Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe: Premier League vs Rest of the World XI - who would win?

Kylian Mbappe smiling

Earlier this year, we saw the second all-English Champions League final in the last three seasons as Chelsea edged past Manchester City.

This term, all four English sides have eased through to the last 16 of the competition, leading to some questioning whether anyone can compete with the Premier League at the moment.

Here at GIVEMESPORT, we’ve decided to put that to the test by comparing the Premier League’s best XI with a Rest of the World XI. Here’s how the two sides match up with one another…

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) vs Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Mendy has had a remarkable first year at Stamford Bridge, helping the Blues to Champions League glory in May. His form has continued this season as he has looked almost unbeatable at times, with Thomas Tuchel’s side having only conceded nine goals in their 15 league games.

Meanwhile, Neuer continues to set the bar for modern-day goalkeepers, despite being just a few months short of his 36th birthday. He makes everything look easy, from making saves to playing the ball out from the back. He could well end up playing into his forties.

It is a close call between the pair, but Neuer has been the best goalkeeper in the world for the past decade and deserves to get the nod.

Verdict: Manuel Neuer. 

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) vs Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich)

At just 23, Alexander-Arnold may just be the most creative full-back English football has ever seen. He can pick a pass like no one else, and his crossing is extraordinary as well.

Pavard cannot match him from an attacking sense, but the Frenchman, who can also play as a central defender, is a steadying influence at the back for Bayern.

Full-backs have to get involved in attacks nowadays, and Alexander-Arnold’s strengths going forward far outweigh his defensive vulnerabilities. The right-back berth is his.

Verdict: Trent Alexander-Arnold

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Centre-back: Ruben Dias (Manchester City) vs Marquinhos (PSG)

City badly missed Vincent Kompany in 2019/20, and it arguably played a major part in them missing out on the title that year. Dias has filled the void now, though, and is simply irreplaceable at the heart of the side’s defence.

Many fans think of PSG’s frontline when talking about the French giants, but Marquinhos is the player who holds it all together at the back. The 27-year-old is at the peak of his powers at the moment.

Both men have outstanding qualities, yet the impact that Dias has made at City cannot be overlooked, meaning he just edges out his Brazilian counterpart.

Verdict: Ruben Dias

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) vs Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has looked back to his best this season

Van Dijk spent eight months on the sidelines with a knee injury last season but it feels like he has never been away. The giant Dutchman has settled back into Liverpool’s defence with no issues, and has got them back into the title picture in 2021/22.

Chiellini is now 37, although he showed at the European Championships in the summer that he still has plenty to offer. The wily veteran has shown time and time again that he is a player for the big occasion.

The Italian will go down as one of the greats when he hangs up his boots, but right now van Dijk is in a league of his own, and is well on his way to cementing his legacy as one of the finest defenders in Premier League history.

Verdict: Virgil van Dijk

Left-back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) vs Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

Cancelo may be right-footed, but he has made the left-back spot his own at City this season. While his time in England has not always been smooth sailing, he now seems to be completely settled, and is one of the most important members of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

Davies only turned 21 last month, and is set to become a superstar over the coming years. His pace down the left flank is truly frightening.

This one is very tight, but the prospect of Alexander-Arnold and Cancelo playing on opposite wings is simply mouthwatering.

Verdict: Joao Cancelo

Defensive midfielder: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) vs Casemiro (Real Madrid)

Kante has had his fair share of injury problems lately. When he plays, though, he makes a huge difference. His performance in the Champions League final in May was as good as it gets from a holding midfielder.

Casemiro allows the players around him to flourish. Perhaps he is not the most eye-catching individual on the pitch, but he does the dirty work that all of his teammates will appreciate.

What Casemiro has managed to achieve at Madrid deserves huge credit, but Kante is Kante. He pops up everywhere on the pitch, and is reading of the game is second to none.

Verdict: N’Golo Kante

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Central midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) vs Pedri (Barcelona)

De Bruyne has been the best central midfielder in the Premier League over the last five years. His passing range is ridiculous, and although he has had some fitness issues this season, it is only a matter of time before he returns to his best.

Pedri might well be the best teenager in world football. He recently won the Kopa Trophy, and his performances at the European Championships for Spain were sensational. Injuries have held him back this season – Barcelona have certainly missed him.

There can be little doubt that Pedri will become one of the best players on the planet if he stays fit over the coming years, but De Bruyne warrants a spot in the team based on his accomplishments at City.

Verdict: Kevin De Bruyne

Attacking midfielder: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) vs Lionel Messi (PSG)

Lionel Messi is starting to find his feet at PSG

Silva is currently playing the best football of his career. He’s creating chances, scoring goals and always plays with a smile on his face. He may well have wrapped up City’s player of the season award already.

Then we move onto the Argentine magician. Messi has now won the Ballon d’Or on seven occasions, and has a strong case for being the greatest player to lace up a pair of boots.

Leaving Silva out feels very harsh, but overlooking Messi just isn’t possible. He has to get a place in the side.

Verdict: Lionel Messi

Right wing: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) vs Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)

Salah just can’t stop scoring. For a player who does not operate as an out-and-out striker, his numbers are scarcely believable. There’s no stopping the Egyptian winger right now.

Coman seems to have been around for years, and his trophy cabinet must be almost full, but he is actually only 25. Injuries have been an issue for him, but when he’s fit and firing, he’s a problem for any full-back. There can’t have been many people who weren’t happy for him when he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final in 2020 given his fitness struggles.

In truth, this contest isn’t particularly close. Salah is a machine and get this spot in the team every day of the week.

Verdict: Mohamed Salah

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Left wing: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) vs Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Mane looked a little off the pace last season as Liverpool had to settle for a third-place finish in England’s top-flight. He has been back on song this term, though, making his trademark runs in behind and scoring goals for fun.

Mbappe can play on the wing or up front – if he’s on the pitch, he can hurt you. The World Cup winner has every attribute a forward could possibly want, and he will surely win the Ballon d’Or one day.

Whoever played out of this pair, you’d back them to score plenty of goals. Mbappe just has that extra X-factor, though.

Verdict: Kylian Mbappe

Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) vs Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford has been far from perfect, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer departing the club in recent weeks. The Portuguese continues to hold up his end of the bargain, though, by consistently finding the back of the net.

Over in Germany, Lewandowski has been even more prolific. It is now a surprise when he doesn’t score in a game.

Lewandowski could easily have won the Ballon d’Or in each of the last two years, and, at the moment, he is the best striker in the world so he has to be picked in this team.

Verdict: Robert Lewandowski

Premier League Best XI

Rest of the World XI

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