Messi, Zidane, Ronaldo: The best Barcelona + Real Madrid XI of the century has been named

Messi, Zidane, Ronaldo: The best Barcelona + Real Madrid XI of the century has been named

When talking about the most anticipated matches in world football, El Clasico can never be far from the discussion. For many across the globe, Real Madrid vs Barcelona is as big as it gets.

Both sides may not quite be the powerhouse outfits they once were at the current time, but the rivalry between the pair still burns intensely. 

Historically a stage reserved for the very finest players on the planet, the sheer amount of world-class talent to have featured in the fixture since the year 2000 is absolutely mindboggling.

With that in mind, when the BT Sport Football Twitter account launched a fan vote to determine this century’s ultimate El Clasico XI – assembled from the very best to represent the two sides in the period – controversy over the final line-up was inevitable.

Although there were a few top-tier superstars who simply couldn’t be ignored, both Real and Barca can offer multiple deserving candidates for most positions across the pitch.

The results are in – and you can check out the elite XI below.

The El Clasico XI of the Century (per BT Sport Football)

GK: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

LB: Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid)

CB: Carlos Puyol (Barcelona)

CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

RB: Dani Alves (Barcelona)

CM: Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Zidane in action vs Barcelona

CM: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)

CM: Xavi (Barcelona)

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

RW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

ST: Ronaldo Nazário (Real Madrid)

El Clasico XI of the century


First and foremost, what an incredible line-up!

There’s no less than 33 Champions League winners medals among this lot, with Ronaldo Nazário the only player not to have lifted the top prize in European football.

In addition, the XI boasts a staggering 15 Ballon d’Or crowns. Lionel Messi (7), Cristiano Ronaldo (5), Ronaldo Nazário (2) and Zinedine Zidane (1) have all been crowned the best player on the planet during their careers.

Ronaldinho in action for Barcelona

However, that number could easily be greater. Both 2005 winner Ronaldinho (Barcelona) and 2018 victor Luka Modric (Real) failed to make the cut, such was the competition.

In fact, that absence of the Brazilian superstar in particular was a big talking point on social media – with many baffled by him being overlooked in the vote. 

“Ronaldhino can replace any player on that pitch,” wrote one disillusioned fan.



“Can’t lie CR7 can bounce for my guy Dinho,” declared another, arguing that Cristiano Ronaldo should make way for the playmaker in the XI.

“When I think of El Clasico, one of the first names that comes into my head is Ronaldinho. He’s got to be in there,” complained a third comment.

However, the man that fans were most surprised to see omitted from the final XI was legendary Barcelona midfield maestro Andrés Iniesta.

Iniesta in action for Barcelona

There was a definite air of disbelief in the comments section with this one.

“No Iniesta is an actual crime against football,” read a first protest. 

A second agreed: “The lack of Andres Iniesta makes this null and void immediately,”

Another asked: “The best midfielder to ever play the game left out?”

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: The ultimate El Clasico quiz

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In the 246 competitive meetings, which side has won the most?

“I don’t care who you take out, but Iniesta has to be included in this team,” stated a fourth response on the matter.

“A team without Ronaldinho and Iniesta? Get out,” blasted a final user, summing up the general feeling on the pair of hotly-debated absentees. 

Of course, these types of fantasy XIs are always subjective, meaning that – even after a vote – there can never be a definitive answer.

With that said, breaking up the iconic Barca midfield trio of Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets does feel strange, hypothetical scenario or not.

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