These three-headed monsters could tear apart the defenses of any team put in their path.

By 90Min
March 29, 2018

Every dominant force we have seen throughout world football over the years has historically been accustomed to picking from an abundance of highly talented players. In most cases though, there are usually a select crop of truly exceptional talents, who when combined, could tear apart the defenses of any team put in their path.

Here, we take a look at nine outstanding trios, who have famously combined to form the most fearsome attacking threats the game has ever seen.


George Best, Denis Law & Bobby Charlton (Manchester United)

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Commonly referred to as the 'Holy Trinity', legendary trio George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton were hugely influential figures in Manchester United's European Cup success in the late 1960s.

They played a huge part in United's domestic successes also, with all three members of the First Division title winning sides of 1965 and 1967. 

Perhaps the most telling statistic though of their immeasurable contributions at Old Trafford lies with the individual accolades they collected, with all three winning the iconic Ballon d'Or during their time as teammates.


Johan Cruyff, Johnny Rep, Piet Keizer (Ajax/Netherlands)

Image by Toby Cudworth

Part of the irrepressible Netherlands side that reached the 1974 World Cup final, Dutch trio Johan Cruyff, Johnny Rep and Piet Keizer helped revolutionize the game of football with a slick, intricate passing style that had to seen in order to be believed.

Though they would ultimately fail to lift the Jules Rimet trophy, the trio helped Dutch powerhouses Ajax establish themselves as an unstoppable force in European football, leading the club to three successive European Cup wins during the early 1970s. 


Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/GettyImages

Though perhaps not as steeped in footballing history as their adversaries on this list, it's hard to ignore the accomplishments of Real Madrid threesome Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Comprised of two of the most expensive players in history, the trio led Los Blancos to 'La Decima' with victory over fierce rivals Atlético Madrid in the European Cup final; scoring a remarkable 97 goals in their debut campaign together.

Each have played their part in Real's subsequent successes, with two further European Cups added to a 33rd La Liga triumph, their first in five years.


Hristo Stoichkov, Michael Laudrup & Romario (Barcelona)

Romario Laudrup Stoichkov

Playing under the guidance of the legendary Johan Cruyff, Barcelona enjoyed great success during the 1993/94 campaign thanks to the brilliance of Hristo Stoichkov, Michael Laudrup and Romario.

Bulgarian legend Stoichkov was a talismanic figure both club and country, creating and scoring chances at will alongside the charismatic Romario, who himself dismantled a whole host of defences on Barcelona's way to the La Liga crown.

Their job was made all that easier by the enigmatic spark provided by Laudrup, whose place among the elite tier of creative geniuses is undoubtedly assured.


Alfredo Di Stefano, Francisco Gento & Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid

Perhaps the most feared trio of all are former Real Madrid greats Alfredo Di Stefano, Francisco Gento & Ferenc Puskas.

The dynamic trio helped Los Blancos formed one of the greatest sides in the world, as they relentlessly dominated the 1950s with a prolonged period of dominance.

They scored 500 goals between them during storied careers in the Spanish capital, with countless La Liga and European Cup crowns bagged with apparent ease. Their grace, elegance and effortless dominance of proceedings on the grand stage will perhaps never be seen again.


Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit & Frank Rijkaard (Milan)

Chris Cole/GettyImages

Following on from their great predecessors of the 1970s, Dutch trio Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit & Frank Rijkaard wrote themselves into the records books while part of the famous Milan side of the early 1990s.

Among the first signings under the controversial ownership of Silvio Berlusconi, they helped I Rossoneri become one of the most dominant forces of modern times.

They lifted three successive Serie A crowns, back to back European crowns and orchestrated an unbeaten record that stretched a whopping 58 games.


Ronaldo, Ronaldinho & Rivaldo (Brazil)

Andreas Rentz/GettyImages

Brazilian legends Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo inspired their country to World Cup glory back in 2002, as the Samba kings reasserted their authority at the top of the game.

The trio sparked into life during the tournament both individually and cohesively, as Brazil serenely sealed their place in the latter stages of the competition. Ultimate success over Germany in the final would silence the many critics Brazil had before the tournament, with Ronaldo topping the goalscoring charts with 9 goals.

The iconic figures would combine on the international stage for four years in total, tearing apart defense after defense at will.


Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar (FC Barcelona)

Denis Doyle/GettyImages

Famed around the world for the moniker 'MSN', there are few comparisons that can be made to the legendary combination of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

The Barcelona trio combined for an eye watering 364 goals and 173 assists, having taken to the field for a combined 450 appearances together. Their ruthless levels of performance struck fear into opposition all around the world, firing the Catalan giants to unprecedented success over a trophy laden three year period.

A single European Cup title Two La Liga crowns, Three Copa Del Rey successes, and Club World Cup glory reflect the dominance they helped assert during that time, though words fail to adequately describe their all conquering capabilities.


Jairzinho, Tostão & Pelé (Brazil)

Image by Toby Cudworth

Arguably three of the most precocious talents to ever play the game, Brazilian legends Jairzinho, Tostão & Pelé were integral parts of perhaps the greatest ever World Cup team ever put together.

Their 1970 World Cup success was built on the foundations of Jairzinho scoring in every game of the competition, though their international exploits form only part of their storied careers.

Tostão still holds the goalscoring record at boyhood idols Cruzeiro to this day, while Pelé rivals Lionel Messi as potentially the greatest player of all time.

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