With most football on pause, we’ve had a look through history.
And after much discussion at Onefootball HQ, we’ve put together a top 20 club teams of all time, which we’ll reveal over the next few weeks.
Kicking off our countdown with 20th place, we have …
Why are they here?
- Won two European Cups (1961, 1962) and made two more finals (1963, 1965)
- Averaged more than 3.2 goals per game on their way to five Portuguese titles in six seasons
- Eight trophies in five seasons
👑 Para sempre, Eusébio. #EPluribusUnum
@SL Benfica –
- Eusébio – the icon
- Mário Coluna – the captain and midfield engine
- José Águas – 374 goals in 384 games for the club
Throughout the early 1960s, Benfica were the most dominant team in Europe.
Manager Béla Guttman, a Holocaust survivor, arrived at the club in 1959 and left in 1962 having led the team to two European Cup wins.
Guttman was one of a number of Hungarian coaches changing football at the time, pivoting away from the in vogue W-M (3-2-2-3) formation and using his players in a modernised system much closer to a 4-2-4. One thing mattered: goals.
“If we do not have the ball, we have to mark; if we have it, we must run into space. I don’t mind if our opponents score three or four goals as long as my team scores four or five.”
Coluna ran the midfield, the true mastermind of the team with the technical and physical ability to match his mind. Futher forward, José Augusto threatened from the wing and Águas was lethal in front of goal.
And then there was Eusébio, widely considered the greatest player of his generation alongside Pelé.
A great dribbler, strong as you like, Eusébio was a ferocious striker of the ball and blessed with pace. It’s almost no wonder he ended his Benfica career with 473 goals in 440 games.
After Guttman came three more coaches, each for just one season. Fernando Riera, Lajos Czeizler, and Elek Schwartz all won league titles but couldn’t quite build on Guttman’s success in Europe.
Nonetheless, their furious domestic dominance and deep European Cup runs still served to underline the brilliance of this team.