Mikael Silvestre had a successful football career.
The Frenchman starred for multiple huge clubs around Europe, including Inter Milan (1998-99), Manchester United (1998-2008) and Arsenal (2008-2010).
He also played 40 times for France before hanging up his boots for good in 2014.
Silvestre has now named his ‘perfect XI’ of players he played with during his football career in an interview with FourFourTwo.
And to say it’s incredible would be an understatement. View it below…
GK: Edwin van der Sar
Silvestre played alongside Van der Sar at Manchester United.
He said: “A great all-round goalkeeper. He was good with a ball at his feet and his distribution was excellent, so our attacks started with him. On and off the field, he was a professional guy.”
RB: Lilian Thuram
Thuram is France’s most capped player ever, having featured 142 times for his country.
“Lilian was strong in one-on-one situations – his defensive skills were outstanding, and it seemed impossible to get past him. “
CB: Jaap Stam
Stam was a man-mountain. Silvestre had the pleasure of playing with the Dutchman during his brief spell at United.
“Such a class defender. He was so powerful – physically a beast – but fast as well. He had quick feet, and that agility was impressive for a big guy like him.”
CB: Marcel Desailly
Desailly won the Champions League twice: with Marseille in 1992/93 and with AC Milan the following year.
“He was called ‘The Rock’ for a reason! Marcel was very strong, and dominant in the air too. When he was at Milan he played in midfield, and even did that convincingly.”
LB: Javier Zanetti
Zanetti is one of the best full-backs ever. Silvestre played with the legendary Argentine during his brief spell at Inter.
“I played with Javier for a season at Inter in 1998-99 – he was like a machine who never stopped running. He also never lost the ball and always controlled it perfectly. His whole physicality was magnificent. He’d sprint up and down the field all game.”
CM: Roy Keane
Keane was Man United’s leader in midfield for over a decade.
“A great leader. Roy was a very good footballer, rarely gave the ball away and read the game well, which made him superb defensively. He had such a strong character.”
CM: Paul Scholes
Scholes just had to be in the side, didn’t he?! Anyone that played alongside Scholes raves about how good he was.
“Paul was so good on the ball. Like Keane, he was a fantastic reader of the game, which also benefited him offensively. He was exceptional at dictating matches from midfield, making late runs into the box and scoring terrific goals – incredible volleys and long-range efforts.”
CM: Zinedine Zidane
Zidane isn’t just one of the best midfielders Silvestre played with, he’s one of the best midfielders ever.
“Zizou was a special talent. He had a magic touch and was capable of some tremendous moves, tricks and finishes. Simply an amazing footballer – they don’t call him a maestro for nothing. He made everything he did on the pitch look easy.”
RW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Silvestre couldn’t lead Ronaldo out, could he?!
“Cristiano was extremely skilful, great in the air and also super-fast, both with and without the ball. After arriving at United from Sporting, he became addicted to his desire of becoming the best player in the world – he gradually grew into that mindset. After training, he would sometimes take a bag of balls and continue practising on another pitch alone, to improve his game. What’s amazing with him is that he’s been able to consistently play at the very highest level since joining United in 2003.”
ST: Ronaldo Nazario
Ronaldo endured some awful injuries during his career but is still regarded as one of the greatest players ever. The Brazilian only scored 15 times in the 1998/99 season due to a serious injury but Silvestre couldn’t leave him out.
“‘O Fenomeno’ was technically and physically gifted, and his repertoire of flicks and tricks was out of this world. The way he was able to control the ball was astounding, and he could make high intensity runs like no one else I’d seen before. Ronaldo could accelerate when he was already at full speed.”
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LW: Thierry Henry
Henry had left Arsenal by the time Silvestre joined, but they grew up playing for France together.
“I played with Thierry [below] from when we were 15. Even then, he was already a brilliant striker; the captain of our team and a leader. I only saw him improve after that, especially at Arsenal, where he soon transformed from a winger into a No.9. Under Arsene Wenger, he became a better finisher – his acceleration with the ball was difficult to cope with as an opposition defender.”
Subs: Roberto Baggio, Ryan Giggs, Ruud van Nistelrooy
What a team. You know the side is outrageous when the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Franck Ribery and Wayne Rooney can’t even make the subs bench.
End of season quiz: How much do you remember about the 2021/22 campaign?