Football players and supporters are finding new and inventive ways to entertain themselves amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
In the absence of live football across most of the continent, fans are having to reminisce on old matches, participate in sports quizzes and take part in various social media challenges.
In terms of the latter, one of the most interesting trends has seen people select their favourite ‘world XI’ from players who were active in their lifetime, but with a complicating catch.
The major stipulation is that you can’t select any two players who shared a club or country which, as you can probably imagine, makes a relatively simple task a much, much harder one.
That means you want to avoid players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo Nazario who have spanned many of Europe’s biggest clubs and thus, really limit your choices elsewhere.
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New World XI challenge
You’d have to accept that if you picked Lionel Messi, for example, that suddenly Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and many others would be off the table.
Got it? Well, the challenge has started to spread amongst former professionals and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher recently took the plunge by naming his preferred XI on Twitter.
The Sky Sports pundit opted for: Neville Southall, Philip Lahm, Franco Baresi, Vincent Kompany, Roberto Carlos, Roy Keane, Steven Gerrard, Pavel Nedved, Messi, Didier Drogba and Kylian Mbappe.
Gerrard names his World XI
And clearly that’s rubbed on his former Liverpool captain because now Gerrard has decided to get involved and his preferences have most certainly piqued the interest of supporters.
Perhaps most interestingly of all, Gerrard has only named five of the same players as Carragher, proving there is room for manoeuvrability amidst the strict rulings.
But enough chit-chat, you can check out the ‘World XI’ that the Premier League chose and decide whether you would make any alterations if you’re a similar age to Gerrard.
To be fair, that team would take some serious beating.
The idea of Messi and Mbappe provided ammunition for Drogba is pretty frightening, while a centre-back partnership of Kompany and Kalidou Koulibaly would be rock solid in front of Jan Oblak.
Plus, Gerrard reserved some special praise for Roy Keane by telling Sky Sports: “He was a top player. I don’t think you appreciated how good he was until you were up against him.”
Perhaps the most notable absentees were Lahm and Zidane, who were both eligible, as well as the fact not a single Englishman is given the call-up, including Gerrard himself.
Anyhow, Gerrard’s XI aside, if you’re looking for something to pass 10 minutes or so in lockdown, why rack your brains and see how your dream team would line up under the regulations.