Football

World football's ultimate all-time best XI

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Messi is in good company here.
Messi is in good company here..

So many astounding players have amazed us in football over the years. This is a team (including a manager and eight substitutes) of the greatest players ever, assembled in the classic 4-4-2 formation.

Manager: Jock Stein

Stein will be remembered for his extraordinary success with Celtic (especially in the 1966/67 season where they won five trophies). One of these trophies was the European Cup, where they faced a formidable Internazionale side under Helenio Herrera in Lisbon. Yet against all odds they triumphed due to Stein's leadership.

Bench:

Gordon Banks

Rememebered for THAT save v Pele in the World Cup, Banks had unbelievable reactions. He even continued playing for a short while after losing his sight in one eye after a car accident.

Cafu

Incredibly fast and skillful, Cafu was the perfect right-wing back, making overlapping run after overlapping run and captaining Brazil to 2002 World Cup glory.

Zico

A perfect midfielder. Fantastic at passing, skill moves, free-kicks and long shots, Zico flew highest with Flamengo in the Brazilian League.

Michel Platini

Able to control any match, Platini had the vision to supply great through balls and hardly ever missed a free-kick opportunity.

Francesco Totti

A one-club man with Roma, Totti can pass with extraordinary skill, control any ball and score magnificent goals. Although a playmaker, Totti has an unbelievable 260 career goals to his name.

George Best

Although his best spell was over before he was 28, Best is remembered for his Manchester United Magic. His ball control and finishing were simply unrivalled.

Garrincha

As a result of a physical peculiarity, Garrincha could change direction with inhuman speed. This made him the perfect speedy winger. He also had a long shot or two up his sleeve. 

Ronaldo

Fast, strong and able to glue the ball to his feet, Ronaldo was an explosive forward and was impossible to contain.

Starting XI:

Goalkeeper: Dino Zoff

This may be controversial, but Zoff had better reflex than any other 'keeper in history. He did not concede an nternational goal over a two year period (1972-1974).

Left-back: Paolo Maldini

Maldini had it all; he was fast and strong in the tackle, positionally superb and a great leader amongst men. He spent 24 years at AC Milan.

Centre-back: Franz Beckenbauer

History's first sweeper Beckenbauer controlled any game he played. One moment he was mopping up at the back, the next running forward providing goals and assists.

Centre-back: Bobby Moore

He had incredible coordination. Unbeatable in the air and perfect in the tackle, he captained England to their only World Cup triumph to date.

Right-back: Javier Zanetti

Since 1993, Zanetti has been playing for Inter at the very highest level. His consistency is simply amazing.

Left-wing: Diego Maradona

Arguably history's greatest, Maradona combined strength, skill and an accurate shot with vision and a never-say-die attitude.

Centre-midfield: Zinedine Zidane

Possibly history's most ambidextrous player, Zidane had skill, flair, passing ability and was superb at long shots.

Centre-midfield: Johan Cruyff

Cruyff had more skills than any other player. Famed for his 'Cruyff Turn', he could make any defender seem like a child with his footwork and balance.

Right-wing: Ronaldinho

A typical Brazilian with extraordinary skills, perfect finishing ability, vision and a tendency to provide on the big occasions. Ronaldinho is a hopeful for the World Cup in his home country.

Striker: Pele

Although he spent his career a weak Brazilian League, Pele was unique in every sense. Pele was fast, creative, two-footed and pioneering.

Striker: Lionel Messi

Messi is simply astonishing. With a left-foot forged in heaven, speed, skill and a habit of scoring lob goals, Messi's astonishing goal rate and astounding passing ability make him one of the greatest ever.

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Topics:
Football
Zinedine Zidane
Ronaldo
Pele
Lionel Messi
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