Ronaldo, Henry, Gerrard: Zinedine Zidane's all-time Premier League XI

Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest footballers in history.

During a career spanned 17 years, the graceful attacking midfielder lit up pitches around the world with his unique brilliance.

Zidane didn’t possess a single weakness. The French icon was tall and powerful, had a first touch so good that it looked like he had pillows for feet and could also wreak havoc on the opposition with either foot.

The 50-year-old received a plethora of individual honours throughout the course of his career, including three FIFA World Player of the Year awards (1998, 2000 & 2003) and a Ballon d’Or (1998).

As well as being one of the game’s great players, Zidane has proven in recent years that he’s an elite-level manager.

‘Zizou’ was the mastermind behind Real Madrid‘s historic three-peat in the Champions League from 2015/16 to 2017/18.

Zinedine Zidane with the Champions League trophy
CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 03: Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid poses with the Champions League trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

So when a man with a CV like Zidane gives his opinion on the all-time Premier League XI, you stand up and take notice.

And the Frenchman did just that during an interview in 2016. He selected a team packed with legendary figures, one with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.

Let’s take a look at Zidane’s chosen XI, which is lined up in a classic English 4-4-2 formation…

Zidane’s all-time Premier League XI

Zinedine Zidane's all-time Premier League XI

The XI: Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira, Paul Scholes, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo.

It’s a quality team, of that there can be no doubt.

However, it’s interesting to note that the four leading goal scorers in Premier League history, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andrew Cole and Sergio Aguero, all miss out.

There’s also the absence of Roy Keane, a man revered as arguably the greatest captain to grace the division since its inception in 1992/93.

Roy Keane with Manchester United
MANCHESTER – AUGUST 27: Roy Keane of Manchester United in action during the UEFA Champions League Qualifier Second Leg match between Manchester United and Zalaegerszeg held at Old Trafford in Manchester , England on August 27, 2002. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images) Manchester United won the match 5-0.

Makelele over the Manchester United icon? Not for us, although Makelele is certainly an all-time great and even has a role named after him.

The other slightly eyebrow-raising call made by Zidane is the inclusion of Stam over the likes of John Terry, Nemanja Vidic, and Tony Adams.

Don’t get us wrong, Stam was an absolute colossus at United for a time, but he only spent three years at the club, which is not really long enough to warrant a spot in an all-time XI.

Jaap Stam with Manchester United
23 Nov 1999: Portrait of Jaap Stam of Manchester United lining up for the UEFA Champions League Group B match against Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, Italy. Fiorentina won 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport

Oh and the fact both Scholes and Gerrard got the nod from Zidane and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard did not will only add fuel to the fire of that never-ending debate…

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