He may not have played in the Premier League but that doesn’t mean Zinedine Zidane hasn’t been watching English football very closely.
In fact, he’s so knowledgable on the league that he’s picked his all-time Premier League XI - and it’s pretty good too!
The former midfielder won Serie A, La Liga, the Champions League and the World Cup during his playing career for the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid. Unfortunately, fans in England weren’t privileged enough to see him grace the Premier League.
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When picking an all-time XI, you’re always going to have to leave some world-class players out and Zidane has missed out the likes of Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidic from his team.
Surprisingly, Zidane leaves out compatriot Eric Cantona but then picks a Frenchman that can consider himself very fortunate to be selected - find out who, below.
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The Real Madrid boss opts for an old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation but strangely decides on four central-midfielder and no wingers - he’ll never make it as a manager!
Zidane was talking to ShortList.com and picked this incredible team - with a few surprises:
GOALKEEPER - PETER SCHMEICHEL
“There is a big case for him being the best ever, not just the best the Premier League has ever seen.
“He was so imposing, he had this ability to make himself look bigger and for the goal to look smaller.”
LEFT-BACK - ASHLEY COLE
“After Roberto [Carlos] retired, Cole was the great left sided defender. As well as offering so much in attack, he’d also stop the best attacking players in the world.”
CENTRE-BACK - JAAP STAM
“Alex Ferguson didn’t make many mistakes, but selling Stam was one.
“Manchester United really struggled when he left, and didn’t look the same in defence until [Nemanja] and [Rio] Ferdinand formed their partnership.”
CENTRE-BACK - RIO FERDINAND
“Such a big part of Manchester United’s success for many seasons, what really put him amongst the elite defenders was how comfortable he was on the ball.
“He would pass his way out of defence, and there are not many central defenders that can do that.”
RIGHT-BACK - GARY NEVILLE
“How many players stayed that long at Manchester United under Alex Ferguson?
“He made that position his own. It is not enough just to call him reliable; you don’t stay in great Manchester United teams for that length of team just by being reliable.
“He was one of the best in his position for many years.”
MIDFIELD - CLAUDE MAKELELE
“The Madrid players were disappointed when he was sold to Chelsea. I can’t talk up his importance enough.
“Sometimes it might look like he does an invisible job, but he allows the attacking players to do their job. The best ever at what he does.”
MIDFIELD - STEVEN GERRARD
“For a time he was the best midfield player in the world. I told Madrid I wanted to play alongside him, but he was loyal to Liverpool.
“That was lucky for them, because he was a pleasure to watch and the complete midfield player.”
MIDFIELD - PATRICK VIERA
“An amazing athlete, who could control a game at either end of the field. A special captain for Arsenal, and a big part of their success.”
MIDFIELD - PAUL SCHOLES
“There is very little I can say about Paul Scholes, because if you have ever seen him play, then you don’t need me to tell you how good he was.
“One of my favourite players from any era, he was a player who made the hardest things look so easy.”
STRIKER - THIERRY HENRY
“When he used to run at defences you could see they were terrified, there was almost no stopping him.
“He could score all types of goals, but also he could score a goal out of nothing, that he had no right to score.”
STRIKER - CRISTIANO RONALDO
“He was the best player in the world for the last two seasons he had at Manchester United, and has gone on to a level at Madrid that puts him among the all-time greats.
“He is so much more than his incredible goal scoring record, and still has many big seasons ahead of him.”
You can’t really complain with too many of Zidane’s choices to be honest. Picking all all-time Premier League XI is an impossible task and people are never going to fully agree.
That’s what makes football great, the differing opinions.
And who are we to argue with Zidane?
He is probably more qualified than any of us to select the XI greatest players to play in England.
Having said that:
Who do you think should make the Premier League all-time XI? Let us know in the comments box below!
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