Dec 21, 2009

The world's top 25 soccer clubs, year-end 2009 edition

Barcelona won their final and hoisted their sixth trophy in a fitting conclusion to the 2009 calendar year. Barca were dominant this year and it is entirely appropriate that they end the year at the very top of our rankings. Behind them, things got a little messy (not to be confused with Messi, Lionel), thanks largely to English clubs choking against inferior competition. And how about a top 25 without Juventus or Olympique Lyon or Liverpool? Pretty sure this is the first time we've seen that. Read on:

1. Barcelona
Last ranking: 1
Record (wins-losses-ties, in all competition; two-leg match-ups count as one): 20-1-5
Results of note: (chronological order) Beat Shakhtar Donetsk (at the time ranked 14th) in overtime in the UEFA SuperCup, Aug. 29, drew at then-No. 6 Inter Milan in Champions League group stage (0-0, Sept. 16), beat then-No. 14 Dynamo Kiev at home in Champions League group stage (2-0, Sept. 29), drew at then-No. 18 Valencia (0-0, Oct. 17), lost at home to then-No. 23 Rubin Kazan (2-1, Oct. 20), drew at then-No. 11 Rubin Kazan (0-0, Nov. 4), beat then-No. 2 Inter Milan (2-0, Nov. 24), beat then-No. 7 Real Madrid (1-0, Nov. 29), won at then-No. 15 Dynamo Kiev (2-1, Dec. 9).
Commentary/recent results: Barca added another feather to its cap last week, winning the Club World Cup to complete a wildly successful year. The Catalan side won every single competition it entered in 2009. This last of the six trophies was not easily obtained however. Barca struggled more than expected, coming within three minutes of losing the final to Estudiantes after previously having to rally to defeat Mexico's Atlante in the semis. In the end Lionel Messi and his mates were simply too good. Deserved world club champions and in every way worthy of the No. 1 spot in our rankings. The only question now is what they can do for an encore. The answer: Nothing. No matter what the blaugrana do the next 12 months it will not result in more than six trophies. And seriously, what are the chances it wins all six again? Though if anybody can pull it off, it's likely Pep Guardiola's side.
Upcoming schedule: That's it for this year. Their next game is Jan. 2 against Villareal. They host Sevilla in the first round of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 four days afterwards.

2. Girondins Bordeaux
Last ranking: 2
Record: 19-4-2
Results of note: A scoreless draw at then-No. 18 Olympique Marseille (Aug. 30), drew at then No. 5 Juventus (1-1, Sept. 15), beat then-No. 16 Bayern Munich at home (2-1, Oct. 21), won at then-No. 19 Bayern Munich (2-0, Nov. 3), beat then-No. 6 Juventus at home (2-0, Nov. 25), won at then-No. 21 Olympique Lyonnais (1-0, Dec. 13).
Commentary/recent results: The girondins won both games last week, against Montpellier and Lorient, to hold on to the number two spot in our rankings. That's seven wins in a row. Their lead in Ligue Un is now eight points over second-placed Marseille, although they have played one game more than l'OM.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Toulouse Wednesday. Then nothing until Jan. 9 (cup tie vs. some minnow club). A clash with Marseille is on for Jan. 16. If they win that, it could be over.

3. Chelsea
Last ranking: 3
Record: 19-4-4
Results of note: Beat then-No. 10 Porto in Champions League group stage (1-0, Sept. 15), beat then-No. 7 Liverpool at home in Premiership (2-0, Oct. 4), beat then-No. 4 Man United at home in Premiership (1-0, Nov. 8), won at then-No. 12 Porto (1-0, Nov. 25), won at then-No. 9 Arsenal (3-0, Nov. 29).
Commentary/recent results: Blues defeated Pompey at midweek then managed just a draw at Upton Park. The victory over Portsmouth was their first this month. Still, Chelsea are first in the Premiership, four points ahead of Man United. This, more than their current string of form, is what keeps them in third place in our rankings.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Birmingham City on Boxing Day (Dec. 26, for those in the U.S. who don't know these things). Host Fulham in a London derby match Monday, Dec. 28.

4. Inter Milan
Last ranking: 6
Record: 15-3-6
Results of note: Beat then-No. 10 AC Milan (4-0, Aug. 29), drew then-No. 2 Barcelona at home in Champions League group stage (0-0, Sept. 17), lost at Sampdoria (1-0, Sept. 26), drew then-No. 13 Dynamo Kiev at home (2-2, Oct. 20), beat then-No. 13. Dynamo Kiev on the road (2-1, Nov. 4), lost at then-No. 3 Barcelona (2-0, Nov. 24), lost at then-No. 11 Juventus (2-1, Dec. 5), beat then-No. 9 Rubin Kazan (2-0, Dec. 9).
Commentary/recent results: The nerazzurri won both games last week by 1-0 scores. They defeated Livorno in the Coppa Italia and dropped Lazio in Serie A yesterday. Both games were played at the San Siro.
Upcoming schedule: That's it for this year. Visit Chievo Jan. 6.

5. Real Madrid
Last ranking: 5
Record: 15-4-3
Results of note: Lost at then-No. 9 Sevilla (2-1, Oct. 4). drew at then-No. 17 AC Milan (1-1, Nov. 3), lost at then-No. 3 Barcelona (1-0, Nov. 29), won at then-No. 12 Valencia (3-2, Dec. 12).
Commentary/recent results: The merengues beat up on Real Zaragossa 6-0 on Saturday to move within two points of Barcelona.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Osasuna on Sunday, Jan. 3.

6. Manchester United
Last ranking: 4
Record: 18-6-2
Results of note: Beat then No. 4 Arsenal at home (2-1, Aug. 29), beat then-No. 13 Manchester City (4-3, Sept. 20), lost at then-No. 20 Liverpool (2-0, Oct. 25), lost at then-No. 1 Chelsea (1-0, Nov. 8)
Commentary/recent results: Red Devils recorded a pair of 3-0 results last week. Unfortunately, they were only on the winning side of one of them, over Wolverhampton. They lost the other, to Fulham at Craven Cottage Saturday. Still, they are only four points behind Chelsea. The Premiership race is nowhere close to being decided. Arsenal could even join the picture.
Upcoming schedule: At Hull City Sunday.

7. Arsenal
Last ranking: 8
Record: 15-5-3
Results of note: Lost at then-No. 5 Man United (2-1, Aug. 29), lost at then-No. 16 Man City (4-2, Sept. 12), beat then-No. 15 Olympiakos at home in Champions League group play (2-0, Sept. 29), beat then-No. 20 Liverpool at home in League Cup (2-1, Oct. 28), lost to then-No. 1 Chelsea at home in Premiership (3-0, Nov. 29).
Commentary/recent results: One win and one draw for Gunners last week. They inexplicably dropped points at Burnley before defeating Hull City 3-0 at the weekend. Two points is all that separates Arsene Wenger's side from second-placed Man United. And Gunners have a game in hand
Upcoming schedule: Host fourth-placed Aston Villa Sunday.

8. Bayern Munich
Last ranking: 10
Record: 15-4-7
Results of note: Beat then-No. 11 VfL Wolfsburg at home (3-0, Aug. 28), lost at then-No. 22 Hamburg SV (1-0, Sept. 26), drew then-No. 5 Juventus at home in Champions League group stage (0-0, Sept. 30), lost at then-No. 17 Girondins Bordeaux (2-1, Oct. 21), lost at home to then-No. 7 Bordeaux (2-0, Nov. 3), tied then-No. 19 Bayer Leverkusen at home (1-1, Nov. 22), won at then-No. 8 Juventus (4-1, Dec. 8).
Commentary/recent results: Bayern continue to roll, defeating Hertha Berlin last week by a 5-2 score. Yes, Hertha suck but still that's six straight victories for the Bavarian side. It's been eight games since they lost. Their goal difference the last five games is 19-5. Not bad.
Upcoming schedule: Nothing until Jan. 15 when they host Hoffenheim.

9. AC Milan
Last ranking: 9
Record: 11-5-7
Results of note: Lost at then-No. 8 Inter Milan (4-0, Aug. 27), won at then-No. 16 Olympique Marseille (2-1, Sept. 15), won at then-No. 2 Real Madrid (3-2, Oct. 21), drew then-No. 5 Real Madrid at home (1-1, Nov. 3), drew against then-No. 22 Olympique Marseille (1-1, Nov. 25).
Commentary/recent results: None last week. The rossoneri's match at Fiorentina was canceled due to inclement weather.
Upcoming schedule: That's it for this year. Host Genoa Jan. 6 and Juventus the ensuing Sunday, Jan. 10.

10. Sevilla
Last ranking: 7
Record: 14-3-3
Results of note: Beat then No. 21 Unirea Urziceni in Champions League group stage at home (2-0, Sept. 16), won at then-No. 24 Glasgow Rangers in Champions League group stage (4-1, Sept. 30), defeated then-No. 1 Real Madrid at home (2-1, Oct. 4).
Commentary/recent results: Los palanganas lost at home to Getafe on Saturday to end their year on a down note. Nine points now separate Sevilla from first place Barca, though they hold onto third place in La Liga because fourth-placed Valencia drew their match. We have a feeling Sevilla are in for a tough time in the new year. Their schedule has been cake thus far. They have yet to visit Camp Nou or the Bernabeu. That is about to change however...
Upcoming schedule: Visit Atletico Madrid Jan. 2, then play three of their next four games against Barcelona. Two in the Copa del Rey, one in La Liga. Where will Sevilla be at the end of that stretch? Probably not in the top 10, but that's just a hunch.

11. PSV Eindhoven
Last ranking: 12
Record: 19-0-5
Results of note: Drew at Twente (1-1, Aug. 9).
Commentary/recent results: Defeated CFR Cluj in a meaningless Europa League encounter. Their Eredivisie match was called off. Though they remain unbeaten in all competition, PSV are only second in the Dutch top flight, two points behind Twente.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Heerenveen Wednesday, followed by a month of nothing. Their next match is Jan. 22. Drew Hamburg SV in the Europa League round of 32. The winner gets the winner of Anderlecht and Bilbao in the round of 16.

12. Benfica Lisbon
Last ranking: 18
Record: 15-3-3
Results of note: Lost at then-No. 22 Sporting Braga (2-0, Oct. 31), trounced Everton 5-0 in Europa League (Oct. 22), defeated then-No. 11 Porto at home (1-0, Dec. 20).
Commentary/recent results: Benfica booked their biggest victory of the season yesterday, dropping defending champs Porto by 1-0 to reclaim first place in Liga Sagres. Earlier in the week they defeated AEK Athens in a meaningless Europa League encounter. They lucked out in the Round of 32 draw, with Hertha Berlin. They get the winner of Marseille-Copenhagen in the Round of 16. Anyway, with the victory over Porto they leap all the way to the doorway of the top 10. But a lot will be needed to break through.
Upcoming schedule: Idle until Jan. 10, when Liga Sagres returns to action.

13. Porto
Last ranking: 11
Record: 14-5-1
Results of note: Lost at then-No. 3 Chelsea in Champions League group stage (1-0, Sept. 15), lost at home to then-No. 1 Chelsea (1-0, Nov. 25), lost at then-No. 18 Benfica (1-0, Dec. 20).
Commentary/recent results: The Dragoes were put to the sword by rivals Benfica Lisbon, dropping them four points behind the leaders. Looks like it's going to be a close race in Portugal this season.
Upcoming schedule: That's it for this year. Visit Oliveirense in a cup tie Jan. 2. Porto go against Arsenal in the Champions League.

14. Valencia
Last ranking: 16
Record: 12-2-7
Results of note: Defeated then-No. 9 Sevilla at home (2-0, Aug. 30), drew then-No. 1 Barcelona at home (0-0, Oct. 17), lost at home to then-No. 7 Real Madrid (3-2, Dec. 12).
Commentary/recent results: Los xotos defeated Genoa 2-1 in their Europa League match Thursday to win their group. It was a pretty big game because a victory by the Italian side would have put them through to the round of 32 in Valencia's place. The game was played at Genoa to boot. Valencia face Bruges in the next round, followed by the winner of the Twente vs. Werder Bremen match up. In the weekend Liga match, Valencia managed just a scoreless draw at Deportivo La Coruna, which is not a terrible result seeing how Depor are sixth. Valencia are fourth, just one point behind third-placed Sevilla.
Upcoming schedule: Host Espanyol Saturday, Jan. 2. Then host the first leg of their Copa del Rey match-up with Deportivo La Coruna (yes, them again). A visit to Sevilla looms Jan. 31.

15. Olympiakos
Last ranking: 13
Record: 14-4-4
Results of note: Beat then-No. 17 AZ Alkmaar at home in Champions League group stage (1-0, Sept. 16), lost at then-No. 12 Arsenal in Champions League group stage (2-0, Sept. 29).
Commentary/recent results: Olympiakos lost their last math of the season at Aris Saloniki, dropping out of first place as a result.
Upcoming schedule: Host AEK Athens, Jan. 6.

16. Rubin Kazan
Last Ranking: 14
Record: 20-6-8*
Results of note: In Champions League group stage lost at then-No. 20 Dynamo Kiev (3-1, Sept. 16), drew then-No. 6 Inter Milan at home (1-1, Oct. 6), won at then-No. 1 Barcelona (2-1, Oct. 20), drew then-No. 3 Barcelona at home (0-0, Nov. 3), drew then-No. 13 Dynamo Kiev at home (0-0, Nov. 24), lost at then-No. 5 Inter Milan (2-0, Dec 9).
Commentary/recent results: The Russian season is over. Kazan are champions. Face Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Europa League round of 32. The victor faces the winner of Wolfsburg and Villareal.
Upcoming schedule: What starts first, the Russian league or the next stage of the Europa League? Anybody know?
*Russian league starts in the spring.

17. Dynamo Kiev
Last ranking: 17
Record: 15-4-3
Results of note: Won home match against then-No. 22 Rubin Kazan in Champions League group stage (3-1, Sept. 16), lost at then-No. 2 Barcelona in Champions League group stage, drew at then-No. 4 Inter Milan (2-2, Oct. 20), lost at then-No. 22 Shakhtar Donetsk in domestic cup (2-0, Oct. 28), lost at home to then-No. 2 Inter Milan (2-1, Nov. 4), defeated then-No. 14 Shakhtar Donetsk (3-0, Nov. 21), drew at then-No. 8 Rubin Kazan (0-0, Nov. 24), lost at home to then-No. 1 Barcelona (2-1, Dec. 9).
Commentary/recent results: Idle.
Upcoming schedule: Nothing until February.

18. Bayer Leverkusen
Last ranking: 20
Record: 9-1-8
Results of note: Won at then-No. 15 VfL Wolfsburg (3-2, Sept. 12), drew at then-No. 14 Hamburg SV (0-0, Oct. 17), drew at then-No. 24 Bayern Munich (1-1, Nov. 22).
Commentary/recent results: Leverkusen defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-2 on Saturday to clinch the unofficial title of Wintermeister. All that means is they are the Bundesliga club with the most amount of points at the season's midpoint.
Upcoming schedule: Nothing until Jan. 16, when they host Mainz.

19. Fenerbahce Istanbul
Last ranking: 23
Record: 16-5-1
Results of note: Beat Galatasaray (3-1, Oct. 25), beat then-No. 20 Twente (Dec. 2, 1-0).
Commentary/recent results: Fener won both games they played last week, against Sheriff Tiraspol in Europa League and Tranzonspor in the Turkcell Super Lig, which they now lead by one point over Galatasaray.
Upcoming schedule: Host Altay Izmir in a cup tie Wednesday. That's it until Jan. 10. An intriguing Europa League match-up with Lille kicks off Feb. 18.

20. Aston Villa
Last ranking: 22
Record: 12-3-5
Results of note: Won at then-No. 7 Liverpool (3-1, Aug. 24), beat then-No. 3 Chelsea at home (2-1, Oct. 17), drew then-No. 10 Manchester City at home (1-1, Oct. 5), won at then-No. 3 Manchester United (1-0, Dec. 12).
Commentary/recent results: Villains won both their games last week. Granted Sunderland and Stoke City are nothing to write home about, but two victories was better than any of the big three managed. Martin O'Neill's men have now won five straight and not yielded a goal since Dec. 1.
Upcoming schedule: Visit third-placed Arsenal Sunday.

21. Shakhtar Donetsk
Last ranking: 21
Record: 17-4-4
Results of note: Lost UEFA Supercup to then-No. 2 Barcelona (1-0 in overtime, Aug. 28), beat then-No. 10 Dynamo Kiev at home in domestic cup match (2-0, Oct. 28), lost at then No. 16 Dynamo Kiev (3-0, Nov. 21).
Commentary/recent results: Lost a meaningless Europa League encounter at Partizan Belgrade. They've drawn Fulham in the Round of 32.
Upcoming schedule: The first round of the Europa League play-off, at Craven Cottage on Feb. 18.

22. RSC Anderlecht
Last ranking: 24
Record: 17-5-4
Results of note: Lost Champions League qualifier against Olympique Lyon, drew Ajax Amsterdam at home in Europa League group stage (1-1, Oct. 1).
Commentary/recent results: Defeated Ajax Amsterdam in a Europa League match that was unfortunately meaningless. Their weekend match with Bruges was called off.
Upcoming schedule: A cup tie Wednesday. Don't ask me who they're playing because I can't pronounce it. Also visit Gent Sunday. Face Atletic Bilbao in an intriguing Europa League match-up that kicks off Feb. 18.

23.OSC Lille
Last ranking: 25
Record: 12-7-5
Results of note: Beat then-No. 7 Girondins Bordeaux at home (2-0, Nov. 8), lost at then-No. 14 Valencia (3-1, Dec. 2), beat then-No. 18 Olympique Lyon (4-3, Dec. 6).
Commentary/recent results: L'OSC defeated Slavia Prague to book their advance in the Europa League and defeated Le Mans 3-0 yesterday. They face a tough Fenerbahce side in the round of 32, followed, potentially, by Liverpool (if they defeat Unirea Urziceni).
Upcoming schedule: Visit Nancy Saturday.

24. AS Roma
Last ranking: -
Record: 12-6-5
Results of note: Lost at home to then-No. 5 Juventus (3-1, Aug. 30), beat then-No. 18 Fiorentina (3-1, Sept. 20), drew at then-No. 2 Inter Milan (1-1, Nov. 8)
Commentary/recent results: Roma make their first top 25 appearance of the season. It's well deserved as the gialorossi have not lost since October. That stretch moves them all the way up to fourth place in Serie A, just three points behind second-placed AC Milan. (The distance to first-placed Inter is 11 points, however). Last week they won at CSKA Sofia and at home against Parma.
Upcoming schedule: Nothing until Jan. 6, when they visit Cagliari. Face Panathinaikos in the Europa League round of 32.

25. Twente
Last ranking: -
Record: 19-5-2
Results of note: Lost a Champions League qualifier against Sporting Lisbon (1-1 on aggregate), drew PSV Eindhoven (1-1, Aug. 9), won at Fenerbahce (2-1, Sept. 17), defeated Ajax Amsterdam at home (1-0, Nov. 8), lost at home to Fenerbahce (1-0, Dec. 2).
Commentary/recent results: I'll be honest: It was very, very difficult to not put Tottenham Hotspur in this spot. In the end, their status as a first place side (even though it's only in Holland) was enough for Twente to return to the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 30. Amazingly, none of their results have come against teams that were in the Top 25 at the time. That's one place Spurs actually have them beat. Of course, Twente also play in Europe and have more victories and fewer losses.
Upcoming schedule: Host what appears to be a cup tie Wednesday. That'll be it until Jan. 24.

Dropping Out:
Juventus (15) after losing their third straight match, at home to Catania, the last-placed club in Serie A, Manchester City (19) after losing to Tottenham Hotspur.

Also receiving consideration (in rough order of consideration received):
Tottenham Hotspur, Panathinaikos, Olympique Marseille.

Photo taken from without permission.


  1. No Liverpool is crazy - 2nd in the Premier League, quarter final of the Champions League etc.


  2. the list is pretty good, but i dont think that girondins was the second team in the world, although had done a great year and a good start of season.

    good blog, greetings from nunca podre tener un dinosaurio