The 10 Best Teams of the 2016/17 Season
With another action-packed season behind us, we've taken a look at 10 of the best teams of the year.
The final whistle has blown on the 2016/17 season and the dust is starting to settle on yet another eventful year. With transfer rumours in full flow, players enjoying their well earned holidays and the euphoria still flowing (for some), we've taken a look back at the 10 best teams of the season. How many do you agree with?
It's been another season to remember for Benfica. The kings of Portugal strengthened their hold on the Portuguese Primeira Liga as they won their 36th league title on the penultimate weekend of the season.
The Eagles finished 6 points ahead of their closest rivals Porto, with Rui Vitória's side impressively only losing twice during the season with their incredible unbeaten home record at the Estádio da Luz stretching back to 2009. Their 5-0 thrashing of 4th place finishers Vitória S.C. marked their fourth consecutive league title, before they then beat the same side in the final of the Taça de Portugal cup to secure an impressive domestic double.
We had to give a special mention to Chapecoense on our list. After the devastating plane crash which killed all but three of the club's squad, the world of football rallied around the Brazilian team and helped support them to carry on.
Chape were awarded the Copa Sudamericana title in December — the final which they had been travelling to when the tragic accident occurred. An outpouring of grief and support came from football clubs, players and fans worldwide, while several Brazilian and Argentian teams offered some of their players on loan to help Chapecoense back onto their feet.
In May, they lifted the Santa Catarina state championship as they look to rebuild during the rest of the 2017 Brasileiro Série A season. Umbro — the Chapecoense's shirt manufacturer — have made the club's third shirt widely available, with all of the proceeds going towards the team's rehabilitation. A great gesture for a club that now has supporters across the globe.
Even though they finished runners-up both domestically and in the Europa League, Ajax still left a lasting impression this season. As we've come to expect from the Dutch side, yet again they have developed young talent and homegrown players, while sticking to their tactical philosophy and getting the results.
Including Kasper Dolberg, Bertrand Traoré, Davy Klaassen and Justin Kluivert, the team's average age in the Europa League final was just 22-years-old.
Thanks to Ajax's exploits this season, and helped by a coaching staff and boardroom including Edwin van der Sar and Dennis Bergkamp, gaffer Peter Bosz has earned himself a move to the Borussia Dortmund dugout.
6. Tottenham Hotspur
For the second season in a row, Spurs have scored the most and conceded the least in the Premier League. Yet, they've failed to lift the title on both occasions, but they have come into their own and established themselves as title contenders moving forward.
The English duo of Harry Kane and Dele Alli continue to develop under Mauricio Pochettino's guidance, while their defence is similarly astute. Despite not pushing Chelsea further, Spurs ended the season emphatically with 6-1 and 7-1 away wins over Leicester and Hull, respectively.
Should the Lillywhites keep a hold of Golden Boot winner Kane and bolster their squad ahead of another Champions League campaign, the London side could improve further next season.
5. Red Bull Leipzig
RB Leipzig & Bayern's 9-goal thriller in the Bundesliga. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/fJUoNaIBgS— Anthony Sellers (@ant_sel) May 15, 2017
The biggest surprise package in Europe, RB Leipzig racked up an impressive 20 victories in their first season in the Bundesliga, finished 2nd and automatically qualified for the Champions League.
Despite their controversial ownership under the Red Bull brand, Leipzig won over neutrals with their exciting attacking talent. 21-year-old frontman Timo Werner was awarded with a call-up to the senior Germany team for his goal tally, while Emil Forsberg recorded the most assists (19) across Europe's big five leagues.
Ralph Hasenhüttl's side impressively defeated Leverkusen, Schalke, Mönchengladbach and Dortmund, and they also pushed champions Bayern to the wire in the penultimate game of the season in a nine-goal thriller. If next season is half as exciting for Leipzig then their fans are in for a treat.
As everyone looked towards Manchester to see whether Mourinho or Guardiola would reign supreme in the league, Antonio Conte went about his business in London and helped Chelsea reclaim the Premier League title they failed so miserably to defend last year.
The acquisition of N'Golo Kanté — more than anything else — helped Conte's side to the league title, as he covered every blade of grass in front of a watertight back three of Cahill, Azpilicueta and David Luiz.
Although they were pushed by Pochettino's Spurs side, Chelsea looked favourites for the title from the end of 2016 as they won 13 consecutive games — equalling Arsenal's top-flight record. With Conte looking to strengthen his side further in the summer, we imagine they'll put up a stronger title defence than the last time round.
Featuring a dovetail attacking combination of Radamel Falcao's experience and Kylian Mbappé's exuberance, the principality side took both Ligue 1 and the Champions League by storm this season.
Providing some of the best attacking football on the continent, the French side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League — with some thrilling games against both Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. They also exceeded expectations domestically, finishing eight points ahead of PSG, ending the Parisian's four-year Ligue 1 dominance and lifting their first league title in 17 years.
Inevitably, Leonardo Jardim's side will be picked apart with bigger clubs swooping in for their star players. But whatever happens this summer in the French Riviera, the season will live long in the memory of Monaco fans.
With the toughest defence in Europe, Juventus secured yet another domestic double and came close to ending their 21-year wait for a Champions League title. The addition of Gonzalo Higuaín, Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanić and Juan Cuadrado to an already strong squad meant the loss of Álvaro Morata and Paul Pogba was barely felt.
Massimiliano Allegri led the Old Lady to their 6th consecutive Scudetto and achieved an impressive 33 match unbeaten streak at home — a Serie A record — with a deadly attack based on a robust and extremely experienced defence. Although Juve failed to cap off their season with European silverware, it has still been a very successful campaign packed with dominant displays from the Old Lady.
1. Real Madrid
What a season it's been for Los Blancos. Spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, yet again, Real Madrid sealed a historic double in 2017. Not only did Real lift their first La Liga title in five years, but they also became the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League.
Their third European triumph in four years meant they extended their record hold on old big ears with an incredible 12 winners medals to their name. Ronaldo & Co scored in every game they played this season and even Juventus' airtight defence couldn't keep them from scoring, as they secured the Champions League title with a 4-1 win in Cardiff.
As each season goes by, the spotlight falls on Ronaldo further and questions are raised whether he's past his best, but yet again he's shown he's still at the peak of his powers and can lead Real to incredible success. With more superstar signings on the horizon and Zizou looking as imperious in the dugout as he did on the pitch, we struggle to see anyone knocking them off their throne anytime soon.
There you have it: our 10 best teams of the 2016/17 season. How many do you agree with? Let us know who we've missed off or who should be higher in the comments section below.