Jaap Stam names his best XI

Swindon Town v Reading - Pre-Season Friendly

Japan Stam has entered the world of management, signing a two-year deal with Championship outfit Reading earlier this summer.

The 44-year-old possesses a vast amount of experience thanks to an illustrious playing career which saw him represent some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan.

Stam also played for the Netherlands 67 times and won a host of major honours, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United.


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But who does Stam rate as the best footballers he played with during his 15-year playing career?

The new Reading boss has revealed all in an interview with the Times - relayed by the Daily Mail - but there’s no room for Paul Scholes or Kaka.

“It is difficult to pick someone in every position, because I have played with so many great players; Peter Schmeichel would be a contender for goalkeeper, for example, but I can only choose one,” Stam commented.

“He is not the only one I have left out: Kaka, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes — he is one of the most underestimated players of the past 20 years.”

Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar

A tough decision for Stam, who could have opted for the world-class Peter Schmeichel.

Euro 2004: Portugal v Holland

Instead, he picked Edwin van der Sar, who played alongside his compatriot with the Dutch national team.

Right-back: Cafu

Stam didn’t pick Gary Neville, which might not come as a big surprise given the way the Dutchman left Old Trafford.

The central defender described his Manchester United teammate as a “busy c***” in his autobiography, adding: "Gary isn't happy unless he can have a good gripe and it's not too long after meeting up that the first shout of 'shut up' is sent flying down the dinner table".

Brazilian Cafu (L) of AC Milan shoots on

Sir Alex Ferguson took exception to this and decided to sell him to Lazio (a decision he would later regret).

Stam opted for his former AC Milan teammate Cafu - widely regarded as one of the best full-backs of all time - instead.

Centre-back: Alessandro Nesta

Alessandro Nesta and Stam played alongside each other in central defence at AC Milan.

AC Milan's defender Dutch Jaap Stam his

Centre-back partnerships don’t come much more formidable.

Centre-back: Paolo Maldini

One of the best defenders of all-time, Paolo Maldini *had* to make Stam’s best XI.

AC Milan v Chicago Fire

The AC Milan legend won 26 trophies with the Rossoneri, including seven Serie A titles and five(!) Champions Leagues.

Left-back: Denis Irwin

An underrated footballer amongst the wider football public, but not by Manchester United fans or those who played alongside the Irishman at Old Trafford during the 1990s.

Phil Stamp

Irwin was an ultra-consistent and reliable full-back for the Red Devils.

Midfielder: Roy Keane

Stam was a terrifying figure himself, but even he was probably a little bit scared of Roy Keane when he first arrived at Old Trafford in 1998.

Michael Owen

The former United skipper led by example and expected every one his teammates to work as hard as possible during every match - and training session.

Midfielder: Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf was a magnificent footballer at his peak, but was he really better than Paul Scholes?

AC Milan's midfielder Jaap Stam (C) is c

It’s close between the two midfielders - but Stam has opted for his compatriot over the Englishman.

Attacking midfielder: Dennis Bergkamp

Another Dutchman, but it’s hard to argue with the inclusion of Dennis Bergkamp.

Jaap Stam

The Arsenal playmaker was a magician with the ball at his feet and gets in Stam’s XI in front of Kaka.

Winger: Marc Overmars

Lightning-quick winger, Stam witnessed Marc Overmars terrorise his former Manchester United teammates - including Gary Neville - on multiple occasions.

Marc Overmars

Stam also played with Overmars at international level.

Winger: Ryan Giggs

The most decorated footballer in English football history, Ryan Giggs was an easy selection for Stam on the left wing.

Ryan Giggs

The Welshman was also a hugely popular member of the dressing room and clearly made a big impression on the defender.

Striker: Ronaldo

Ronaldo was only a teenager when he played alongside Stam at PSV Eindhoven.


The Brazilian legend scored 35 goals in 36 matches for the Dutch club before securing a move to Barcelona.

What do you make of Jaap Stam’s XI? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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