I have chosen a 4-2-3-1 formation, which I believe accommodates the quality in my team best.
Goalkeeper: Lev Yashin
The Soviet Russian is regarded by many people the best goalkeeper of all time. I have chosen Yashin, because he is the only keeper to have ever won the Ballon d’Or (1963).
Right Back: Cafú
I am a very big fan of oﬀensive full-backs, and Brazilian legend Cafú deﬁnitely is the best. He is the most-capped Brazilian player of all time, with 142 senior international appearances. He captained Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title in South Korea and Japan.
Centre Backs: Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta
100 per cent Italian Chemistry. Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta are regarded by many as two of the greatest defenders of all time. Maldini, who is eight years older than his colleague, acted as Nesta’s mentor during the closing years of his career at AC Milan. Maldini made a total of 647 ﬁrst team appearances for the Italian giants. Nesta made 224 apps and is currently working as the current coach at Miami FC.
Left Back: Roberto Carlos
The full back is famous for his powerful left boot, which has added some absolute screamers to Real Madrid’s and the Brazilian team’s scoresheets. Roberto Carlos has won 3 Champions Leagues and one World Cup and is essential in my All Time XI.
Holding Midﬁelder: Franz Beckenbauer
‘Der Kaiser’ (the emperor) spent the majority of his career at Bayern Munich as a centre-back or holding midﬁelder, scoring 64 goals in 439 oﬃcial games played. Beckenbauer is one of two men (with Mario Zagallo) to have won the World Cup as team captain as well as manager, both for West Germany.
Central Midﬁelder: Zinedine Zidane
Zidane is one of the most complete players in football. The Frenchman scored the famous winning volley with his weaker left foot for Real Madrid in a 2-1 victory against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions league ﬁnal. In the 2015/16 season, Zinedine won the trophy in his ﬁrst season as a Real Madrid manager.
Right Wing: Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is a ﬁve-time Ballon d’Or winner. He has scored 489 goals in a total of 585 career appearances for Barcelona and the Argentine national team. He has won four Champions League titles (including two trebles). In my opinion there has never been a better player in this sport.
Attacking Midﬁelder: Diego Maradona
The Iglesia Maradona is a religion, created by fans of retired Argentine footballer, who they believe is the best player of all time. The no.10 jersey was retired from Napoli in his honour. In 1999 he came runner up for the title of Football Player of the century (behind Pele). Before 1995, only european footballers were eligible to win the Ballon d’Or award. In 1996, Maradona received an honorary Ballon d’Or for services to football.
Left Wing: Ronaldinho Gaúcho
In the summer of 2003, Ronaldinho signed for FC Barcelona in a €30 million deal from PSG. ‘Ronni’s’ arrival marked the start of what would become one of the greatest football teams in the history of the sport. The Brazilian won the 2005 Ballon d’Or and shortly after the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League for Barcelona.
Striker: Ronaldo Nazario
Also know as ‘fat Ronaldo’ or ‘Brazilian Ronaldo’ – but to me he is just Ronaldo. And he’s the best one. His career was marked by controversies; he enjoyed spells at rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as AC Milan and Inter Milan. He is a two time Ballon d’Or winner (1997 and 2002) and won two world cups with Brazil (1994 and 2002—with possibly the worst haircut ever seen in sport).
I have opted for a 4-3-3 formation, which enables me to accommodate a pivot midﬁelder, Xavi Hernandez, who will control the pace of my midﬁeld.
Goalkeeper: Lev Yashin
I have chosen Yashin, because he is the only keeper ever to have won the Ballon d’Or (1963). In 1998, he was selected for the world’s team of the century and in 2013 for the world soccer greatest XI of all time. Right Back: Cafú Cafú is the most capped Brazilian player of all time. The wing back captained Brazil to the 2002 world cup title in South Korea and Japan and was also part of the winning squad of 1994.
Centre Backs: Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Moore
Beckenbauer started his career as a holding midﬁelder, but became famous for his performances at centre-back. Despite his strong defensive attributes, ‘The emperor’ still managed to score 64 goals in 439 oﬃcial games. Bobby Moore captained West Ham United for more than ten years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, and was cited by Pelé as the greatest defender that he had ever played against.
Holding Midﬁelder: Xavi Hernandez
Since Xavi’s debut at FCBarcelona he has played 700 matches, scored 82 goals and made more than 180 assists for over 50 players. Xavi is the ﬁrst player in Barcelona’s history to play 150 international matches.
Central Midﬁelder: Andre Iniesta
Iniesta’s 32 trophies make him the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time. He has won 2 trebles with FC Barcelona and now serves as team captain. Iniesta’s famous extra time goal against Netherlands earned Spain the 2010 South Africa World Cup. Central Midﬁelder: Zinedine Zidane Zidane can cover the role or a roaming midﬁelder or play as a number 10. Zizou’s left foot volley earned Real Madrid the 2003 Champions League. He has now also won the trophy as Real Madrid manager, in that famous victory against Atletico.
Right Wing: Lionel Messi
Many say that Messi’s trophy-less senior international career has stopped him from becoming the best ever player in football. I disagree. Messi assumed Argentine captaincy in 2011 in accord with then-captain and Barcelona team mate Javier Mascherano. Messi’s Argentina lost the 2014 Brazil World Cup ﬁnal to Germany and the 2016 Copa America ﬁnal to Chile.
Left Wing: Cristiano Ronaldo
CR7 received his fourth Ballon d’Or in 2016, the most for a European player in the history of the award, and the inaugural Best FIFA Men’s Player. In 2015, Ronaldo scored his 500th senior career goal for club and country. Striker: Pelé The name says it all. In 1999, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century. That year, Time named him in their list of 100 most inﬂuential people of the 20th century. In 2013 he received the FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition of his career and achievements as a global icon of football.