World football: Best XI

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Football News


World football is blessed with some exceptional players in the modern era.

But what would a team look like if we could pin all these superstars into one team? Unbeatable as that team would be, it would be a visual treat, every time they took to the field and wielded their magic.

Picking 11 players from a array of immensely talented footballers is a remarkably tough task, but let's give it a try.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer | Bayern Munich

Ever since Iker Casillas fell out with Real Madrid boss, Jose Mourinho, his claim of being the best goalkeeper in the world has faded away.

While Casillas has been busy warming the Madrid bench, Manuel Neuer has been defying logic with Bayern Munich. Having conceded only 15 goals so far in the Bundesliga, Neuer has kept off some stern competition in the German ranks, and retained his place as the German No. 1.

Coming off the line in dicey situations, being bold enough to use his dribbling skills at times and stopping fierce shots while doing the above, Neuer is how one would define a modern-day goalkeeper.

He seems to be devoid of the occasional goalkeeping errors too, and add to that his German winning mentality, he surely pops up as a contender to be one of the greatest goalkeepers the world has ever seen.

Left-back: Philipp Lahm | Bayern Munich

Does anyone have a doubt that Philipp Lahm is the best full-back in the world? Surely not.

Bayern Munich's stunning season has highlighted one fact more than any other: the one stated in the first line. Lahm's subtle yet effective attacking runs down the left wing have been a big reason to Bayern Munich's exceptionally successful season.

Not only that, the fact that Lahm has captained the Bayern side and proved to be a terrific leader adds to the greatness of the full-back. Equally adept to playing on either flank, Lahm has been used with equal efficacy at the right-back position as well.

At 29 years of age, Lahm has probably a maximum of two years before age starts to catch up with his performances, but currently, there isn't a better full-back in the world.

Centre-back: Sergio Ramos | Real Madrid

Real Madrid have had only a handful of silver linings during the course of the dark cloud their season has turned out to be.

Sergio Ramos' revelation at the centre of defence has been one. His defensive sensibility along with his physicality and solid presence at the heart of both the Madrid and the Spanish defence has made him one of the most solid defenders in world football.

He has also been entrusted with the captaincy of the Los Blancos, ever since Casillas fell out with Mourinho, signalling the kind of impact he has had ever since he shifted from the right-back position to his current central role.

Also, his towering headers on set-pieces add to the overall package.

Centre-back: Dante | Bayern Munich

Yes, Dante is a surprise inclusion on this list, but being the main man of the meanest defence of the season in world football has to count for something.

His first season for the magnificent Bavarians has been nothing short of sensational. He has transformed into Jupp Heynckes' first-choice centre-back, and his intelligent sense of defending and his creative forward passes to set up several of Bayern Munich's attacks this season has put him into the elite group of solid defenders in world football.

Right-back: Pablo Zabaleta | Manchester City

Manchester City have had a terrible season in reference to their own high standards. Their recent loss to Wigan Athletic in the final of this year's FA Cup summed up their season.

The flair that characterised Manchester City's attack last season went missing this season altogether, and alongside Matija Nastasic's superb debut season, Pablo Zabaleta remained the only guy racking up consistent performances for the Citizens.

City's right-back has been, without doubt, the club's best player this season and takes his place as the right-back in this star-studded team too, wrapping up the defence of the team.

Defensive-midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger | Bayern Munich

One player who has probably grown the most during the course of his career has been the German stalwart in the middle of park, Bastian Schweinsteiger. 

Starting as a brash and careless winger, he has almost transformed into a subtle and responsible central midfielder. Enforcing the play from midfield, Bastian has been instrumental and setting up the likes of Mario Gomez and others in front of goal for Bayern Munich, this season.

Probably the best defensive midfielder in world football at present, Schweinsteiger is at the centre of midfield in this team.

Defensive-midfielder: Arturo Vidal | Juventus

Juventus have now won consecutive Serie A titles, and Arturo Vidal has been at the centre of their achievements.

Coming from the breed of tough and stout midfielders, Vidal also has a creative side to his game. Playing alongside the likes of Andrea Pirlo, the Chilean has taken a lot from him and transformed into a player the world wants.

Often the main man in the Bianconeri setup, Vidal takes his place alongside Schweinsteiger at the middle of the park in this team.

Attacking-midfielder: Juan Mata | Chelsea

Juan Mata has been exceptional this season. He has managed the most number of assists (12) among fellow Premier League players and has managed 11 goals too.

The Spaniard has been at his peak all season and has justified his big-money move from Valencia last season. Several attacking midfielders have been sensational this season, but probably none has been as instrumental in his side's performances as Mata has been.

Left-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo | Real Madrid

The inclusion of the Portuguese star is obvious. Although he missed out on his second Ballon d'Or, courtesy of arch-rival Lionel Messi, Ronaldo has been nothing short of unstoppable this season.

Scoring at will, be it dead-ball opportunities or cutting in from the left side, there is no one quite like him. Hoping to lead Real Madrid to at least the Copa del Rey later this week, the left winger in this team is obviously Ronaldo.

Right-wing: Gareth Bale | Tottenham

Yes, Bale isn't quite a right winger and is more of a left-sided player, but one does not simply exclude him of any World XI after the season he has had.

Solely responsible for Tottenham still being able to have a chance of a top-four finish to the season, Bale has been declared winner of both the PFA Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season awards.

With reported interests from Real Madrid, Bale seems to be destined for greatness.

Centre-forward: Lionel Messi | Barcelona

One has to feel for the defenders of the opponents, once they see both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo charging onto them.

Already having scored an unbelievable 46 goals this season, Messi has stomped his authority all over La Liga. His recent injury has hampered Barcelona's performances but he had done enough for the Catalans before getting injured anyway.

Obviously, Messi is at the top of the attack in any World XI, let alone this one.

Honourable mentions

Iker Casillas | Real Madrid

Ever since Casillas got injured, Diego Lopez has been in between Madrid's goal-posts.

Mourinho's choice of overlooking Casillas' return to fitness and keep on playing Lopez does question logic and also keeps Iker out of this list. Maybe Mourinho's proposed exit from the Bernabeu in the summer will get Casillas back in action and allow him to show his true class again.

Vincent Kompany | Manchester City

Manchester City's season was severely marred by the dip in form of their stalwart in defence, Vincent Kompany. Considered to be one of the best defenders of recent times, Kompany has all to prove in the coming season, with his reputation certainly dipping along with his form.

Franck Ribery | Bayern Munich

Franck Ribery's greatness has all but materialised this season. Rewarded with 10 Man of the Match awards in the 23 appearances he has made, Ribery has been Jupp Heynckes first-choice on that Bayern Munich left wing. The only reason he is not on the list is because of Cristiano Ronaldo.


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