Greatest XI of the decade so far
Who are the best footballers of the last three years?
We are still in 2013, of course, but here I am going to name my best XI of the decade so far. Some stars are impossible to leave out, but many other big names have missed the cut.
Formation : 4-4-2
Goalkeeper : Iker Casillas
He may be currently struggling in Madrid, but no-one can forget the phenomenal saves 'Saint Iker' made over the years. Since the start of the decade, the Spaniard has used his super-fast reflexes and his commanding presence between the posts to win the La Liga title with Real and both the World Cup and European Championships with the Spanish national team.
Right-back: Daniel Alves
The tireless wing-back is capable of marauding down the flank and surprisingly resilient defence. The Brazilian is an important pillar of the Barcelona's recent success and is the most dangerous right-back of the last few years.
Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic
When we make it to the year 2018, Vidic will probably not be in this XI, possibly having his place taken by Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos. However, the Serbian's assertive, no-nonsense defending style - along with his balance and positioning skills - makes him my top choice.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva
For many, Silva is the best defender in the world today. Known for his confident tackling, reading of the game and his strong mentality, the Brazilian defender has put it a number of stunning performances for AC Milan and PSG over the past few years.
Left-back: Philipp Lahm
What a combination of tireless runner and leader this guy is. The German is the current Bayern Munich captain, a wing-back with both defending and attacking skills and a true leading presence on the pitch.
Defensive-midfield: Xabi Alonso
The Basque-born midfielder is a fine example of a modern, deep-lying playmaker. Alonso holds a very important role in the Real Madrid side, playing incredibly accurate long balls, taking set-pieces and calming the midfield when necessary.
Centre-midfield: Andres Iniesta
It's hard to imagine the success of Barcelona without Iniesta's contribution. His agility, passing ability and ball control makes Iniesta able to play in all of the midfield positions.
Right-midfield: Franck Ribery
The most important player in the current Bayern Munich squad, the Frenchman is a true winner at heart. Known for his speed and dribbling ability, Ribery led the Munich side to the 2013 Champions League trophy.
Left-midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo
Like him or not, the Portuguese star is one the most prolific goalscorers ever and probably the most athletic footballer of-all time. Ronaldo is an icon at Real Madrid, the player that has either the first or last word of every attack they make.
Centre-forward: Lionel Messi
The 27-year-old is widely considered as the best footballer in the world right now. With countless individual honours, the Argentine is an unstoppable record-breaker and probably the most important contributor in Barcelona's history.
Centre-forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It's sad that Ibrahimovic is rather more famous for his extraordinary personality more than his excessive football talent. He is genuinely unstoppable and mentally hard as a rock. Strong and agile, he plays well with his back to goal and boasts some of the best finishing.
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