I think it would take either a fool or a die hard fan to argue against the fact that the current Barcelona squad is the best soccer team in the world at the moment. They have won the Spanish league three times in a row and have won the Champions League twice in the past three years. Great victories combined with beautiful play have put this side into the history books as one of the legends of the game. But are we witnessing the best team ever? There are at least four other great teams that come to my mind in the discussion, and each can make a strong case for top honors:
1. Arsenal (2003-2004) - The Invincibles - The only team to ever maintain zero losses throughout the entire English Premier League campaign. The team was comprised of perfect mixture of steel an class. Thierry Henry, the most fluid and smooth striker ever, graced many of the highlight reels while the strong presence of Sol Campbell and Patrick Vieira prevented teams from legitimately threatening the home goal. These players are the type that Arsenal currently is missing, and this incredible run is probably the reason Arsene Wenger has been fired yet in recent times. However, this side couldn't maintain this flair for multiple years, and the Premier league title was their only trophy of the year. Thus, they cannot be the best team ever.
2. Santos (1962) - Os Santasticos - The first ever club team to attain a treble. Headed by one of the all time greats, Pele, and including other Brazilian icons such as Coutinho and Pepe, this team dominated Brazilian soccer for the entire decade. 1962 was their most successful season and really became the time when Brazilian soccer was associated with great passes and beautiful flair, coining the term Joga Bonito. International dominance was asserted that year with a victory over Benfica in the Intercontinental Cup. Pele led Brazil to World Cup glory as well that year and was labelled an "official national treasure" by the Brazilian government, who refused potential transfers to Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Juventus the following summer. That's how special this team was.
3. Real Madrid (1950's) - Masters of Europe - This team was the king of Europe, winning the European Cup an increible five years in a row from 1956 to 1960. Between the years of 1954 and 1958 the club won four of the five La Liga crowns. Francisco Gento led the team alongside other greats Di Stefano and Puskas. No other team has had such an extended period of dominance. Today's marvelous Barcelona is coming close, but still has work to do if they want to retain success for such a long period.
4. Liverpool (1970's-1980's) - The Bob Paisley Era - When Bob Paisley took over Liverpool in 1974, the squad went on to win seven of the next nine championships in England. In addition, the club won three European Cups between 1977 and 1981. This golden era of Liverpool lore was led by a man who was a bit of a mumbler but had the keen sense of flattering the opposition before the press before flattening them on the field. Star like Kevin Keegan and Ray Clemence provided the Reds fans a time of success unheralded in the British game.
So which team was the best? Who would win if they were to compete for some sort of inter-time configured tournament? My guess is resoundingly the current Barcelona squad. Their team consists of mainly Spanish players, who won the last World Cup and last Euro tournament. And then factor in that they added Lionel Messi, the world's best player. They dominate every game. Sure there are some fluke losses, but when I watch this team, its like watching a pinball machine. Every pass is perfect, possession is usually around 70%. Watch and enjoy, this is the best team I have ever seen.