enjoying a heavy fan base that dominated most of the giant nation, CSKA Moscow became the first Russian club to win a major European title, as well as the first one to complete the treble.

    The Horses have a rich history and have won the Soviet Championship seven times, the Soviet Cup five times (both are now deceased), the Russian Cup five times, the Russian Premier League title three times and the Russian Super Cup four times. Arguably their biggest achievement was the 2005 UEFA Cup success.

    CSKA also enjoy their football at one of the biggest Russian stadiums Luzhniki Stadium which holds up to 85,000 screaming fans.

39. FC Shakhtar Donetsk—Ukraine

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    A historic Ukraine club, whose tenure begun in 1936, Shakhtar are one of the most popular and strongest Ukrainian clubs and a surprise force in European competitions. The Miners boast a long standing rivalry with Dynamo Kyiv.

    With five Ukrainian Premier League titles, six Ukranian Cup and three Super Cups, and of course their famous UEFA Cup triumph in 2009, success is never too far away from Ukraine's giants.

38. Club Atletic Indepediente—Argentina

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    Independiente is one of the most successful teams in Argentina and one of the most loved. 14 Primera División titles as well as enjoying superb international success, having won 16 international titles, which is currently the third most behind A.C. Milan and Boca Juniors

    The Red Devil's international trophy haul includes a record seven Copa Libertadores , two Intercontinental Cups, two Supercopa Sudamericanas, one Copa Sudamericana, one Recopa Sudamericana, and three Copa Interamericanas. It is one of eight team to have won CONMEBOL's three most important competitions.

    One of the oldest Argentinian outfits, Independiente also hold a strong rivalry with Racing in which the derbies are labelled the Clásico de Avellaneda.

37. São Paulo FC—Brazil

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    Considered to have a support base of over 15 million, Sao Paulo are one of the most popular and successful clubs in Brazilian football as well as conveying a hugely entertaining brand of football.

    Tricolor Paulista have won the Campeonato Paulista 21 times. They have won 11 international titles, placing them at sixth for the most international titles won by a club alongside three World Club titles (two as the Intercontinental Cup, and one as the FIFA Club World Championship), three Copa Libertadores, two Recopa Sudamericanas, one Copa Conmebol, one Supercopa Sudamericana and one Copa Masters Conmebol.

    Some of the best players have emerged from Sao Paulo including Cafu, Junihno, Belletti, Luis Fabiano and numerous others.

36. River Plate—Argentina

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    With a record 33 Primera Division titles, including two Copa Libertadores, one Intercontinental Cup, one Supercopa Sudamericana, and one Copa Interamericana and one of the fiercest rivalries in World Football with Boca Juniors, River Plate breathe Argentian football and are one of the most loved and respected South American clubs.

    Based in the captial of Argentina, Buenos Aires, alongside Boca Juniors, their rivalries are dubbed Superclásico. A number of world football superstars have also emerged from River Plate, Hernan Crespo, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso and Gonzalo Higuian are a mere few.

35. Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras (Palmeiras)—Argentina

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    With over 17 million supporters and being renowned as the most successful Brazilian club of all time, Palmeiras has won 10 national competitions, a record in the country. The most important titles have been eight highest national league titles (four Campeonato Brasileiros, two Torneios Roberto Gomes Pedrosa and two Taças Brasil) and two national cups (one Brazil Cup and one Brazilian Champion's Cup). Internationally, the Green giants have the Copa Rio in 1955, the first world soccer club tournament, in which they beat Juventus, and the Libertadores Cup in 1999.

    The Brazilian giants were named Champions of the Century by their nations in 1999 and Palmeiras also share a bitter rivalry, which is considered the biggest in Brazilian football, with Corinthians. The likes of Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo and Edmundo have all played in the Green.

34. Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht (R.S.C. Anderlecht)—Belgium

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    The Belgium giants are renowned for their dominant force in the Belgian Pro League with a stunning 30 Championships. "Sporting" have also won nine Belgian Cups and boast the best European record by a Belgian club having succeeded in the UEFA Cup in 1993 and the European Winners Cup in 1976 and 1978.

    Anderlecht also boast a tremendous 76 fan clubs, many of which are situated in overseas countries. The champions have been in Belgian's top league since 1935 and have never finished outside the top six since 1946.

33. Club América—Mexico

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    With a immense 105,000 seat stadium, Nike sponsorship and a the biggest fan and finance base in Mexico, Club América are a hugely respected Mexican team who have achieved great glory both domestically and internationally.

    The Eagles have won 10 Mexican titles, five Copa Mexicos, five Campeón de Campeones, and one Interliga trophy. Elsewhere América have the honour of five CONCACAf Champions Cup, one CONCACAF Giants Cups and two Copa Interamericana.

    The IFFHS named América "Central and North America's Club of the Decade" 2001-2010 which highlights their respect throughout World Football. Furthermore, their stadium, the Aztec, has staged some of the World's biggest sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup.

32. Manchester City—England

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    Located in the heart of England and sharing an immense rivalry with world football heroes Manchester United, as well as acquiring billions and billions of dollars through overseas investments, Manchester City are a team never far from the spotlight.

    With a rich history and yo-yo like success, many believe City will forvever live in Manchester United's shadow. However, with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan overwhelming financial support, Manchester City have created a team with some of the world's best players and many believe they are not far from success. 

31. Newcastle United—England

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    Newcastle United have an outstanding fan base throughout the United Kingdom and have one of the richest history in English football. With their renowned Saint James Park, the Magpies have won four First Division titles and six FA Cups in their long history, as well as the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Newcastle United has the eighth highest total of major honours won by an English club.

    Newcastle will always be a popular club having boasted the likes of footballing legend Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan. The Toons continue to perform in the English Premier League.

30. Tottenham Hotspurs—England

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    Tottenham are not the most successful English club, but a greatly respected side nonetheless who enjoy one of the most entertaining rivalries with North London neighbours Arsenal. Founded in 1882, the London side boast a rare trait of winning a trophy in each of the last six decades.

    Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double when they succeeded in 1960/196. Furthermore, Tottenham became the first British club to win a major European trophy when they won the European Cup Winners' Cup and were also the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup making them the first British club to win tow European trophies.

29. Atletico Madrid—Spain

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    Atletico Madrid is a proud La Liga club who are well respected throughout Europe and have enjoyed solid success since their establishment in 1903. They have won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on nine occasions, including a double in 1996. In Europe, they won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1962, were European Cup runners-up in 1974, won the Intercontinental Cup in 1975 and won the Europa League in 2010.

    The Red and Whites enjoying a strong rivalry with neighbours Real Madrid and have long been a consistent presence at the top of the La Liga table.

     

28. Sporting Club De Portugal (Sporting Lisbon)—Portugal

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    The Portuguese giants are the second most successful club in Europe in titles won (trailing only Barcelona) thanks to 18 Portuguese Liga's, 15 Cups of Portugal, seven Portuguese Super Cups a UEFA Winners Cup and an Intertoto Cup.

    Sporting Clube de Portugal has more than three million fans on all continents with up to 300 supporters clubs, offices and delegationsas well as more than 150,000 affiliates.

27. SV Werder Bremen—Germany

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    A respected, polished German side who have been a mainstay in the Bundesliga since its creation. The Green-Whites are a tough no nonsense football club who have also enjoyed their share of success.  

    Bremen have been crowned champions on four occasions and have won the DFB-Pokal on six occasions. Their most recent achievements in these competitions came in 2004, when they won an historic double. Externally, the German giants were the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup beating AS Monaco 2-0.

     

     

26. Leeds United—England

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    Although Leeds may no longer reside in the adored English Premier League, there is no denying their great history, success and influence in World Football.

    The Whites were the force of English football during the 1960's and 70's. Under the management of Don Revie during the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds won two First Division titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup twice. Leeds enjoyed further success during 1992 when they won the League.

    Leeds United are one of the most supported English clubs of all time as they are the only side associated with the City of Leeds. A passionate footballing side who will only continue to grow and grow.

25. FC Schalke 04—Germany

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    Although success has evaded the German giants in recent years, Schalke 04 is still and has long been one of the most popular football teams in Germany. The football team is the biggest part of a larger sports club with more than 90,000 members ensuring they are second largest sports club in Germany.

    Although their most recent league triumph was 1958, Schalke have won the German League seven times, whilst securing the German Cup four times, the Ligapokal, the UEFA Cup and the Intertoto Cup.

24. Everton—England

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    The Merseyside club certainly are a historic club and a vital presence in English football. The Toffees have competed in the top division for a record 108 seasons, they have played more top-flight league games than any other English team and have won the League Championship nine times—the fourth highest of any other team. Everton also boast the feat of maintaining their position in the top division since 1954.

    Their rivalry with Liverpool, the Merseyside derby, is one of the most renowned and loved in the EPL which adds to their historic status. Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and have won the FA Cup five times, the charity shield nine times, the first division title nine times and were World Football Magazine team of the year in 1985.

    However success has been absent in recent decades.

23. Futebol Clube Do Porto (F.C Porto)—Portugal

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    An integral part of Portuguese football, F.C. Porto is one of the Três Grandes, or Big Three, football clubs in Portugal which highlights their respect and success. Domestically strong, Porto have won the Portuguese League title a superb 25 times and the Portuguese Cup 15 times, whilst taking the Portuguese Super Cup 17 times.

    Internationally, they have recieved many plaudits, they brought joy to Portugal by becoming the first Portuguese side to win the UEFA Champions League, winning in 1986/87 and then again in 2003/2004 under Jose Mourihno.

    Porto have also triumphed in the UEFA Cup in 2002-2003 and boast the European Super Cup in 1986/1987 and the Intercontinental Cup in 1987 and 2004.

22. Football Club Des Girondins De Bordeaux—France

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    One of the most exciting, and popular French clubs, Bordeaux boast a strong fan base throughout France which coupled with their success, ensures they are a well developed outfit. The club has won six Ligue 1 titles, which places it fourth in titles won by Fench sides.

    Bordeaux have also won three Coupe de France titles, three Coupe de la Ligue titles, and three Trophée des Champions. The club has the honor of having appeared in the most finals in the Coupe de la Ligue having appeared in six of the 16 finals contested.

21. Clube De Regatas Do Flamengo (Flamengo)—Brazil

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    The most popular and loved Brazilian side. Considered to have a Brazilian fan base of 35 million and numerous overseas fan clubs, the Brazilian giants have a great influence in not only Brazil and South America, but World Football.

    Winners of the Brazilian League on six ocassions, the Copa do Brazil twice, and the Brazilian Champions Cup, the Vultures have also succeeded in the Intercontinental Cup, the Copa Libertadores, Conmebol Gold Cup, Copa Mercosur and also boast 31 triumphs in the Rio State Championship.

20. Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV Eindhoven)—Netherlands

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    A huge figure in Dutch football, PSV Eindhoven have one the Dutch Eredivise 21 times, the KNVB Cup eight times and the Johan Cryuff shield eight times. Internationally, PSV are one of three Dutch teams to enjoy European glory having won the European Cup and the UEFA Cup.

    PSV are easily one of the Netherlands most popular team who also boast a strong financial base and have dominated at the penthouse of Holland's football for years.

19. Olympique De Marseille—France

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    The beating heart of French football, Marseille are one of the most successful and strongest French sides of all time and have established some of the worlds best players including Samir Nasri.  Marseille have been French champions nine times and have won the Coupe de France a record 10 times. In 1993, the club became the first and only French club to win the UEFA Champions League.

    Marseille arguably have one of the most atmospheric and stunning stadiums in world football. Their 60,031 person capacity Stade Vélodrome attracts huge crowds and adds to their immense popularity, often Marseille is credited with highest attendance of fans in a season.

18. Olympiacos F.C.—Greece

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    Olympiacos are Greek football's most successful and popular club by a large margin. The Reds have won 38 League titles, 24 Greek Cups and four Greek Super Cups, more titles than any other Greek team and it is one of four teams that have never been relegated from the first division. In European competitions, they have reached the quarter-finals twice, in the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League and the 1992–93 European Cup Winners' Cup. Olympiacos is also one of the founding members of the European Club Association.

    It is believed that over 25% of Greece's 12 million population support Olympiacos.

17. Paris Saint-Germain—France

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    A team located in Paris, the capital of France, is always going to be popular but PSG have aided their rise greatly since emerging in the French Ligue 1 in 1974, a record in its self. The French giants are of the most prestigious outfits in French football having won two League titles, eight French Cups, three League Cups and two Champions Trophies. Paris Saint-Germain, along with Olympique de Marseille, is the only French club to have won a major European trophy, claiming the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.

    Paris Saint-Germain was named IFFHS World's Club Team of the Year in 1994 and ranked 1st in the UEFA Team Ranking in 1998 The capital club is the only French club to ever achieve these honours. Paris Saint-Germain is currently ranked 14th in the IFFHS and 38th in the UEFA Team Ranking.

16. Valencia C.F.—Spain

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    Valencia are one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Spanish football and Europe. Valencia have won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, two Fairs Cups which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. They also reached two UEFA Champions League finals in a row, losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2000 and then to German club Bayern Munich on penalties after a 1–1 draw in 2001.

    Valencia are the third most supported football club in Spain, behind only Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. It is also one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of number of associates with more than 50,000 season ticket holders and another 20,000+ season ticket holders on the waiting list, who can be accommodated in their new 75,000 seat stadium.

15. Celtic Football Club—Scotland

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    Celtic, along with Rangers, have been the team of Scottish football for decades now and define Scottish footballing culture. The Scottish giants boast the biggest stadium with Scotland and a superb fan base which is suprisingly strong throughout North America.

    The Hoops have won the Scottish League Championship on 42 occasions, most recently in the 2007/08 season, the Scottish Cup 34 times and the Scottish League Cup 14 times. In 1967, Celtic became the first British team, and only Scottish team, to win the European Cup and are renowned for winning every competition they entered that season.

    Celtics fans are also notorious for their good behaviour with UEFA and FIFA rewarding the Scottish giants on several ocassions.

14. Rangers Football Club—Scotland

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    Considered the club of Scottish football, Rangers epitomize Scotland's football culture and are the heart and soul of the SPL, and rightly so.

    Rangers have won 53 League Championships, more than any other club in the world. They have won the Scottish League Cup 27 times—more than any other Scottish club—and the Scottish Cup 33 times. In 1961 Rangers reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, becoming the first British club to reach the final of a UEFA club competition. They won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1972, having been the runners-up in 1961 and 1967, and were runners-up in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. An estimated 130,000 Rangers fans made the journey to Manchester, even though most of them did not have tickets for the match.

    A highly respected club who are not only one of the most popular Scottish clubs but one of the most popular clubs in the United Kingdom.

13. Olympique Lyonnais—France

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    In the past decade, French football has been all about Lyon as they become one of the strongest sides in World Football and one of the most popular. The club won their first ever Ligue 1 championship in 2002, starting a national record-breaking streak of seven successive titles. Lyon have also won a record seven Trophée des Champions, four Coupe de France titles and three Ligue 2 Championships.

    They are now considered the most popular outfit in France as they continue to up hold the nations footballing reputation in the Champions League.

12. Boca Juniors—Argentina

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    Argentina's favourite team. Boca Junior's are the most successful team of the Argentine league having won 41 official titles at the national and international level. The Blue and Gold have triumphed in 23 league titles Their international trophy haul includes six Copa Libertadores, four Recopa Sudamericana, three world club titles (Intercontinental Cup) two Copa Sudamericana, one Copa Oro, one Supercopa Sudamericana, and one Supercopa Masters. Boca Juniors is one of eight teams to have won CONMEBOL's treble.

    Boca was also named by the IFFHS as the top South American club of the 1st decade of the 21st century (2001–2010).

11. Bayern Munich—Germany

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    Bayern Munich are hands down the most successful and prestigious club in German football. 22 German Championships, 15 DFB Pokal triumphs, six DFB Liga Pokal, four DFB Super Cups, four UEFA Champions League, a UEFA winners Cup a UEFA Cup and an Intertoto Cup emphasis the superiority of the Germans.

    The club has more than 147,000 members and 2,437 fan clubs, making it the club with the largest number of organized supporters in Germany.

10. Sport Lisboa Benfica—Portugal

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    They rule Portuguese history and football. In July 2006, Benfica had 143,000 members, 1,000 more than Manchester United. Since 2006, Benfica has been the club with the most associates (paid club members), known as Sócios, in the world.

    Benfica has won a total of 32 Portuguese Liga titles, 24 Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal, Portugal Millennium Cup) titles, two Portuguese League Cup (Taça da Liga, bwin Cup) titles, and four Portuguese SuperCups (Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira) titles. Internationally, Benfica has won two European Cup (currently UEFA Champions League) titles, one Latin Cup title, and one Iberian Cup title. In addition, the football club has seven European Cup (currently UEFA Champions League) finals appearances and one UEFA Cup (currently UEFA Europa League) final appearance.

9. Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax—Netherlands

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    Ajax is historically one of the most successful clubs in the world. The Dutch giants are one of the five teams that has earned the right to keep the European Cup and to wear a multiple-winner badge—they won consecutively in 1971–1973. In 1972, they completed the European treble by winning the Dutch Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. To date, they are the only team to keep the European Cup and accomplish the European treble. Ajax's last international trophies were the 1995 Intercontinental Cup and the 1995 Champions League, where they defeated Milan in the final. They lost the 1996 Champions League final on penalties to Juventus.

    There are considered the most popular team in Dutch history.

8. Chelsea—England

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    Chelsea are one of the strongest teams in world football and have enoyed a rapid rise to the top in recent decades. Boasting the best players, stadiums, finances and support base, it is hard to go wrong with the Blues.

    Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four times. They have also been successful in Europe, winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice.

7. Liverpool—England

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    Every footballing fan around the world knows of Liverpool and will always know of the Reds. England's most successful club of the 20th century and one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football, Liverpool has won a joint-record 18 league titles, seven FA Cups and a record seven League Cups. Liverpool is also the most successful English club in European competition having won five European Cups, the last in 2005, and three UEFA Cups. The club currently rank third in Europe and sixth in the world with the most international titles won

    They have an amazing fan base world wide and are renowned for some of the best English players.

6. Juventus—Italy

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    Juventus are one of the most recognised and successful teams in World Football. They boast an incredible array of success. 27 Serie A titles, nine Coppia Italia, four Supercoppa Italiana, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Winner's Cup, three UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, a UEFA Intertoto Cup, and an intercontinental Winner Cup.

    They boast a huge support base all over the world.

5. Arsenal—England

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    Since Arsene Wenger's era began in 1996, Arsenal have become one of the most loved, respected and entertaining sides in world football. The Gunners epitomize proper football that neglects money and thrives on talent, skill and attacking prowess.

    Everyone adores watching the Gunners play football as they exhibit every level of the beautiful game at the highest class.  One of the most successful clubs in English football, they have won 13 First Division and Premier League titles and 10 FA Cups. They hold the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the English top flight and are the only side to have completed a Premier League season unbeaten.

4. F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter Milan)—Italy

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    The reigning Serie A and UEFA Champions League are a renowned force in every aspect of football. Their Stadium, the San Siro, is one of the best in the world.

    The club have won 29 domestic trophies, including the league 18 times, the Coppa Italia six and the Supercoppa Italiana five.

    Inter have won three European Cups—two back-to-back in 1964 and 1965 and then another in 2010. They also have completed the unprecedented Italian treble with the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto. The club has won three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.

3. AC Milan—Italy

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Few clubs can boast the success, presence and general style of football conveyed by AC Milan. Milan has won 18 officially recognized UEFA and FIFA international titles, and remains tied with Boca Juniors as having won the most in the world. Milan has won four world titles, more than any other club in the world, having won the Intercontinental Cup three times and the FIFA Club World Cup once. Milan has won the European Cup/Champions League on seven occasions—only Real Madrid has exceeded this total. The club has also won the UEFA Super Cup a record five times and the Cup Winners' Cup twice.

    They are the most loved team in Italy.

2. Real Madrid—Spain

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The Spanish giants are the most successful team in Spanish football and was voted by FIFA as the most successful football club of the 20th century, having won a record 31 La Liga titles, 17 Spanish "Copa del Rey" Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, a record nine UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Supercup, and three Intercontinental Cups. Real Madrid was a founding member of FIFA and the now-defunct G–14 group of Europe's leading football clubs as well as its replacement, the European Club Association.

    Right down the blades of grass at the Bernebeau, Madrid epitomises perfection.

1. Manchester United and Barcelona—England and Spain

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    There is no seperating these two world football giants.

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