Ronaldo, Zidane, Maldini: The greatest European XI of all time as voted by fans

  • Kobe Tong

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Euro 2020 has showcased some of the best footballers from across the continent.

World-class talent at Euro 2020

While every corner of the world has produced legendary players, European football continues to be seen by many as the sport's pinnacle with countless top athletes emanating from its shores.

Besides, it says everything about the level of talent on display in Europe that everyone from Kylian Mbappe to Kevin De Bruyne haven't been good enough to reach the semi-finals this summer.

And while it remains to be seen who exactly will lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, that doesn't stop us from putting the continent's top performers under the microscope.

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European football legends

After all, some of Europe's leading lights in the modern game also happen to be amongst the greatest footballers that this area of the world has ever produced.

The obvious example is Cristiano Ronaldo with the Portuguese superstar rubbing shoulders with South American greats like Pele and Diego Maradona in the GOAT (greatest of all time) debate.

That's not to mention the fact that the aforementioned Mbappe, as well as Erling Braut Haaland, might similarly be in the conversation once they reach their prime in the years to come.

Who are Europe's greatest ever players?

However, before we get ahead of ourselves, it's important to suss out the competition and here at GIVEMESPORT, we've been assessing who fans consider to be Europe's greatest ever.

Last week, we used ranker.com and their interactive list titled: 'The Best Soccer Players of All Time' to see who more than 440,000 fans thought were the best male Europeans to ever play football.

Naturally, many of the highest-placed players plied their trade in forward positions, so we've now decided to take a new angle on things by assessing what the highest-rated starting XI would like.

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Or to put things another way: who do fans think are the best European players of all time in each position?

Greatest European XI of all time

So, yes, that doesn't mean that we're revealing fans' top 11 European footballers, but rather the top dogs in each position and it's fair to say that the resulting line-up makes for interesting reading.

As such, be sure to reach for your nearest picket sign and pitchfork as the collective opinion of hundreds of thousands of fans inevitability cause chaos - and check out the final XI down below:

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

To be fair to the supporters on ranker.com, they've got plenty of things right and it's difficult to argue with the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer getting the nod.

That being said, it's really hard to stomach the absence of Johan Cruyff who, despite coming within a whisker of making the cut, should easily have been one of the first names on the team sheet.

Bergkamp also sticks out like a sore thumb in the front three. There's no denying that he's one of the greatest players of all time, but he shouldn't be starting ahead of Ferenc Puskas and Thierry Henry.

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However, perhaps the most egregious selection of all is Luka Modric who is bizarrely voted above Andres Iniesta and Xavi as one of the 10 greatest footballers to have ever played the game.

Perhaps people got a little trigger-happy with their voting around the time he won the 2018 Ballon d'Or because with all due respect to the Croatian wizard, there's no chance he should be starting.

Then again, in a world where boats are named 'Boaty McBoatface' in public votes, should we really be surprised that mass polls aren't always the most accurate systems?

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