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We're a start-up business with a passion for great football and great design.

We are a small start up business with a passion for football and design.

Football fans will always have debates about who were the greatest ever players and what was the greatest ever team.

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OLIVER KHAN.

KHAN NOT ONLY COMMANDED HIS BOX, BUT COMMANDED THE WHOLE PITCH BETTER THAN ANY GOALIE I'VE EVER SEEN. OLIVER KHAN MADE SAVES SO UNREAL HE COULD EMBARRASS A QUICK SCOREBOARD.

CAFU.

IS THE MOST TECHNICALLY GIFTED DEFENDER I'VE SEEN PLAY FOOTBALL. PERFECT BALANCE OF OFFENSE, WIDE MIDFIELD PLAY AND DEFENSE.

SERGIO RAMOS.

CUNNING. SOLID. INTELLIGENT. AND INCREDIBLY CONSISTENT. AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT HE SCORES WHEN HE WANTS. THE KIND OF PLAYER WHO WOULD SELL HIS OWN MOTHER TO WIN ANY FOOTBALL MATCH.

JOHN TERRY.

THE EPITOME OF COMPOSURE AND A GREAT DEFENSIVE ORGANIZER. PERFECT READER OF THE GAME. DOMINANT IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE GAME.

ASHLEY COLE.

NO MATTER HOW GOOD, EVERY ATTACKER WHO EVER WENT UP AGAINST ASHLEY COLE EARNED THEIR MONEY EVERY SECOND OF THE 90. THE SPACE THAT ASHLEY COLE USED TO GIVE AN OPPONENT IS ONLY MEASURABLE BY VERNIER CALIPERS.

LUKA MODRIC.

CAN PLAY ANYWHERE IN MIDFIELD AND PLAY IT TO ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. THE DEFINITION OF A COMPLETE MIDFIELDER. COVERS EVERY INCH OF THE PITCH AND NEVER RUNS OUT OF GAS. THE SILENT ENGINE OF THE TEAM THAT WON 4 UCL TITLES IN 5 YEARS. A FEAT THAT WILL NEVER BE REPEATED.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

THE FOOTBALL LOVED ZIZOU MORE THAN ZIZOU LOVED THE FOOTBALL. AS IF HE HAD PUT A SPELL ON IT. THE BALL ALWAYS SEEMED TO FOLLOW HIM WHENEVER HE WENT AND DO WHAT HE WANTS.

ANDRES INIESTA.

THE MAESTRO. NO MISTAKES. THE PERFECT MOVER OF THE BALL. PART OF THE MOST DOMINANT MIDFIELD MOST PEOPLE WILL EVER SEE.

LIONEL MESSI.

AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL. A MAGICIAN. FINDING THE NET, CREATING A CHANCE, DRIBBLING PAST 8 OR 9. FOR MESSI, FOOTBALL IS EFFORTLESS.

THIERRY HENRY.

THE REASON I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE GAME. SO MUCH FLAIR, SO MUCH BEAUTY. HE MADE IT LOOK SO EASY. TECHNICALLY GIFTED, SKILLFUL, GRACEFUL. A STRIKER WHO SHOWED US MAGIC FROM A NUMBER 9 POSITION.

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

HE CAN DO IT ALL. A MENTALITY MONSTER AND AN EFFICIENT ATTACKER. RIGHT FOOT. LEFT FOOT. HEADER. LONG RANGE. FOX IN THE BOX. OFF THE BALL MOVEMENT. YOU WANT TO WIN THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE TO PLAY CRISTIANO.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

THE BEST, LONGEST LASTING AND MOST CHARISMATIC GOALKEEPER OF MY FOOTBALL WATCHING LIFE.

LILIAN THURAM.

MAJESTIC DEFENDER IN A GREAT PARMA TEAM.

MARCEL DESAILLY.

ABSOLUTE ROCK AT THE HEART OF SOME OF THE BEST TEAMS OF THE 90S.

CIRO FERRARA.

EPITOME OF THE GRIZZLED, SUPER PROFESSIONAL ITALIAN DEFENDER.

PAOLO MALDINI.

JUST PURE CLASS. THE MAN EVERY DEFENDER WANTS TO BE.

LUIS FIGO.

BRILLIANT IN A THRILLING BARCA TEAM THEN TURNED TREACHERY INTO AN ART CROSSING THE DIVIDE TO MADRID.

ANDREA PIRLO AND GENNARO GATTUSO.

AS A PAIR LOVED THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE ELEGANCE OF PIRLO AND THE GRIT OF GATTUSO. THE MOST PERFECTLY OPPOSITELY ATTRACTED FOOTBALLING PARTNERSHIP OF ALL TIME.

PAVEL NEDVED.

THE ULTIMATE ALL ROUNDER.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

THE ALMOST SHAKESPEAREAN HERO OF WORLD CUP 94 MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH FOOTBALL.

SAMUEL ETO’O.

HAD EVERYTHING WHICH IS WHY HE WON THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN SUCCESSIVE SEASONS MANAGED BY THE CONTRASTS OF PEP AND JOSE.

IKER CASILLAS.

AN UNBELIEVABLE SHOT STOPPER WHO WON THE EVERYTHING, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO CHOOSE ANYONE ELSE OVER HIM!

PHILIPP LAHM.

BRILLIANTLY GIFTED AND VERSATILE AND A VERY INTELLIGENT MIND. EASILY ONE OF THE BEST OF HIS GENERATION.

RIO FERDINAND.

IN HIS PRIME, FERDINAND WAS A BRILLIANT DEFENDER WHO HAD PACE, AND A GREAT BALL-PLAYING ABILITY, MEANING I’D HAVE TO HAVE HIM IN MY TEAM.

SERGIO RAMOS.

EASILY THE BEST CENTRE-HALF OF HIS GENERATION, AND DEFINITELY UP THERE ON THE ALL-TIME LIST. 100+ GOALS FOR A DEFENDER IS UNNATURAL.

PAOLO MALDINI.

ARGUED AS THE BEST DEFENDER OF ALL TIME BY MANY, BUT THERE’S NO ARGUMENT AS TO IF HE’S THE BEST FULLBACK, SO ANY GREAT TEAM WOULD NEED HIM IN IT.

PAUL SCHOLES.

PURE CLASS. HIS RANGE OF PASSING, AND ABILITY TO ARRIVE IN THE BOX AND PRODUCE A GOAL WAS SECOND TO NONE. HE’S THE IDOL OF NEARLY EVERYONE’S FAVOURITE MIDFIELDER FROM THE LAST 20 YEARS, WHICH SAYS IT ALL.

XAVI.

WONDERFULLY COMPOSED AND ALSO POSSESSES A BRILLIANT RANGE OF PASSING THAT WOULD ACCOMPANY SCHOLES’. ONE OF THE GREATS FOR SURE. WOULD BRING A BIT OF BALANCE TO AN AGGRESSIVE MIDFIELD.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

SUCH AN ELEGANT PLAYER AND COULD EASILY BE REGARDED AS THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME, CERTAINLY THE BEST MIDFIELDER.

RONALDINHO.

THE FIRST PLAYER I EVER KNEW ABOUT GROWING UP. AN UNBELIEVABLE TALENT WHO, AT HIS BEST, WAS TRULY UNSTOPPABLE.

RONALDO.

DEFINITELY THE MOST DEVASTATING FORWARD THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN BEFORE INJURIES GOT THE BETTER OF HIM. AT A YOUNG AGE, HE WAS TRULY EXCEPTIONAL AND THE BEST-EVER IN THE EYES OF MANY.

WAYNE ROONEY.

I COULDN’T HAVE A TEAM WITHOUT ROONEY. HIS HUNGER, VERSATILITY, POWER AND NATURAL ABILITY WOULD MAKE HIM A COMPLIMENT TO ANY GREAT SIDE. AS WITH RONALDO, A TRULY FRIGHTENING PLAYER IN HIS YOUTH, SO PUT THE TWO TOGETHER AND I REALLY DON’T THINK ANY DEFENDER IS COPING.

MY 11 IS CALLED ... 'BEAU JEU!' THEY AREN’T NECESSARILY MY FAVORITE PLAYERS, BUT PLAYERS WHO HAVE MADE ME DREAM AND WHO WOULD MAKE A GREAT TEAM. A CREDIBLE TEAM, IN MY OPINION.


IKER CASILLAS.

IN GOAL CASILLAS IS LOGICAL, ONE OF THE BEST GOALKEEPERS IN HISTORY, INCREDIBLE IN NATIONAL AND CLUB.

PAOLO MALDINI & ALESSANDRO NESTA.

IN DEFENSE THE DUO MALDINI - NESTA WAS REALLY IMPRESSIVE.

CARLES PUYOL.

SO IMAGINE WITH A DEFENDER AND A TRUE LEADER LIKE PUYOL. A GREAT PLAYER AND ALSO A GREAT PERSON.

PHILIPP LAHM.

TO COMPLETE THIS DEFENSE I ALSO CHOSE ANOTHER GREAT PERSON ON AND OFF THE PITCH, PHILIPPE LAHM (NOT A SINGLE RED CARD AS A DEFENDER!). FOR EVERYTHING HE HAS DONE AT BAYERN AND WITH GERMANY, BUT THE CHOICE WAS HARD BETWEEN HIM AND DANI ALVES. WHAT A BACK 4 !

XAVI & ANDRES INIESTA.

IN THE MIDDLE THE DUO XAVI-INIESTA IS OBVIOUS, THEY ARE SO COMPLEMENTARY, THEY CARRIED SPAIN AND BARCELONA FOR MANY YEARS, INCREDIBLE PLAYERS AND A DUO THAT WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY FOR SURE.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

AS A FRENCHMAN I COULD ONLY COMPLETE THIS TRIO WITH ONE PLAYER : ZIDANE. BRILLIANT WITH JUVENTUS, REAL MADRID AND ALSO FRANCE, IMAGINE THE TRIO HE COULD FORM WITH XAVI AND INIESTA. JUST WOW.


IN ATTACK I CHOSE A FORMIDABLE TRIO THAT MAKES PEOPLE SHUDDER JUST BY SAYING THEIR NAME : RONALDINHO, RONALDO, RIVALDO. JUST LETHAL.


RONALDINHO.

RONALDINHO NUMBER 10, THE DEFINITION OF WHAT FOOTBALL IS, A GENIUS AND ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN HISTORY, EVERYTHING WAS TOO EASY FOR HIM.

RONALDO.

RONALDO WAS AN OBVIOUS CHOICE, THE BEST 9 IN HISTORY, AN ULTRA-COMPLETE STRIKER, TECHNICAL, POWERFUL AND FAST GOALSCORER, I CAN'T IMAGINE THE LEVEL HE COULD HAVE REACHED WITHOUT HIS INJURIES.

RIVALDO.

THE CHOICE OF THE SECOND STRIKER WAS DIFFICULT, BUT I CHOSE TO STAY IN THE OPTICS OF A CREDIBLE TEAM BY RECREATING THE BLAZING ATTACK OF THE CDM 2002 WITH RIVALDO. A VERY COMPLETE PLAYER, TOO OFTEN UNDERCUT, WHO WILL WORK PERFECTLY IN THIS TRIO OF ATTACK. JOTA BONITO.


5 BALLON D’OR, 10 PLAYERS WHO WON THE WORLD CUP, NOT TOO BAD. IF I HAD TO CHOOSE A COACH I WOULD HAVE HESITATED BETWEEN SHANKLY, RINUS MICHELS, AND OF COURSE JURGEN KLOPP!

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE. I NAMED MY SON AFTER HIM. WHAT MORE OF AN HONOUR COULD AN IDOL GET THAT CAN TOP THIS? ONE OF THE REASONS I STARTED FOLLOWING JUVE.

CAFU.

JUST ASK PAVEL NEDVED ABOUT HOW SKILLFULL THIS GUY WAS.

FRANCO BARESI.

AS NAPOLI'S MARADONA ONCE SAID IN AN INTERVIEW WHILE HOLDING BARESI'S SHIRT IN THE TUNNEL, 'HE WAS A MAXIMUM OF A DEFENDER.'

GIORGIO CHIELLINI.

A WARRIOR ON THE PITCH, AN SCHOLAR OFF IT. HE LOVES BLEEDING SO MUCH. AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE LEGENDARY BBC TRINITY IN JUVE'S MOST SUCCESSFUL DOMESTIC STINT.

PAOLO MALDINI.

A POPULAR AND MAYBE, THE EASIEST PICK I HAVE AFTER GIGI. I LAUGHED MY ASS OFF SO HARD WHEN SOMEONE RECENTLY TRIED TO COMPARE HIM TO VIRGIL VAN DIJK.

ROY KEANE.

A MAN FULL WITH CHARACTERS. I LOVE HIS BEAUTIFUL BRUTALITY. HE MADE SURE HIS TEAM PAYED FULL ATTENTION ON A MATCHDAY. EVERYONE IN MAN UTD FEARED HIM, YEAH, I GUESS FOR RIGHT REASONS!

ANDREA PIRLO.

HE MADE JUVE GREAT AGAIN. A GENIUS IN FRONT OF THE DEFENCE. HIS ASSIST FOR FABIO GROSSO IN THE WORLD CUP 2006 SEMI FINALS AGAINST GERMANY, WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY MIND. TO ME IT WAS HIS GREATEST PIECE OF MAGIC.

ANDRES INIESTA.

SORRY XAVI, THIS TIME I'D GO WITH YOUR ETERNAL PARTNER. INIESTA WAS A MAGICIAN. WE WERE LUCKY TO HAVE WITNESSED HIS DOMINATION WITH SPAIN AND BARCA. IMO, HE'S EVEN HAD A BETTER CAREER THAN ZIDANE AND A MORE COMPLETE BALLER, TOO!

PAVEL NEDVED.

PASSIONATE, ROCKET SHOT FROM BOTH FEET, AND THE VERY EPITOME OF GRINTA. IF I HAD A TIME MACHINE I WOULD GO BACK TO TURIN IN 2003 TO TELL HIM ABOUT THAT YELLOW CARD AGAINST REAL MADRID IN UCL'S SEMI FINALS. HE WAS A BIG LOSS IN THE FINAL.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

HE WAS A PROPHET IN A LAND WHERE MANY CHILDREN WERE DREAMING OF BECOMING GREAT DEFENDERS. HIS TIME IN BRESCIA WAS A CASE OF TRUE LOVE, THERE WAS AN UNSHAKEABLE BOND BETWEEN THE MAN AND FOOTBALL.

GERD MULLER.

A WILD DOG, OR SHOULD I SAY, A LONE HYENA, IN THE BOX. HE COULD SCORE FROM ANY KIND OF CHANCE. AN UPGRADED VERSION OF PIPPO INZAGHI, VAN NISTELROOY, AND MANY MORE GREAT POACHERS.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

SO MANY UNBELIEVABLE SAVES IN DECISIVE GAMES, THE BEST OF THE WORLD CUP 2006 AND HIS GENERATION WITHOUT DOUBT.

CAFU.

4 WORLD CUPS, 3 FINALS IN A ROW AND CAPTAIN OF THE PENTACAMPEAO, MORE?

FABIO CANNAVARO.

ANTICIPATION, CONCENTRATION POSITIONAL SENSE AND GREAT AERIAL ABILITY ALTHOUGH ONLY BEING 5,9, WORLD CUP AS A CAPTAIN AND WELL-DESERVED BALON D´OR IN 2006, IL MURO!

PAOLO MALDINI.

THE INMORTAL, A LEGEND, WITH HIM BEING ITALY´S GOALKEEPER WAS THE EASIEST JOB IN EUROPE.

ANDREAS BREHME.

CAPABLE OF PLAYING ANYWHERE ALONG THE FLANK, WHICH OTHER PLAYER SCORED 4 GOALS IN KNOCK-OUT GAMES AT THE WORLD CUP, WHO ELSE CAN SHOT A PENALTY-KICK WITH BOTH LEGS?

LOTHAR MATTHAUS.

25 GAMES, 5 TOURNAMENTS, 5 GOALS, 1 TROPHY AND THE RIVALRY WITH MARADONA AND ABSOLUTE WORLD CUP LEGEND.

DIEGO MARADONA.

IMPOSSIBLE TO THINK ABOUT THE WORLD CUP AND NOT REMEMBER HIM, TOO MANY LEGENDARY MOMENTS.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

THE MAGICIAN, HIS PERFORMANCE AGAINST BRAZIL IN 2006 IS ALREADY ENOUGH TO HAVE HIM IN THIS TEAM.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

THE GREATEST FANTASISTA OF THE AZZURRI!

RONALDO.

BEFORE HIS INJURIES WAS THE BEST IN THE WORLD BY FAR, AFTER HIS INJURIES HE 'JUST' BECAME WORLD CHAMPION AS THE TOP GOALSCORER AND BROKE THE MYTHICAL RECORD OF GERD MULLER.

ROMARIO.

THE BEST IN THE SMALL AREA AND BROUGHT THE TROPHY BACK TO BRAZIL AFTER 24 YEARS.

NERY PUMPIDO.

LIBERTADORES, INTERCONTINENTAL CUP AND WORLD CUP IN THE SAME YEAR: ENOUGH?

DANIEL PASSARELLA.

EL KAISER, THE PERSONIFICATION OF LEADERSHIP.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

ON THE RIGHT, THE MAN OF STEEL AND THE PERFECT HAIRSTYLE, MY CAPTAIN FOREVER.

WALTER SAMUEL.

ON THE LEFT, ABOVE THE MEANING OF GARRA, THERE'S ONLY WS.

ESTEBAN CAMBIASSO.

PLAYMAKER BY NATURAL PREDISPOSITION.

JUAN SEBASTIAN VERON.

ONE OF THE MOST COMPLETE MIDFIELDER I'VE EVER SEEN.

PABLO AIMAR.

MY CHILDHOOD IDOL, A WORLD CLASS PLAYER.

JUAN ROMAN RIQUELME.

THE SILENT LEADER, THE ONLY ONE ABLE TO TAKE OFF THE CLOTHES OF NEW MARADONA.

LIONEL MESSI.

THE ONE AND ONLY, THE GOD OF FUTBOL.

ARIEL ORTEGA.

ON THE LEFT MY LAST PICK, THE RESULT OF A FEELING THAT CANNOT BE EXPLAINED BY WORDS.

MARIO KEMPES.

AS CENTER FORWARD THE MAN WHO REVOLUTIONIZED THE ROLE OF CENTER FORWARD.

OLIVER KAHN.

UNDER THE GOALPOSTS "DER TITAN" KAHN, IN WC 2002 I FEEL IT WAS HIS PEAK NOT TO MENTION HIS EARLY BAYERN YEARS.

FRANCO BARESI & MATTHIAS SAMMER.

GREAT LEADERS, LED THEIR CLUBS TO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GLORY, PLUS SAMMER MANAGED TO GET A BALLON D'OR OVER RONALDO.

LILIAN THURAM & ANDREAS BREHME.

(IN A KAISERSLAUTERN OUTFIT PULLING THE '98 MIRACLE) HAVE IN COMMON THAT WERE CRUCIAL AND HAD IMPORTANT ROLES IN THE TEAMS THEY HAVE PLAYED.

LOTHAR MATTHAUS.

DER PANZER AS A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER HE WAS ALSO GREAT AND ROBBED IN 1999 CL FINAL.

YOURI DJORKAEFF.

DJORKAEFF HAD A GREAT PARTNERSHIP WITH ZIZOU ON THE PITCH AND HIS NICKNAME IL BISCIONE(THE SNAKE), DESCRIBES PERFECTY THE WAY HE PLAYED.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

I DON'T THINK I HAVE TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING ABOUT ZIDANE, JUST TO ADD THAT HE IS THE HERO I WAS LOOKING UP TO AS A KID.

HENRIK LARSSON.

(HE AND ZIDANE WERE MY HEROS) IN HIS EARLY CELTIC DAYS, WAS A PHENOMENAL STRIKER, HAD THE HEART, SKILLS AND STYLE, THAT ARE ESSENTIAL TO BECOME A GREAT FORWARD.

ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO.

DEL PIERO BEING A LEGENDARY PLAYER, HAVING A SPOT ON THE PITCH NAMED AFTER HIM, COULDN'T LEAVE HIM OUT.

DENNIS BERGKAMP.

FINALLY DENNIS BERGKAMP, HIS GOAL VS ARGENTINA IN FRANCE 1998 EXPLAINS PREETY MUCH WHY HE IS ON MY GREATEST 11.

PETER SCHMEICHEL.

WHAT A MAGNIFICENT GOALKEEPER. GREAT DESIRE AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED. A REAL LEADER. HIS ARRIVAL AT OLD TRAFFORD WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MAN UTD GOING FROM A TEAM FINISHING 6TH IN 90-91 TO LEADING THE RACE FOR THE LEAGUE TITLE IN 91-92, FROM START TO FINISH (ALTHOUGH GETTING CAUGHT IN THE RIN-IN BY LEEDS). HIS SHOT STOPPING WAS BRILLIANT. GREAT PHYSICAL PRESENCE IN HIS BOX. BRILLIANT AT SAVING ONE ON ONES. THE BEST GOALKEEPER I HAVE EVER SEEN. HE EDGES OUT BUFFON, CASILLAS AND NEUER.

LILIAN THURAM.

SUCH A DOMINANT FULL BACK. SUPREMELY ATHLETIC. STRONG AND POWERFUL. COULD PLAY EQUALLY AS EFFECTIVELY AT CENTRE HALF. READING OF THE GAME WAS SUPERB. POSITIONING WAS GREAT. REALLY STRONG TACKLER. HE WAS A POWERFUL RUNNER. GOOD TO GET FORWARD. SCORED 2 FOR FRANCE IN THE 1998 WORLD CUP SEMI FINAL, TO GET THEM OUT OF JAIL AGAINST CROATIA. I HAVE CHOSEN HIM AHEAD OF CAFU, ALVES AND LAHM; BECAUSE OF HE WAS BETTER AT DEFENDING THAN ALL OF THEM. AND REALLY A FULL BACK IS A DEFENDER FIRST AND FOREMOST.

PAOLO MALDINI.

THE GREATEST FULL BACK OF ALL TIME. IN THE TOP 5 GREATEST DEFENDERS OF ALL TIME. MALDINI WAS A PHENOMENAL PLAYER. A MAJESTIC DEFENDER. HIS POSITIONING AND READING OF THE GAME WERE BEYOND AWESOME. EXCELLENT ON THE BALL. GOOD GOING FORWARD. EQUALLY AS GOOD IN CENTRAL DEFENCE. HIS RECORD WITH MILAN IS UNBELIEVABLE. 5 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TITLES. WINNING CHAMPIONS LEAGUES IN 3 DIFFERENT DECADES! HIS LONGEVITY WILL BE HARD TO SURPASS. I FEEL SORRY FOR HIM THAT HE WAS RETIRED FROM INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL WHEN ITALY WON THE WORLD CUP IN 2006. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ITALY'S LEFT BACK, AHEAD OF GROSSO. HE DESERVED TO WIN A WORLD CUP. MALDINI WAS NOT JUST THE BEST FULL BACK I HAVE EVER SEEN BUT THE BEST DEFENDER I HAVE SEEN. IT WAS A PLEASURE TO FOLLOW HIS CAREER FROM START TO FINISH.

FRANCO BARESI.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. AN OUTSTANDING CENTRE HALF. ONE OF THE GREATEST CAPTAINS OF ALL TIME. HE WAS A SUPERB LIBERO/ SWEEPER. LED THE ALL CONQUERING MILAN TEAM OF THE LATE 80S, AND THEN GREAT 3 SCUDETTOS IN A ROW WINNING TEAM OF 91 -92, 92 -93 , 93 -94. THEY WENT UNBEATEN DURING 91 -92. BARESI WAS THE ON FIELD LEADER. HE HAD AN INCREDIBLE PRESENCE. GREAT DEFENDER. GREAT PASSER OF THE BALL. READING OF THE GAME AND POSITIONING WERE FANTASTIC. DEFINITELY IN THE TOP 5 DEFENDERS OF ALL TIME. PROBABLY 4TH. MALDINI 3RD. SCIREA 2ND. BECKENBAUER 1ST. SOMETHING LIKE THAT. BARESI WAS SOMETHING ELSE. I LOVED FOLLOWING HIS CAREER.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

NESTA IS PROBABLY THE 5TH GREATEST DEFENDER OF ALL TIME. 3RD BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN; AFTER MALDINI AND BARESI. 2ND BEST CENTRE HALF, AFTER BARESI. NESTA WAS A COLOSSUS. A PERFECT CENTRAL DEFENDER. HIS TIMING IN THE TACKLE WAS SUPERB. PERFECT READING OF THE GAME AND POSITIONING. HE WAS SUCH AN ELEGANT DEFENDER. PROBABLY THE LAST OF CALCIO'S PURE AND PERFECT CENTRE HALVES. IT WAS A PITY HE GOT INJURED DURING THE WORLD CUP IN 2006. HE MISSED OUT ON PLAYING IN THE LATER KNOCK OUT STAGES INCLUDING THE WORLD CUP FINAL. NESTA DESERVED TO PLAY IN A WORLD CUP FINAL. HE WAS JUST A COLOSSUS. A MASTERLY DEFENDER.

ANDREA PIRLO.

PIRLO WAS A SUPREME MIDFIELDER. I'M PLAYING HIM IN THE REGISTA ROLE, THAT HE PLAYED IN HIS LATER CAREER TO GREAT EFFECT. HE WILL DICTATE THE PLAY FROM IN FRONT OF THE BACK 4. HE WILL SET THE TEMPO. ORCHESTRATE THE ATTACKS. WHAT SET PIRLO APART WAS HIS FOOTBALL INTELLIGENCE. HE HAD GREAT ABILITY TO CONCEPTUALISE THE PITCH IN IT ENTIRETY. HE HAD GREAT AWARENESS OF WHERE HIS TEAM MATES, AND OPPONENTS, WERE, ON THE FIELD. HIS PASSING WAS OFF THE CHARTS GOOD. HE WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS EVER TO CRAFT A PASS. HIS POSITIONAL DISCIPLINE WILL ALLOW HIM PLAY DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD. I LOVED WATCHING PIRLO. HE WAS ALWAYS SO COOL AND CALM. NEVER RUSHED ANYTHING. EVERY PASS MEANT SOMETHING. EVERY PASS WAS DONE FOR A REASON. YOU DON'T PASS FOR THE SAKE OF PASSING AND HAVE NO MEANING BEHIND IT. HE WAS THE BEST I HAVE SEEN TO CONDUCT THE PLAY FROM DEEP IN HIS OWN HALF. NORMALLY DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS ARE HARD TACKLING PLAYERS THAT ARE GOOD DEFENDERS. PIRLO MAY NOT BE A GREAT TACKLER OR DEFENDER BUT HE IS IDEAL FOR THIS REGISTA ROLE. HIS GREAT POSITIONING WILL ALLOW HIM TO COVER SPACE IN A DEFENSIVE MANNER. PLAYERS THAT WERE IN THE RUNNING FOR THE DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD POSITION ARE ROY KEANE, RIJKAARD, ALONSO, BUSQUETS, MAKELELE. ALL EXCELLENT PLAYERS BUT PIRLO WAS EXCEPTIONAL. HE GETS THE NOD.

XAVI.

XAVI WAS THE BEST CENTRAL MIDFIELDER I HAVE EVER SEEN. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A BETTER PASSER OF THE BALL IN THE ADVANCED CENTRAL ZONE. HE RAN THE SHOW IN EACH GAME. HE JUST PASSED AND PASSED AND PASSED. HE ENABLED HIS TEAM TO RETAIN THE BALL OVER AND OVER. I LOVED XAVI. HIS CONTROL. HIS COMPOSURE. HIS CALMNESS IN POSSESSION. NEVER RUSHED ANYTHING. NEVER MADE SILLY PASSES. NEVER GAVE THE BALL AWAY. THE PERFECT NATURAL CENTRAL MIDFIELDER. KNITTED EVERYTHING TOGETHER. LINKING DEFENCE AND ATTACK. A SENSATIONAL PLAYER. ONE OF THE ALL TIME GREATS OF THE GAME. HIS POSITION WAS AS A TRADITIONAL NO.8. PAUL SCHOLES IS THE SECOND BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN AS A NO.8. I COULD HAVE INCLUDED SCHOLES ALONG WITH XAVI BUT I JUST HAD TO INCLUDE THE NEXT PLAYER ON THE LIST.

ANDRES INIESTA.

INIESTA WAS AN ASTOUNDINGLY GOOD MIDFIELDER. HE WAS VERSATILE. HE PLAYED WIDE MIDFIELD OR AS A WIDE FORWARD IN A FRONT THREE. BUT ITS AS THE ATTACKING PLAYMAKER IN A 3 MAN MIDFIELD THAT HE WAS BEST. THIS TEAM HAS A DEEP PLAYMAKER, A CENTRAL PLAYMAKER AND NOW AN ATTACKING PLAYMAKER. THIS TEAM WILL NEVER LOSE THE BALL! INIESTA WAS A GENIUS. HIS FIRST TOUCH WAS IMMACULATE. HIS CONTROL OF THE BALL WAS INCREDIBLE. HE BENT GAMES TO HIS WILL. ALWAYS PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE IN EVERY GAME. AMAZING VISION. ONE OF THE BEST EVER PASSERS OF THE BALL. HE COULD UNLOCK THE TIGHTEST OF DEFENCES. HIS TELEPATHIC COMBINATION WITH XAVI AND MESSI WAS BEYOND INCREDIBLE. I LOVED INIESTA. ONE OF THE GREATEST MIDFIELDERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME, ACTUALLY.

LIONEL MESSI.

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PLAYERS. IN MY OPINION HE IS THE BEST PLAYER OF THE LAST 50 YEARS. HIS RECORD IS INCREDIBLE. HIS SKILL LEVEL IS UNBELIEVABLE. HIS CONSISTENCY, OF CONSTANTLY, OF REACHING THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE STANDARD, OVER SO MANY YEARS, IS ASTOUNDING. HE IS THE BEST GOAL SCORER I HAVE SEEN. THE ASSIST MAKER. THE BEST DRIBBLER. THE BEST TO UNLOCK DEFENCES. IN MY OPINION MESSI IS 2ND ONLY TO PELE, IN THE ALL TIME LIST OF GREATEST PLAYERS. PITY HE DIDN'T HAVE BETTER PLAYERS WITH HIM AT ARGENTINA. HE DESERVED A WORLD CUP TITLE. BUT FAILING TO WIN ONE DOES NOT TARNISH HIS LEGACY ONE IOTA, FOR ME. HE WAS THE FIRST NAME ON MY TEAM SHEET .

RONALDO.

IN 1994 I READ THAT RONALDO (WHO WAS 17 AT THE TIME) WILL BE SO GOOD THAT SOON HE WILL BE SPOKEN ABOUT MORE OFTEN THAN COCA COLA AND ELVIS PRESLEY! WHEN HE CAME TO EUROPE FIRST HE WAS A PHENOMENON. HE EARNED THE TITLE EL FENOMENO. HE WAS AMAZING. HIS TOUCH. HIS SPEED. HIS FINISHING. HIS POWER. IN 96-97, AT BARCELONA, HE WAS JUST INCREDIBLE. HE WENT TO ITALY AND CONTINUED HIS ASCENSION TO GREATNESS. THEN HE HAD THE DISASTROUS WORLD CUP FINAL IN 1998, AND THEN 4 YEARS OF INJURIES. HE CAME BACK IN 2002 TO SCORE 8 GOALS AT THE WORLD CUP. AND WON THE COMPETITION. A GOOD SPELL FOLLOWED AT REAL MADRID. BUT HE WAS NEVER THE SAME AFTER THAT KNEE INJURY IN 1999. I AM PICKING THE RONALDO OF 96-98. I NEVER SAW A CENTRAL STRIKER AS GOOD AS RONALDO, FROM THAT PERIOD. THE RONALDO OF 96-98 WAS ONE OF THE VERY BEST PLAYERS OF ALL TIME. THE REAL DEAL. EL FENOMENO. I LOVED WATCHING HIM. I WAS WATCHING GREATNESS.

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

A GOAL SCORING MACHINE. TOP 5 PLAYERS OF ALL TIME. I WOULD PUT MESSI AHEAD OF HIM BUT CRISTIANO IS THE SECOND BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN. HIS AMBITION, DRIVE, FOCUS, MENTALITY, DESIRE TO BE THE BEST; IS AMAZING. HIS FINISHING IS AWESOME. HIS SCORING RECORD IS EXTRAORDINARY. SUCH A WONDERFUL PLAYER. TECHNIQUE IS PERFECT. ATHLETIC. FAST. AGILE. POWERFUL. GREAT POSITIONING IN THE BOX. GREAT PRESENCE. ONE OF THE BEST HEADERS OF THE BALL I'VE EVER SEEN. THE PERFECT FORWARD. BUT MESSI EDGES HIM BECAUSE MESSI WAS BETTER OVERALL. WHEN IT CAME TO BUILD UP AND ASSISTS AND OVER ALL PLAY. BUT CRISTIANO IS DEFINITELY TOP 5 OF ALL TIME. PROBABLY 4TH BEHIND PELE, MESSI, MARADONA. I LOVED WATCHING CRISTIANO. HE STARTED OUT AS A TRICKY WINGER THAT OVER DID THE STEP-OVERS AND DEVELOPED INTO ONE OF THE DEADLIEST FINISHERS THE GAME HAS EVER SEEN. IT WAS GREAT TO FOLLOW HIS CAREER FROM THE START. HE'S NOT FINISHED YET EITHER. HE WILL KEEP GOING AT THE VERY HIGHEST LEVEL UNTIL HE IS 40. MARK MY WORDS. CRISTIANO IS A FORCE OF NATURE.

OLIVER KAHN.

GROWING UP HE WAS MY FAVOURITE GOALKEEPER AND ONE I FAILED MISERABLY EMULATING.

PAOLO MALDINI.

THE GUY DEFINED THE ART OF DEFENDING AND PERSONIFIED CALM.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

THAT LEFT FOOT, WOW! COULD PLAY ANYWHERE AND STILL BE DANGEROUS.

CARLES PUYOL.

ROCK SOLID, JOHN TERRY ON STEROIDS!

RIO FERDINAND.

THE MODERN MALDINI.

STEVEN GERRARD.

THE GREATEST MIDFIELDER ENGLAND HAVE EVER PRODUCED. IF HE WASN’T A SCOUSE HE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED FAR GREATER RECOGNITION.

FRANCESCO TOTTI.

THE PERFECT MIX OF FLAIR AND GRACE; LIKE A BUTTERFLY BUT WITH A GUN.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

GRACE, ELEGANCE, POISE AND AGGRESSION. SPLENDID PLAYER.

RONALDO.

GREATEST FINISHER EVER! HATE HIM BEING CALLED ‘FAT RONALDO’ THE GOAT.

DARREN EADIE.

MY ULTIMATE ALL TIME FAVOURITE PLAYER GROWING UP WATCHING HIM FLY DOWN THE WING.

DARREN HUCKERBY.

SIMILAR TO EADIE BUT WITH BETTER HAIR COMBINED WITH A BIT OF SHIT HOUSERY, LOVE THAT!

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

SUPERMAN. HE’S 42, HAS 176 CAPS FOR ITALY, WON THE 2006 WORLD CUP, 19 CLUB TITLES INCLUDING 9 SERIE A TITLES WITH JUVENTUS AND IS JUST ABSOLUTELY IMMENSE. HE’S ALSO WORN SOME OF THE BEST (AND WORST) KEEPER TOPS IN HISTORY. OTHERS HAVE PUSHED HIM DURING HIS CAREER TO BE THE BEST, BUT NO-ONE HAS KEPT THE SAME TOP LEVEL OF CONSISTENCY THROUGHOUT.

CAFU.

IL PENDOLINO. WELL KNOWN FOR BEING AN ATTACKING FULL-BACK, CREATING 2 V 1 S CONSTANTLY FOR MILAN, ROMA AND BRAZIL BUT WHAT MAKES HIM THE RIGHT CHOICE AND THE BEST FULL-BACK I’VE SEEN IS THAT HE WAS ALSO A GREAT DEFENDER. FITNESS LEVELS WERE INCREDIBLE. PLAYED IN 4 WORLD CUPS FOR BRAZIL WINNING THE 1994 AND 2002 COMPETITIONS.

CARLES PUYOL.

LIONHEART. NEED A BATTLER IN THIS BACK FOUR AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT PUYOL IS. WORK RATE, DETERMINATION, STRENGTH AND RELIABILITY. MIGHT NOT LOOK AS GOOD AS OTHERS I COULD HAVE INCLUDED BUT YOU QUESTION ANY SPANIARD OR CATALAN AND THEY WILL TELL YOU HE’S THE BEST DEFENDER THERE IS. COVERING CAFU WOULD BE NO PROBLEM FOR HIM EITHER AS HE STARTED HIS CAREER AS A RIGHT BACK.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

IL MURO DI BERLINO. MY FAVOURITE DEFENDER OF ALL TIME AND DESERVED BALON D’OR WINNER IN 2006. THAT SEASON AND IN PARTICULAR DURING THE 2006 WORLD CUP IN GERMANY, HE WAS A ROCK AND LED TO HIM GAINING HIS NICKNAME. STARTED WITH HIS HOMETOWN CLUB NAPOLI AGED 16 TRAINING AGAINST PLAYERS LIKE MARADONA. HEAD UP, CHEST OUT, KNEW WHEN TO PLAY THE BALL, KNEW WHEN TO PUT HIS FOOT IN.

PAOLO MALDINI.

IL CAPITANO. SHOULD BE IN EVERY GREATEST XI TEAM EITHER AS A LEFT BACK OR CENTRE BACK. HIS TIMING MADE DEFENDING LOOK LIKE AN ELEGANT ART. HIS FITNESS AND PASSION TO EITHER GET BACK INTO POSITION OR BOMB DOWN A WING MAKES HIM AN EASY PICK. 25 YEARS PLAYING FOR AC MILAN IN THE SERIE A WINNING SO MANY TROPHIES, LOSING SO MANY TOO, HE JUST NEVER STOPPED.

ANDREA PIRLO.

MAJESTIC. FOOTBALL SIMPLIFIED. I DON’T THINK HE EVER CHANGED GEAR AND MADE IT ALL LOOK SO EASY. IF HE PLAYS WELL, HIS TEAM WILL PLAY WELL. NO PIRLO, NO PARTY! THE BEST FREE TRANSFER THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN. WAS A FAN FROM EARLY IN HIS CAREER WITH BRESCIA, AND HE JUST GOT BETTER WITH AGE. THE PERFECT PLAYMAKER AND CONTROLLER OF A GAME. KEPT IT SIMPLE WHEN NEEDED HOWEVER HIS ABILITY TO PICK OUT THE LONG PASS TO CHANGE THE GAME OR TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AN OPPORTUNITY AT THE RIGHT TIME, WAS BETTER THAN ANYONE.

XAVI.

MASTER. ALL ABOUT AWARENESS OF PLAY. I DON’T THINK HE EVER KEPT HIS HEAD STILL, LOOKING AT THE OPPOSITION, THE SPACE, OVER HIS LEFT SHOULDER, RIGHT SHOULDER – TWO OR THREE STEPS AHEAD AT ALL TIMES. PASS IT, MOVE INTO SPACE, PASS IT, MOVE INTO SPACE. NOWHERE NEAR THE FASTEST OR MOST PHYSICAL BUT HE NEVER STOPPED RUNNING AND KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.

STEVEN GERRARD.

DRIVE. I WOULD ALWAYS PICK STEVEN GERRARD, BUT HE WOULD COMPLIMENT THE OTHERS IN THIS MIDFIELD TRIO SO MUCH. HE HAD ALL THE ATTRIBUTES THAT YOU COULD PUT HIM IN ANY POSITION ON THE FIELD AND HE’D DO A JOB. LOVED HIS TENACITY, DRIVE AND HIS NEVER GIVE UP ATTITUDE. TRADEMARK RUNS FROM MIDFIELD INTO THE BOX OR EDGE OF THE AREA TO SMASH IT AND INCH PERFECT LONGBALLS. LOVED A TACKLE TOO!

FRANCESCO TOTTI.

KING. FIVE-TIME ITALIAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR WITH MORE THAN 300 GOALS IN THE SERIE A, YET NOBODY ENJOYS AN ASSIST LIKE TOTTI DOES. THE BEST STRIKE PARTNER I IMAGINE ANYONE WOULD WANT. LOVED A DUMMY, A DRIBBLE, A GREAT GOAL. I JUST LOVED WATCHING HIM PLAY. I ALSO LOVE HIS LOYALTY TO HIS HOME CLUB AS ROMA, SO MANY OTHER CLUBS WOULD HAVE WANTED HIM AT VARIOUS TIMES IN HIS CAREER.

LIONEL MESSI.

G.O.A.T. FOR ME HE IS THE BEST EVER! CAN PRODUCE SOMETHING FROM ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AND HAS NO WEAKNESS. TAKE AWAY SOME OF HIS INCREDIBLE STATISTICS, YOU JUST HAVE TO WATCH HIM TO KNOW. INCREDIBLE VISION TO SEE WHAT’S ON, MAKES THE RIGHT DECISIONS, SO MANY ASSISTS AND THEN THERE’S THE DRIBBLES AND THE GOALS AND THE FREE-KICKS. HIS BALANCE AND STRENGTH ON THE BALL IS SOMETHING ELSE.

RONALDO.

EL FENOMENO. PURE JOY TO WATCH. HE HAD EVERYTHING YOU WOULD WANT IN A STRIKER. UNPLAYABLE FOR SO MANY SEASONS WITH SO MANY GREAT TEAMS. MADE LA LIGA AND SERIE A LOOK EASY WHEN THEY WERE ANYTHING BUT AND HE ABSOLUTELY TORE THE WORLD CUPS APART. PACE, POWER, STEPOVERS AND LOADS AND LOADS OF GOALS. I WISH HE WAS FIT FOR THE FRANCE 98 FINAL.

IKER CASILLAS.

3 CHAMPION LEAGUES, 2 EUROS, 1 WORLD CUP. ALWAYS A MAJOR PART OF THOSE SUCCESS. I HESITATED WITH NEUER BUT NO...

SERGIO RAMOS.

IS A MONSTER AND WILL PROBABLY BE REMEMBERED LIKE A BECKENBAUER.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK.

BECAUSE HE IS PROBABLY THE MOST COMPLETE CENTRAL DEFENDER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE... HE SIMPLY HAS EVERYTHING.

CAFU.

PROBABLY THE MOST COMPLETE RIGHT BACK OF ALL TIME. ABSOLUTELY NO WEAKNESS IN HIS GAME, WHETHER WITH OR WITHOUT THE BALL. FAST, POWERFUL, INTELLIGENT AND TECHNICAL.

PHILIPP LAHM.

UNBELIEVABLE COMPETITOR AND LEADER... AND HE HAS PROVED IT WITH BAYERN AND THE NATIONAL TEAM. FROM THE BEGINNING OF HIS CARRIER UNTIL THIS END HIS CONSISTENCY HAS NO EQUAL. PLUS HE HAS THE CAPACITY TO PLAY ON EITHER FLANK AND EVEN HAS A MIDFIELDER IF NEED.

ANDREA PIRLO.

BEST NUMBER 6 IN HISTORY IN HIS STYLE.. BASICALLY A NUMBER 10 WHO PLAYS IN A NUMBER 6 POSITION. I LIKE PLAYERS WITH VISION AND IN THIS POSITION PIRLO CAN DISTRIBUTE THE GAME WITH A WIDER ANGLE BUT ALSO CAN BREAK TWO LINES OF DEFENSE WITH ONE PASS.

STEVEN GERRARD AND PATRICK VIEIRA.

TWO SUPER STRONG BOX TO BOX MIDFIELDER IN FRONT OF PIRLO TO COVER THE FLANKS AND THE MIDFIELD WITH THE CAPACITY TO BE AGGRESSIVE ON THE BALL DEFENSIVELY (TO BALANCE WITH PIRLO LACK OF AGRESSION BUT TO ALLOW HIM TO DIRECT THE GAME AT EASE FOR LONG BALLS AND WITH A WIDER ANGLE). ALSO FOR THEIR CAPACITY OF MOVING FORWARD FAST, WITH POWER AND WITH GOOD PASSING CAPACITY.

MICHEL PLATINI.

I LIKE TO PLAY WITH A NUMBER 10. A PLAYMAKER. PLATINI IS MY CHOICE SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS PROBABLY THE MOST MAGNIFICENT AND INTELLIGENT PLAYER I HAVE EVER SEEN. HIS VISION, TECHNIC, LEADERSHIP HAVE NO EQUAL. BUT BECAUSE HIS DEFENSE CAPACITIES ARE CLOSE TO NULL I WANT THE TWO STRONG BOX TO BOX PLAYERS TO COVER HIM BEHIND. I WANT THE MAESTRO TO BE COMPLETELY AT EASE.

RONALDO NAZARIO.

I CAN’T EVEN START EXPLAINING WHY..

MARCO VAN BASTEN.

SAME STORY, I WOULD NEED TO WRITE A POEM TO DESCRIBE BOTH HIM AND RONALDO. BOTH ALSO HAVE CAPACITY TO INTERCEPT BALLS VERY HIGH ON THE PITCH... BEING OPPORTUNISTIC WHEN THE OPPOSITE DEFENSE WANTS TO BRING OUT THE BALL. VAN BASTEN HAS ALSO THE SKILLS TO FIX DEFENDERS AND COMBINE, THAT’S WHY I WANT HIM A SLIGHTLY LOWER ON THE PITCH (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN A VERY HIGH MIDFIELDER AND A FORWARD).

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

MAINTAINED THE HIGHEST STANDARD FOR A RIDICULOUS LENGTH OF TIME. OUTSTANDING.

CAFU.

UP AND DOWN. UP AND DOWN. UP AND DOWN. HE WAS ABSOLUTELY RELENTLESS.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

NOTHING PASSED HIM. EVER.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

THE MASTER OF THE ART OF TACKLING. AND ONE HANDSOME BASTARD.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

THAT FREE KICK. THAT’S ALL I’VE GOTTA SAY.

ANDRES INIESTA.

LOOKED LIKE A PLUMBER. PLAYED LIKE A POSTMAN, ALWAYS DELIVERED.

ANDREA PIRLO.

ANOTHER GOOD LOOKING LAD. SPRAYED PASSES ALL OVER THE GAFF FOR FUN. FREAKISHLY GOOD VISION, LIKE A SAT-NAV.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

GENIUS.

LIONEL MESSI.

THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

RONALDO.

WOULD HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME, BUT FOR INJURIES. LAD COULD FINISH.

RONALDINHO.

A MAGICIAN WITH THE BALL AT HIS FEET AND AN ABSOLUTE JOY TO WATCH. WHAT A PLAYER.

SEPP MAIER.

SPEED, AGILITY, AND FLEXIBILITY EARNED HIM THE DIE KATZE NICKNAME.

CARLOS ALBERTO.

A GREAT DEFENDER BUT ALSO DECISIVE ON THE ATTACK, THE MAN CAPTAINED ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING SQUADS EVER TO A WORLD CUP TITLE IN 1970.

FRANZ BECKENBAUER.

COMPLETE DOMINANCE, UNDERSTANDING, AND CONTROL OF THE GAME OF FOOTBALL ALL IN BEAUTIFUL STYLE.

BOBBY MOORE.

PELE SAID HE WAS THE BEST DEFENDER HE EVER PLAYED AGAINST.

GIACINTO FACCHETTI.

TRUE BEAST IN THE ATTACK, ONE OF THE BEST EVER AT HIS POSITION, MEMBER OF LA GRANDE INTER.

JOHAN NEESKENS.

YOU KNOW THOSE CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS THAT DO EVERYTHING? DEFEND, ATTACK, TACKLE, STEAL, SCORE. NEESKENS DID ALL THAT AT FULL SPEED FOR 90 MINUTES.

GUNTER NETZER.

VERY TALENTED AND TECHNICAL WITH PRECISE PASSES, HE SHINED IN THE BUNDESLIGA IN THE EARLY 70S AND LIFTED THE WORLD CUP IN 74.

GERD MULLER.

HIS CAREER STATS ARE SICK! WITH GERMANY HE AVERAGES MORE THEN A GOAL PER GAME, A DECISIVE PLAYER INSIDE THE BOX.

JOHAN CRUYFF.

TOTAL FOOTBALLER!

RIVELINO.

HIS DEADLY BENDING KICKS FROM ANYWHERE IN THE FIELD WERE ALWAYS A THREAT. BESIDES HIS LONG PASS PRECISION AND DRIBBLING ABILITIES, HE SPORTED A CLASSIC 70S MOUSTACHE TO BREAK INTO MY FAVORITE 11 FROM THE 70S.

PELE.

THE KING (NO CAPTIONS NEEDED)

WALTER ZENGA.

INTER’S HOME GROWN SPIDERMAN HAD EXCELLENT REFLEXES AND A LOVE FOR THE CLUB THAT GIVES HIM A SPECIAL PLACE IN INTERISTI HEARTS.

MAICON.

THE COLOSSUS THAT DOMINATED INTER’S RIGHT FLANK DURING THE HISTORIC ’TRIPLETE’ ALSO ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE PLAYERS.

WALTER SAMUEL.

THE IMPOSING WALL WHO WAS AS INTIMIDATING AS HE WAS TALENTED. NOT MUCH MADE IT PAST THE ARGENTINE DEFENDER.

BEPPE BERGOMI.

THE UNCLE WHO SPENT HIS ENTIRE 20 YEAR CAREER WITH THE NERAZZURRI. NOT ONLY ONE OF INTER’S GREAT CAPTAINS, BUT ALSO ONE OF THE BEST ITALIAN DEFENDERS OF ALL TIME.

GIANCINTO FACCHETTI.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE MARAUDING WING BACK. ANOTHER ‘ONE CLUB’ MAN AND WIDELY REGARDED AS NOT ONLY AS THE GREAT CAPTAIN OF ‘LA GRANDE INTER’ BUT ALSO AS A TRUE GENTLEMAN ON AND OFF THE PITCH.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

THE TRACTOR, WHAT CAN I SAY? I COULDN’T CALL MYSELF AN INTERISTA IF I DIDN’T INCLUDE THIS MAN IN MY GREATEST 11. THE ENGINE AND THE HEART OF THE ‘TRIPLETE’ INTER TEAM.

ESTEBAN CAMBIASSO.

CUCHU UNDERSTOOD THE TACTICAL ASPECT OF THE GAME BETTER THAN MOST AND HE COULD DEFEND AND PASS LIKE THE BEST OF THEM. ANOTHER VITAL PIECE OF THE ‘TRIPLETE’ TEAM.

LOTHAR MATTHAUS.

ONE OF GERMANY’S GREATEST EVER MIDFIELDERS WHO WON A SCUDETTO AND THE UEFA CUP DURING HIS 4 SEASONS AT INTER. A CLUB HE STILL HOLDS CLOSE TO HIS HEART.

SANDRO MAZZOLA.

THE LAST OF THE ‘ONE CLUB’ INTER PLAYERS IN MY GREATEST 11. A PLAYER WITH AMAZING VISION WITH THE BALL AND A FANTASTIC SHOT. A PIVOTAL PIECE IN THE ‘LA GRANDE INTER’ OF THE 60’S THAT WON BACK TO BACK EUROPEAN CUPS.

RONALDO.

THE PHENOMENON THAT MESMERISED ME EVERY TIME HE HAD THE BALL AT HIS FEET. THIS MAN WASN’T JUST A FOOTBALLER HE WAS ALSO AN ARTIST AND IN MY OPINION THE GREATEST PLAYER TO EVER LIVE.

DIEGO MILITO.

THE PRINCE WAS ONE OF A FEW I COULD’VE CHOSEN FOR THIS POSITION, BUT HIS GOALS THAT SECURED INTER’S 2010 TREBLE MADE SURE HE HAD TO BE INCLUDED.

PETR CECH.

AT HIS PEAK, THERE WAS NO BETTER KEEPER. THE CLEAN SHEET RECORD HOLDER IN THE EPL.

DANI ALVES.

MORE TROPHIES THAN ANYONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME

CARLES PUYOL.

THE GREATEST CAPTAIN IN BARCELONA'S HISTORY. NEVER REPLACED

SERGIO RAMOS.

THE DEFENDER THAT SUMMARIZES REAL MADRID AS A CLUB

MARCELO.

A NUMBER 10 PLAYING LEFT BACK

XAVI.

1 WORLD CUP, 2 EUROS, 14 TROPHIES AND MORE THAN 100 ASSISTS DURING 4 YEARS (2008-12). LEGENDARY MIDFIELDER

ANDREA PIRLO.

A NUMBER 10 PLAYING DEEP. WHAT A PLAYER. WORLD CUP WIN IN 2006, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2003 AND 2007

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

THE BEST FRENCH PLAYER EVER. WON IT ALL FOR FRANCE AND REAL MADRID. JUVE LEGEND. 3 WORLD CUP FINAL GOALS IN 2 MATCHES. NUMBER 10.

LIONEL MESSI.

THERE IS NO WAY TO DESCRIBE HIM. ET.

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

THERE IS NO WAY TO DESCRIBE HIM. GOAL MACHINE.

RONALDINHO.

A MAGICIAN WITH THE BALL. WHEN HE PLAYED DURING 2004 AND 2006 HE WAS BETTER THAN 99.9 PERCENT OF THE PLAYERS I WATCHED DURING THEIR WHOLE CAREERS.

CLAUDIO TAFFAREL.

KING OF PENALTIES, I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SEMI-FINAL AGAINST THE NETHERLANDS AT FRANCE 98.

CAFU.

PERSISTENCE, EFFORT AND PACE. TIRELESS ON THE FIELD!

ROBERTO CARLOS.

NO ONE IS THE GREATEST SIDE IN REAL MADRID HISTORY IN VAIN. HIS KICKS AND THE WAY HE HIT THE BALL WERE UNIQUE!

PAOLO MALDINI.

CLASS AND MASTERY IN THE ART OF DEFENDING!

FABIO CANNAVARO.

THE OWNER OF THE 2006 WORLD CUP, NOTHING PASSED HIM!

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

SEEING ZIZOU ON THE FIELD WAS A PRIVILEGE THAT WE SHOULD ALL THANK FOR ALWAYS! GENIUS!

RONALDINHO.

WHAT HE DID WITH THE BARCELONA SHIRT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, EVERY GAME WAS A RONNIE FOOTBALL MASTERCLASS!

LIONEL MESSI.

WHEN WE THOUGHT THAT EVERYTHING HAD ALREADY BEEN SEEN OR EXISTED IN TERMS OF FOOTBALL, LIONEL MESSI APPEARS TO BREAK ALL PARADIGMS AND LOGIC ABOUT THE GAME .AN “ALIEN” AMONGST US! KING OF THE GAME!

RONALDO NAZARIO.

FOREVER “THE PHENOMENON” HAS MADE A GENERATION FALL IN LOVE MORE AND MORE WITH FOOTBALL! SHOUTING HIS GOALS AT THE 2002 WORLD CUP WAS A PRIZE FOR ALL LOVERS OF THE GAME, RONALDO WAS A WINNER AND DESERVES EVERYTHING HE HAS ACHIEVED IN HIS CAREER!

ROMARIO.

THE GENIUS OF THE GOAL AREA, NOBODY FINISHED BETTER THAN ROMARIO! “THE GOAL KILLER”

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

TALENT, STRENGTH, PERSISTENCE, FOCUS. ARE SO MANY QUALITIES TO DESCRIBE THE “MONSTER” CR7 THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE ALL .OUR GENERATION HAS THE PRIVILEGE OF WATCHING CRISTIANO RONALDO, TO APPRECIATE HIS GAME, HIS GOALS. ANYWAY, CR7 IS A GIFT TO ALL WHO LOVE FOOTBALL, THE REAL NAME OF THE GOAL.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

JUST OUTRAGEOUS HOW HE CAN PLAY AT A HIGH LEVEL FOR SO LONG. JUST PRODUCES TOP CLASS SAVES EVERY GAME!

JAVIER ZANETTI.

MACHINE GOING UP AND DOWN THE WING. HAD IT ALL.

FRANCO BARESI.

LOVED AC MILAN GROWING UP. JUST HAD EVERYTHING YOU’D WANT IN A CB. DID’NT JUST WIN THE BALL BUT CAME AWAY WITH IT!

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

STUNNING CB THAT WAS ALWAYS AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME. GREAT ALLROUNDER.

PAOLO MALDINI.

DOES HE NEED AN INTRO? JUST INCREDIBLE! NO TEAM WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT HIM.

RONALDINHO.

HE WAS JUST MAGIC. PURE SKILL AND PLAYED WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE. JUST LOVED THE GAME.

PAUL SCHOLES.

BEST MIDFIELDER IN THE WORLD. HIS PASSING WAS INCREDIBLE. STAND OUT IN EVERY WAY.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

JUST SCARY GOOD. BOTH FEET, WENT PAST PLAYERS FOR FUN AND WAS A PLEASURE TO WATCH.

RONALDO.

DIDN'T APPRECIATE HIM UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. 2 FOOTED. QUICK. COULD DRIBBLE, FINISH AND CREATE. BEST STRIKER AROUND.

LIONEL MESSI.

BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD. CAN'T TOUCH THAT!

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

PES MADE ME LOVE HIM FIRST AND THEN HE WAS JUST UNREAL TO WATCH. BRILLIANT NATURAL FORWARD. WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE SEEN HIM MORE!

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

A FANTASTIC KEEPER WHO HAS DONE IT YEAR AFTER YEAR SINCE HIS DEBUT FOR PARMA IN 1995.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

WE WENT FOR THE ARGENTINE OVER CAFU, AN OUTSTANDING PLAYER OVER MANY SEASONS.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

NOT MANY DEFENDERS WIN THE BALLON D’OR, CANNAVARO DID HAVING CAPTAINED ITALY TO WORLD CUP GLORY.

FRANCO BARESI.

1 WORLD CUP, 3 EUROPEAN CUPS, COUNTLESS SERIE A TITLES. A LEGEND. MILAN RETIRED THE NUMBER 6 WHEN HE RETIRED.

PAOLO MALDINI.

IS SURELY IN ANYONE’S GREATEST XI, JUST THE 5 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINS FOR HIM!

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

WAS HE EVEN TRYING WHEN HE PLAYED?! THE WORLD CUP ‘98 FINAL DISPLAY, THE 2001 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL GOAL, WHAT A PLAYER.

LOTHAR MATTHAUS.

WORLD CUP WINNER, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS WINNER, POPPED UP WITH SOME BREATHTAKING GOALS.

ANDRES INIESTA.

INTEGRAL TO BARCELONA AND SPAIN TEAMS WHO WERE AWESOME TO WATCH. DEFENDERS COULDNT GET THE BALL OFF HIM IN A PHONE BOX. BRILLIANT TO WATCH, TOUCH, VISION, QUICK FEET.

LIONEL MESSI.

THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME? IF NOT VERY CLOSE TOO. NOT ONLY JUST GOALS AND ASSISTS, A JOY TO WATCH.

RONALDO.

WE HAD TO PICK R9, FOOTBALL ITALIA WAS A MUST WATCH WITH HIM PLAYING. PACE, POWER, SKILLS AND FINISHING, DEFENDERS DIDN’T STAND A CHANCE.

RONALDINHO.

CAPABLE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY. DURING HIS TIME AT BARCELONA HE WAS RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. NOT MANY GET A STANDING OVATION AT THE BERNABEU!

DINO ZOFF.

THE IMAGE OF ZOFF IN HIS GREY AZZURRI GOALKEEPERS JERSEY IN THE 70’S AND 80’S, IS AS ICONIC AS IT IS NOSTALGIC. ARGUABLY THE BEST ITALIAN GOALKEEPER OF ALL TIME, DINO ZOFF HAD AND DID IT ALL. A WORLD CUP WINNER AT 40, SERIAL TITLE WINNER WITH JUVENTUS AND A GOALKEEPER WHO HELPED SHAPE THE MODERN-DAY POSITION. HIS LEGACY LASTS TODAY AS HE WAS SEEN TO BE THE TORCH HOLDER FOR A COUNTRY KNOW SYNONYMOUS WITH GREAT GOALKEEPERS.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

JAVIER ZANETTI QUITE LITERALLY IS INTER. THERE ARE FEW PLAYERS IN A CLUBS HISTORY WHO EMBODY THE VALUES LIKE ZANETTI DOES WITH INTER. THE MODEL PROFESSIONAL, HE WORKED TIRELESSLY AS A FULL BACK AND A MIDFIELDER CAPTAINING THE SIDE TO A HISTORIC TREBLE IN 2010. FOREVER YOUNG, HE PLAYED UNTIL HE WAS 40 AND EL TRACTOR HAD THE SAME INCREDIBLE PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES RIGHT UNTIL THE END.

FRANCO BARESI.

FRANCO BARESI’S LEGENDARY STATUS IS UNTOUCHABLE. ANOTHER AC MILAN BANDIERA WHO WON SEVEN SERIE A TITLES AND THREE EUROPEAN CUPS. HE WAS COMPOSED YET UNCOMPROMISING, SUBTLE YET DOMINEERING. HE WAS THE GRACEFUL LIBERO WHO MARSHALLED THIS FORMIDABLE BACKLINE AND HE REMAINS ONE OF THE GREATEST CENTRE-BACKS ITALIAN FOOTBALL HAS EVER PRODUCED.

GAETANO SCIREA.

THE CALMEST, MOST ELEGANT SWEEPER EVER TO PLAY THE GAME. HIS BALL SKILLS WERE BETTER THAN MOST MIDFIELDERS AND HE WAS FREQUENTLY THE INSTIGATOR OF HIS TEAM’S ATTACKING MOVES. IN AN ERA OF OVERZEALOUS TACKLING, HE BUCKED THE TREND WITH HIS INTELLIGENT DEFENSIVE WORK AND WAS NEVER SENT OFF.

PAOLO MALDINI.

IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT TO BE SAID ABOUT PAOLO MALDINI? A GRACEFUL, INTELLIGENT, IMPERIOUS AND RUTHLESS DEFENDER WHO MADE STIFLING ATTACKERS LOOK LIKE AN ART FORM. A ONE CLUB MAN WHO BY THE END OF HIS QUARTER CENTURY WITH AC MILAN, HAD WON SEVEN LEAGUE TITLES AND FIVE EUROPEAN CUPS.

MARCO TARDELLI.

A HARD-TACKLING BUT SKILFUL CENTRAL MIDFIELDER WHO REDEFINED THE ROLE IN ITALY. ALSO CHIPPED IN WITH HIS FAIR SHARE OF GOALS INCLUDING A RATHER IMPORTANT ONE IN 1982, THE CELEBRATION FOR WHICH WAS COPIED IN SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS ACROSS EUROPE. "GOL! GOL!"

ROBERTO DONADONI.

ROSE FROM SERIE C TO SERIE A WITH ATALANTA BEFORE HEADING DOWN THE ROAD TO MILAN IN 1986, AND THE REST IS HISTORY. BAGGED EIGHTEEN TROPHIES INCLUDING SIX LEAGUE TITLES AND THREE CHAMPIONS LEAGUES DURING HIS TIME AT THE SAN SIRO AND WAS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE NATIONAL TEAM FOR A DECADE. LABELLED A WINGER, BUT IN TRUTH, THE MOST VERSATILE MIDFIELDER OF HIS GENERATION.

MICHEL PLATINI.

WHATEVER YOU THINK OF THE MAN, HE WAS AN ARTIST ON THE PITCH. AS GRACEFUL AND CREATIVE AS THEY COME, HE COULD GUIDE THE BALL WITH THE PRECISION OF A SURGEON, WAS BLESSED WITH DECENT PACE, AND COULD READ THE GAME ONE PAGE AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE. OH, AND HIS SET-PIECES WEREN’T BAD EITHER.

MARCO VAN BASTEN.

TECHNICALLY, THERE WERE NO LIMITS TO WHAT VAN BASTEN COULD DO WITH A FOOTBALL, AS DEMONSTRATED BY THE STUNNING VARIETY OF GOALS HE SCORED FOR THE ROSSONERI. ALONGSIDE DUTCH COMPATRIOTS RIJKAARD AND GULLIT, HE WAS PART OF THE SACCHI LED REVOLUTION AT MILAN WHO PLAYED SOME OF THE BEST FOOTBALL SERIE A HAS SEEN. QUITE SIMPLY, VAN BASTEN WAS ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANT AND AESTHETICALLY PLEASING FORWARDS TO EVER PLAY THE GAME.

DIEGO MARADONA.

IF DIEGO MARADONA IS TO BE DEBATED ABOUT BEING THE BEST OF ALL TIME, THEN IT IS HIS TIME AT NAPOLI THAT PLAYS A MAJOR PART. DURING THIS TIME, HE CAPTAINED THE PARTENOPEI TO TWO SCUDETTI, A UEFA CUP AND A COPPA ITALIA. IN THIS PERIOD HE DRAGGED ARGENTINA TO A WORLD CUP WIN AND CAPTURED THE HEART OF HIS COUNTRY AND NAPLES. THE FACT THAT HE IS STILL WORSHIPED AS A GOD IN THE CITY, IS TESTAMENT TO HIS GENIUS.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

FEW PLAYERS ARE AS UNIVERSALLY LOVED AS ROBERTO BAGGIO. MILAN, INTER AND JUVENTUS STILL ADORE HIM AND EVEN THE FLORENTINES CANNOT DENY HIS BRILLIANCE. THE MAN WITH AN ICONIC LOOK AND A DISTINCTIVE STYLE OF PLAY, BAGGIO CAPTURED THE HEARTS OF A NATION IN ITALIA 90 AND REMINDED THE WORLD JUST WHAT BEAUTY OF THE FOOTBALL PITCH LOOKED LIKE. BAGGIO IS ARGUABLY THE BEST ITALIAN FOOTBALLER IN HISTORY.

MANUEL NEUER.

THE VERY BEST SWEEPER-KEEPER IN THE BUSINESS. HIS REFLEXES ASTOUNDING - HIS MERE PRESENCE BETWEEN THE STICKS IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER - HIS PLAY IN BRAZIL ‘14 LEGENDARY - “DER KEEPEER”

NEMANJA VIDIC.

SIR ALEX’S SERBIAN DREAM COME TRUE - 50/50 BALLS, GOOD LUCK! - GLORY GLORY NEMANJA VIDIC!

FRANZ BECKENBAUER.

LEADERSHIP EXEMPLIFIED - A DOMINANT PRESENCE THAT MADE SUPERMAN JEALOUS WITH HIS VISION - BROUGHT THE BALL UP FROM THE BACK AS IF ON THE RED CARPET...

PAOLO MALDINI.

AN ICON IN RED AND BLACK AND IN BLUE; HIS PHYSIQUE SCULPTURE WORTHY, MADE DEFENDING LOOK SO ELEGANT. TRULY WORLD CLASS AND HIS LOYALTY NEVER IN DOUBT.

RONALDINHO.

JOY, LOVE, HAPPINESS, THAT IS DINHO - HIS SMILE AND SKILL MADE US ALL FANS. A TRUE WIZARD WITH THE BALL AT HIS FEET!

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

A FINE FRENCH WINE, THAT HAD A THRUST TO MARVEL US ON THE BIG STAGE - HIS WONDERFUL TOUCH, PURE VINTAGE.

MARADONA.

A TRUE FOOTBALLING HERO , LEADING ARGENTINA IN ‘86, AND THE CITY OF NAPOLI TO GREATER FORTUNE. HIS FIRST STRIDE WAS SO EXPLOSIVE THAT HIS NO. 10 JERSEY DOMINATED THE PITCH. ONE OF A KIND, BROUGHT THE GAME TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL.

JOHAN CRUYFF.

BRILLIANCE - HIS MIND ALWAYS PLAYING FOOTBALL CHESS AND HIS DEVOTION TO PLAYING ATTRACTIVE FOOTBALL MADE FOOTBALL INTO AN ART FORM.

GARRINCHA.

A SENSATIONAL WINGER - DRIBBLED, DANCES, KISSES AND DRANK FOR US ALL ON AND OFF THE PITCH. THE FIRST JOY OF FOOTBALL.

PELE.

A COUNTRY WEIGHED ON HIS SHOULDERS AT 17- A TALENT TO FIND THE BACK OF THE NET. THE CANARY YELLOW JERSEY SHINED SO BRIGHT THAT HAS LED TO MANY BRAZILIAN GREAT TO FOLLOW. HE WON A COUNTRY OVER - HE WAS A COSMO - FOOTBALL’S FIRST MOVIE STAR.

LIONEL MESSI.

GIFTED - HAS DOMINATED WORLD FOOTBALL WITH HIS PACE AND DRIBBLING SKILL AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LEFT FOOT THE GAME HAS EVER SEEN.

ANTTI NIEMI.

BEST KEEPER TO PULL ON A HEARTS JERSEY IN MY LIFETIME. GENUINELY WORLD CLASS. SO GOOD THAT THERE WERE CALLS TO CAP HIM FOR SCOTLAND DESPITE HIM BEING FINISH -

Talksport Call.

LILIAN THURAM.

TO RECOVER FROM GIFTING A GOAL IN A WORLD CUP SEMI ON HOME SOIL BY SCORING TWO GOALS IS SOME FEAT. TO DO IT FROM RIGHT BACK IS GENIUS.

CRAIG LEVEIN.

CRAIG LEVEIN OF HEARTS SAW AN INCREDIBLY PROMISING CAREER DESTROYED BY INJURY, UNFORTUNATELY. HE WAS A THOROUGHBRED IN THE MOULD OF ALAN HANSEN. EFFORTLESS IN TURNING DEFENCE INTO ATTACK. SHOULD’VE GONE ON TO BEING A SCOTLAND REGULAR.

FRANCO BARESI.

FRANCO. SIMPLY THE BEST DEFENDER OF HIS GENERATION. FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY. HE WAS THE WORLD’S BEST IN DEFENCE AND GENERATING ATTACK. NOT A BIG PHYSICAL PRESENCE BY TODAY’S STANDARDS SO REIGNED WITH GUILE AND SKILL. A LEGEND.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

MAYBE NOT THE BEST DEFENSIVELY BUT GOING FORWARD HE PUT THE FEAR INTO OPPOSING PLAYERS LIKE NO-ONE ELSE. LIGHTING-QUICK AND WITH A SHOT THAT CAME FROM A CANNON. PRACTICALLY INVENTED THE OUTSWINGING FREE-KICK THUNDERB*ST*RD.

JOHN COLQUHOUN.

JOHN COLQUHOUN IS QUITE SIMPLY MY FAVOURITE EVER PLAYER. PLAYED ON THE RIGHT WING FOR HEARTS OVER TWO SEPARATE SPELLS AND LEFT MULTIPLE LEFT-BACKS WITH TWISTED BLOOD AND A DEEP SENSE OF INADEQUACY. AND COULD SCORE FROM ANY ANGLE AT ANY DISTANCE.

SOCRATES.

THE DOCTOR. NO ONLY WAS HE A MAVERICK, SUPER-TALENTED MIDFIELDER, BUT A POLITICALLY AND SOCIALLY ACTIVE PHILANTHROPIST. A GREAT MAN AND AN INCREDIBLE FOOTBALLER. AND SUPERCOOL.

ZICO.

ONE OF FEW PLAYERS THAT MAKE THE GAME LOOK SO EFFORTLESS YOU START TO BELIEVE YOU CAN DO WHAT HE DOES. YOU CAN’T. NO-ONE CAN. THE BEST FREE-KICK TAKER THERE WILL EVER BE.

DAVIE COOPER.

DAVIE COOPER HAD THE BEST LEFT FOOT I’VE EVER SEEN. THE BEST SCOTTISH PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION HE SHOULD’VE DONE MORE ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE BUT NOT EVEN HE COULD PROPEL A SCOTLAND TEAM TO GREATER HEIGHTS. GULLIT PICKED HIM IN HIS BEST ELEVEN, SO I CAN’T BE FAR WRONG.

MARADONA.

NATCH. NO NEED FOR EXPLANATION. THE BEST.

RONALDO.

PROPER RONALDO. NOT THE OTHER ONE. THE MOST COMPLETE FORWARD OF HIS GENERATION AND MAYBE EVER. ABSOLUTELY UNSTOPPABLE. AND PLAYED WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE WHICH IS INCREDIBLY REFRESHING.

GIANLUCA PAGLIUCA.

ITALY NUMBER 1 AND SAMPDORIA AND INTER LEGEND.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

ARGENTINE AND INTER LEGEND. ONLY CHOICE FOR RB.

ALESSANDRO COSTACURTA.

PART OF THE MILAN BACK FOR AND ARGUABLY THE MOST UNDERRATED. SUPERB DISTRIBUTION.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

A PROPER CENTRE BACK. LOADS OF PACE AND POWER AND AMAZING TIMING IN THE CHALLENGE.

PAOLO MALDINI.

THE MILAN AND ITALY LEGEND. WOULD WALK INTO ANY TEAM. EVER.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS.

THE ORIGINAL DMC. JUVE AND FRANCE LEGEND.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

THE ARTIST AND THE CONDUCTOR. FRANCE AND JUVE LEGEND. #GOAT

RUUD GULLIT.

DUTCH LEGEND. MILAN LEGEND. WON EVERYTHING. CLASS PLAYER.

GIANFRANCO ZOLA.

UNDERRATED IN ITALY. USUALLY IN BAGGIOS SHADOW, BUT TECHNICALLY AS GOOD AS ANYONE IN THE WORLD.

DEJAN SAVICEVIC.

OUR FAVOURITE PLAYER. ONE OF THE MOST SKILFUL PLAYERS EVER. GREAT LEFT FOOT. MILAN LEGEND. YUGOSLAVIA LEGEND.

CHRISTIAN VIERI.

AT HIS PEAK WAS UNPLAYABLE. LEFT FOOT LIKE A WAND. TOP SCORER WHEREVER HE WENT.

IKER CASILLAS.

THE GREATEST GOALKEEPER OF A GENERATION, AND PROBABLY OF ALL TIME, IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT IKER CASILLAS WON THE LOT. I REMEMBER SEEING HIS REACTION STOPS IN HIS PRIME AND WONDERING WHAT KIND OF INSANE TRAINING A MAN HAD TO DO TO GET THEIR REFLEXES TO RESEMBLE LIGHTNING - CASILLAS WON GAMES BY HIMSELF. WHAT STANDS OUT IN HIS EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TROPHIES THOUGH, IS HIS TEMPERAMENT - HE’S WON AN ABSURD AMOUNT OF FAIR PLAY AWARDS, AND ALWAYS BEEN A PERFECT GENTLEMAN, IN VICTORY AND DEFEAT. THE MEASURE OF THE MAN PERHAPS STANDS TO ATTENTION MOST IN HIS REACTION TO THOSE STORMY MOURINHO-GUARDIOLA CLASICO YEARS, WHERE HE WAS THE FIRST TO APOLOGISE, DEFY HIS MANAGER AND HEAL THE RIFT BETWEEN THE SPANISH PLAYERS OF MADRID AND BARCA, PUTTING HIS CLUB CAREER ON THE LINE FOR WHAT HE BELIEVED WAS RIGHT. IT’S THAT TEMPERAMENT THAT CATAPULTS HIM FAR BEYOND HIS CONTEMPORARY, GIGI BUFFON, FOR ME. A TRUE GENIUS BETWEEN THE STICKS, A TRUE GENTLEMAN OF THE GAME.

STEVE FINNAN.

ONE STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART HERE, BUT I WATCHED STEVE FINNAN COME THROUGH THE RANKS AT FULHAM ON A WEEKLY BASIS AS THE CLUB ASCENDED TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE, AND IN ALL HIS 187 APPEARANCES IN WHITE, I CAN’T REMEMBER ANYONE EVER REALLY GETTING THE BETTER OF HIM ONE ON ONE. A WONDERFUL PROFESSIONAL, FINNAN’S BOMBING UP AND DOWN THE CHANNEL WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE A VERY YOUNG BOY WANT TO BE A RIGHT BACK, WHICH IS NO MEAN FEAT IN ITSELF. THE FACT THAT HE PLAYED AND SCORED IN EVERY ONE OF THE TOP FIVE DIVISIONS OF ENGLISH FOOTBALL IS TESTAMENT TO HIS SELF-BELIEF, HIS WORK ETHIC AND HIS DETERMINATION; AND HIS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MEDAL IS SOMETHING NO-ONE CAN TAKE AWAY. POTENTIALLY THE MOST UNDERRATED RIGHT BACK IN PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY - FINNAN WAS A CLASS APART IN HIS PRIME.

GERARD PIQUE AND CARLES PUYOL.

THE ODD COUPLE THAT DANCED LIKE NO-ONE BEFORE THEM, I THOUGHT LONG AND HARD ABOUT WHICH ONE OF THESE TWO I WAS GOING TO PICK BEFORE DECIDING THAT IT WOULDN’T BE RIGHT TO INCLUDE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. THE CATALAN ROCK ON WHICH PEP GUARDIOLA BUILT HIS ALL-CONQUERING CHURCH OF FOOTBALL, THE TWO OF THEM REDEFINED WHAT IT MEANT TO DEFEND. THEIR COMPATIBILITY ON THE PITCH, THE SAGE OLD PUYOL MENTORING THE EXUBERANT TALENT OF PIQUE AND TURNING HIM INTO THE DEFENDER HE IS TODAY, WAS ONE THING; BUT THEIR ABILITY TO PASS OUT FROM THE BACK, TO SPLIT WIDE TO ALLOW BUSQUETS TO DROP AND OVERLOADS TO BE CREATED DOWN THE FLANKS AND THEIR UNERRING CONFIDENCE IN PLAYING GUARDIOLA’S POSITIONAL PASSING FOOTBALL WERE WHAT MADE THEM STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD. PEOPLE OFTEN TALK, AND RIGHTLY SO, OF THE ATTACKING PROWESS OF GUARDIOLA’S BARCA, BUT THEIR DEFENSIVE RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF - CONCEDING FEWER THAN ANY OTHER DOMESTIC SIDE DURING HIS TENURE AS MANAGER. WITH THESE TWO THOUGH, IT WAS MORE THAN THAT. THEIR PASSION, THEIR LOVE OF THE BLAUGRANA AND OF CATALONIA - PIQUE DOING THE ‘MANITA’ AND PUYOL TEARING OFF HIS CATALAN FLAG ARMBAND TO KISS IT AT THE BERNABEU - WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY CARRYING THAT FORWARD FOR THEIR COUNTRY AND WINNING ON THE BIGGEST STAGES OF ALL, SEEMED TO SUGGEST THAT THERE COULD BE A HARMONY BETWEEN NATIONAL AND REGIONAL PRIDE IN AN ERA WHERE TENSIONS BEGAN TO FRAY. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT CENTRE-HALF PAIRING IN MY LIVING MEMORY, FORMING THE BACKBONE OF THIS GREATEST XI.

PHILIPP LAHM.

IT DOES FEEL A BIT LIKE CHEATING TO SHOEHORN PHILIPP LAHM IN AT LEFT BACK BUT HE DID PLAY EXTENSIVELY HERE IN HIS LOAN SPELL AT FRANKFURT AND IN HIS FIRST THREE SEASONS BACK AT BAYERN, SO IN HE GOES. ONCE DESCRIBED BY PEP GUARDIOLA AS ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT PLAYERS HE’S EVER COACHED, IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE FORMER GERMAN INTERNATIONAL WON SUCH A STRONG PLACE IN THE CATALONIAN’S HEART. ADAPTABLE, DRIVEN AND COMFORTABLE IN A HOST OF POSITIONS, AS WELL AS BEING A MODEL CAPTAIN WHO LED HIS SIDE TO WORLD CUP GLORY, HIS STYLE AND LEADERSHIP HELPED TRANSITION BAYERN INTO THE PEP YEARS, BUILDING A FOOTBALLING IDENTITY THAT FUSED THE BARCA DNA WITH THE VERTICAL NATURE OF THE GERMAN GAME. LAHM’S INFLUENCE ON THAT SIDE CANNOT BE UNDERSTATED, AND PEP’S COMMENTS WHEN THE GERMAN RETIRED WERE A SHINING LIGHT INTO THE RESPECT HE HAS FOR LAHM’S ABILITY AND PERSONALITY. ONE OF THE FIRST GREAT MODERN FULL-BACKS, LAHM’S LEGACY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW.

XABI ALONSO.

A GORGEOUS FOOTBALLER, IN PRETTY MUCH EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD, AND ONE OF THE TRUE GREAT MAESTROS OF THE MODERN ERA. THE FIRST THING I RECALL ABOUT WATCHING XABI WAS THAT HE ALWAYS SEEMED TO HAVE MORE TIME ON THE BALL THAN ANYONE ELSE. WHILST THE PREMIER LEAGUE RUSHED ON AT 100 MILES AN HOUR, ALONSO SEEMED TO HAVE THIS ‘BERNARD’S WATCH’-ESQUE QUALITY TO STOP THE BALL, GET HIS HEAD UP, AND PICK THE PERFECT PASS, AND HE WOULD DO IT TIME AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN. FOR SOCIEDAD, FOR LIVERPOOL, FOR REAL, FOR BAYERN, FOR SPAIN - IT DIDN’T MATTER IF IT WAS A WORLD CUP FINAL OR A PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY, XABI WAS STROLLING AROUND PLAYING INCH-PERFECT PASSES FROM THE BOTTOM OF MIDFIELD. HE PLAYED UNDER PEP, UNDER MOURINHO, ANCELOTTI, BENITEZ, DEL BOSQUE AND PELLEGRINI - A ROLL CALL OF MANY OF THE GREATEST COACHES IN THE GAME - AND SUCCEEDED UNDER ALL OF THEM, WHICH SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT HIS VERSATILITY AND HIS NATURAL TALENT. THAT ‘PAUSA’ THOUGH. SUBLIME.

PABLO AIMAR.

THE ORIGINAL EL MAGO, MESSI’S INSPIRATION, AND MAYBE THE FIRST PLAYER I REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH OUTSIDE OF MY OWN CLUB, PABLO AIMAR SEEMED LIKE AN ANGEL SENT FROM HEAVEN WHEN HE GLIDED INTO THAT MAGNIFICENT VALENCIA TEAM OF THE EARLY NOUGHTIES AND DRIFTED AROUND THE PITCH DROPPING SHOULDERS, SENDING OPPONENTS INTO ORBIT AND THREADING PERFECT BALLS INTO THE PLAYERS AROUND HIM. MARADONA CLAIMED HE WAS ‘THE ONLY PLAYER I WOULD PAY TO WATCH’ AND YOU CAN SEE WHY - HE WAS ELECTRIC, A DIMINUTIVE SHADOW PLAGUING DEFENDERS WITH A MIXTURE OF TRICKERY AND GUILE, LIGHTING UP GAMES AND FOR A SHORT TIME, PUSHING VALENCIA’S CLAIM TO BE ONE OF THE GREAT EUROPEAN POWERHOUSES, BACKED UP BY THEIR DOUBLE IN 2003/4. BUT MOSTLY, HE WAS JUST MAGIC.

FRANCESCO TOTTI.

I THINK FRANCESCO TOTTI MIGHT HAVE HAD THE MOST PERFECT CAREER THAT YOU CAN EVER ASK FOR AS A FOOTBALLER. HE BLEEDS ROMA, AND DEFINED A GENERATION IN HIS CLUB, REFUSING COURTSHIPS FROM THE LARGEST CLUBS ON THE PLANET TO LEAD HIS BOYHOOD TEAM TO DOMESTIC GLORIES. EVEN LAZIO ULTRAS HELD UP A BANNER TO HONOUR HIM FROM ‘LIFETIME ENEMIES’ WHEN HE RETIRED. THE EIGHTH KING OF ROME AND HIS REIGN WAS ONE OF MAGNIFICENT SCREAMERS, FLICKED PASSES, ABSURD FINISHES AND ALL WHILST JUST LOOKING LIKE HE’D STEPPED OUT OF A DIOR AFTERSHAVE ADVERT. OOZED CLASS. BAMBOOZLED DEFENDERS. WHAT A MAN. HAIL THE LAST EMPEROR OF ROME.

JOAQUIN.

HOMETOWN HEROES BECOMING A BIT OF A THEME HERE BUT JOAQUIN IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. FLEET OF FOOT AND WITH PERHAPS THE BEST CROSSING ABILITY I’VE EVER SEEN, THE NATIVE ANDALUSIAN TOOK HIS BELOVED BETIS TO A COPA DEL REY TITLE AND THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGES BEFORE DEPARTING FOR VALENCIA, AS PART OF A TEAM THAT FEATURED DAVID SILVA, DAVID VILLA AND JUAN MATA; HELPING NURTURE A NEW GENERATION OF SPANISH PLAYMAKERS WHILST STILL WHIPPING IN ASSIST AFTER ASSIST. HIS RETURN TO, BUY IN AND CONTINUED PERFORMANCE AT BETIS HAVE MADE HIM ONE OF THE MOST ENDEARED BETICOS EVER, BUT IT WAS THE WHIP ON THAT RIGHT BOOT THAT DREW ME TO A YOUNG JOAQUIN, AND STILL DRAWS ME TODAY - SCORING DIRECT FROM A CORNER IN THIS SEASON’S COPA SEMI-FINAL AGAINST VALENCIA PROVING HE’S STILL RIGHT ON THE MONEY. OH, AND HE HYPNOTISES HENS! WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?

HENRIK LARSSON.

THE KING OF GLASGOW, THE KING OF KINGS. GROWING UP IN AN IRISH HOUSEHOLD, CELTIC WERE NEVER FAR FROM THE CONVERSATION, AND AS I WAS GROWING UP, CELTIC WERE POWERED BY A BRAIDED, SWEDISH HERO WHO FOUNDED MY ETERNAL LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE NO.7 SHIRT AND SCORED GOAL AFTER GOAL AFTER GOAL. IN AN ERA WHERE THE OLD FIRM WAS COMPETITIVE AND THE BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY BETWEEN CELTIC AND RANGERS WAS IN ITS POMP, LARSSON WAS THE SHARPEST WEAPON IN THE BOX, AND HIS PROWESS FUELLED CELTIC’S RUN TO THE UEFA CUP FINAL IN 2003 AS HE TERRORISED DEFENCES ALL OVER EUROPE. HE DEFIED THE ODDS AND STAYED AT CELTIC WELL THROUGH HIS PRIME YEARS, BEFORE FINALLY SUCCUMBING TO THE TEMPTATION AND JOINING BARCELONA AS A SWANSONG. PLAYING IN A TEAM ALONGSIDE RONALDINHO (WHO CALLED LARSSON HIS IDOL), HENRY (WHO SAID LARSSON WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT PLAYERS HE’D EVER PLAYED ALONGSIDE) AND MESSI (MORE ON HIM LATER), HE WON THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH HIS LAST GAME IN A BARCELONA SHIRT WHERE HE CHANGED THE GAME. OF COURSE HE DID. THE PERFECT STRIKER, IN SO MANY WAYS. GET HIM THROUGH THE MIDDLE.

LIONEL MESSI.

WHAT CAN I SAY THAT HASN’T BEEN SAID? THE GREATEST PLAYER TO EVER SET FOOT ON THIS EARTH, LIQUID MOTION, ELECTRICITY MADE FLESH WITH A BALL AT HIS FEET. ON SONG, HE LIGHTS UP ENTIRE STADIUMS, ENTIRE TOURNAMENTS, AS IF DEFYING GRAVITY ITSELF. HE DOES THINGS WITH A BALL AT HIS FEET THAT I DIDN’T THINK WERE POSSIBLE, HE MOVES DIFFERENTLY TO ANYONE I’VE EVER SEEN. FOOTBALL IS AN ART FORM, AND NO ONE WILL EVER CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE, AND MESSI IS A LIVING EMBODIMENT OF THAT. WE LIVE FOR EDGE OF THE SEAT MOMENTS, FOR THINGS THAT MAKE YOU STAND UP AND APPLAUD, THOSE THINGS THAT MAKE LIFE STAND STILL FOR A SECOND AND HE IS THE MASTER - THOSE BODY FEINTS, 30 YARD FREE-KICKS IN THE POSTAGE STAMP, THE CHIPS, THE AUDACITY. I FELL IN LOVE WITH FOOTBALL A LONG TIME AGO, UNTIL THIS LONG HAIRED KID FROM ROSARIO REDEFINED THE PARAMETERS OF WHAT MADE THE GAME GREAT, AND HE MAKES ME FALL IN LOVE WITH THE GAME TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

OLIVER KAHN.

DER TITAN. VOL-KAHN-O… EVEN OLIVER KAHN’S NICKNAMES ARE GREAT. AS A KID I PLAYED IN GOAL (UNTIL I REALISED, I WASN’T THAT GOOD) AND HE WAS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY. THE PASSION, THE REFLEXES, THE RUSHING AT OPPONENTS. HE HAD EVERYTHING.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

AT RIGHT-BACK I HAVE THE PERFECT PROFESSIONAL, THE PERFECT ROLE MODEL, THE PERFECT HAIR. JAVIER ZANETTI IS ONE OF THE FEW PLAYERS TO PLAY OVER 1000 CAREER GAMES, HE WAS ARGENTINA’S ALL-TIME TOP APPEARANCE MAKER UNTIL 2018, DESPITE BEING (RIDICULOUSLY) LEFT AT HOME FOR THE 2006 AND 2010 WORLD CUPS. FOR ME THOUGH, THE 2010 TREBLE SEASON WITH INTER WAS THE PEAK. LEADING THAT TEAM ALONGSIDE COMPATRIOTS ESTEBAN CAMBIASSO AND DIEGO MILITO TO THE PINNACLE OF EUROPEAN FOOTBALL WAS ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE MOMENTS.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

EVER SEEN ALESSANDRO NESTA’S TACKLE ON LIONEL MESSI? HE WAS 36 YEARS OLD AND IT SUMMED HIM UP. ELEGANCE AND TIMING LIKE (ALMOST) NO OTHER.

Nesta vs Messi.

JOHN TERRY.

IN A TEAM FULL OF INTERNATIONAL AND CLUB CAPTAINS, JOHN TERRY IS STILL MY FIRST CHOICE. I’M A CHELSEA FAN, AND HE LED THE TEAM AS CAPTAIN (FROM THE AGE OF 23) THROUGH MORE SUCCESS THAN ANY FAN COULD DREAM OF. FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TITLES, FOUR FA CUPS, THREE LEAGUE CUPS, ONE EUROPA LEAGUE AND ONE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. ASK ANY PLAYER FROM THE ACADEMY ABOUT JT AND IT’S ALWAYS GLOWING. ASK ARJEN ROBBEN - WHO ALSO PLAYED WITH RAUL, LAHM, RAMOS, VAN BOMMEL AND MORE - ABOUT THE BEST LEADER HE PLAYED WITH AND IT’S JT. HE HELPED EVERYONE BE BETTER. THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS WORK BOTH ON AND OFF THE FIELD IS SECOND TO NONE.

PAOLO MALDINI.

THERE’S NOTHING I CAN SAY THAT HASN’T BEEN SAID A MILLION TIMES. THE BEST DEFENDER I’VE EVER SEEN. EASILY THE BEST TACKLER. BRILLIANT CAPTAIN, BRILLIANT CAREER, BRILLIANT LEGACY.🐐

MICHAEL BALLACK.

I’VE WATCHED MY DVD OF THE 2002 WORLD CUP A HUNDRED TIMES. I LOVED ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT TOURNAMENT, AND MICHAEL BALLACK CARRYING HIS GERMANY SIDE THROUGH THE COMPETITION WAS ONE OF THE GREAT STORIES. IN THE SEMI-FINAL GERMANY FACED A SOUTH KOREAN SIDE WHO PEOPLE THOUGHT HAD CHEATED THEIR WAY THROUGH THE ENTIRE COMPLETION, IN THE 71ST MINUTE HE WAS BOOKED AND SUSPENDED FROM THE FINAL. FOUR MINUTES LATER HE SCORED THE GOAL WHICH TOOK HIS COUNTRY THERE. ONE OF THE BEST MIDFIELDERS OF THE MODERN ERA, HE COULD REALLY DO EVERYTHING. WHEN CHELSEA SIGNED HIM FOUR YEARS LATER IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.

GUTI.

SINCE MY GOALKEEPER DAYS I’VE ALWAYS PLAYED IN CENTRAL MIDFIELD AND ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS PLAY LIKE GUTI. HE PLAYED PASSES NO ONE ELSE COULD DREAM OF. THE BACK HEELS, THE SCOOPS, THE IMAGINATION…HE WAS PURE MAGIC AND PROBABLY MY FAVOURITE FOOTBALLER EVER.✨

FRANK LAMPARD.

HOW MUCH WOULD FRANK LAMPARD COST IN 2019? A GUARANTEE OF 20 GOALS A SEASON FROM MIDFIELD. PLENTY OF ASSISTS ( 4 THE HIGHEST IN PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY). MR CONSISTENCY. NEVER INJURED. OH AND HE CAN RUN A MIDFIELD AND DEFEND TOO. IT’D HAVE TO BE WELL OVER 100M. INCREDIBLE PLAYER AND THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHERE HARD WORK CAN GET YOU.

KAKA.

ELEGANCE, SPEED, STRENGTH AND PERFECT CONTROL. HIS LEGACY IS GREAT, BUT YOU HAVE TO WONDER HOW GREATER IT WOULD BE IF NOT FOR INJURIES AND OTHER ISSUES AT REAL MADRID. ONE OF THE GREATS OF THE MODERN ERA, AND ALWAYS DOING IT WITH A TOUCH OF CLASS.

MIROSLAV KLOSE.

GERMANY IN 2002 WEREN’T ALL ABOUT MICHAEL BALLACK. THERE WAS MIROSLAV KLOSE TOO, BURSTING ONTO THE SCENES AS A 23-YEAR-OLD SCORING HEADERS AND DOING FRONT FLIPS, GOING ON TO BECOME THE HIGHEST GOALSCORER IN WORLD CUP HISTORY. WATCHING HIM SCORE MORE AND MORE EVERY FOUR YEARS WAS ONE OF THE BEST STORIES OF EACH WORLD CUP. I LOVE A FORWARD WHO CAN LINK PLAY, DROP DEEP OR PHYSICALLY DOMINATE A DEFENCE. BUT THERE’S SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT A PURE GOALSCORER TOO.

DIDIER DROGBA.

AS MY FINAL STRIKER I FIRST HAD DIEGO MILITO, THEN ALAN SHEARER, BUT I COULDN’T FINISH THIS WITHOUT DIDIER DROGBA. HONESTLY, IT’S PARTLY FOR HIM AS A FOOTBALLER: ULTIMATE BIG-GAME PLAYER, LEADER OF MEN, DOMINANT STRIKER. BUT REALLY I LOVE DROGBA BECAUSE OF THE PERSON. IN 2006 HE MADE A SPEECH TO HIS COUNTRY, LEADING TO A CEASEFIRE AFTER 5 YEARS OF CIVIL WAR IN THE IVORY COAST. HE BUILT A HOSPITAL, A SCHOOL, AND PAID FOR AND CAMPAIGNED FOR SO MANY OTHER CAUSES. DIDIER DROGBA IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A FOOTBALLER.

JORGE CAMPOS.

HE WAS THE FIRST GOALKEEPER I SAW THAT LEFT THE AREA LIKE ANOTHER PLAYER. UNFORTUNATELY, HE PLAYED VERY LITTLE AS FORWARD. EVEN THOUGH HE SCORED A FEW GOALS. BRILLIANT TALENT!

CAFU.

ONE OF THE BEST LEFT BACKS WITH THE SKILL OF DEFENDING AND FORWARD THAT I SAW. THE COUPLE OF WORLD CUP HE WON WERE TOTALLY DESERVED.

CARLOS GAMARRA.

PARAGUAYAN DEFENDER WHO PLAYED IN BRAZIL, ARGENTINA, SPAIN AND ITALY WITH SUCCESS. I AM SURE YOU ALL REMEMBER HIS GAME AGAINST FRANCE IN THE 98 WORLD CUP.

RAFAEL MARQUEZ.

SINCE HE WAS A YOUNG PLAYER HIS MENTALITY WAS AWESOME. HE WON EVERYTHING WITH BARCELONA. GREAT DEFENDER.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

WE ALL SAW HIS GREAT POWER SCORING GREAT GOALS NOT ONLY BY FREE KICKS.

MARCO ETCHEVERRY.

UNDERRATED PLAYER. I ONLY REMEMBER WATCHING HIM DRIBBLING WITH GREAT TECHNIQUE. UNFORTUNATELY, I CAN'T FIND MORE VIDEOS FROM HIM.

JUAN ROMAN RIQUELME.

SINCE HIS DEBUT YOU COULD SEE HE WAS JUST A DIFFERENT PLAYER. HE ACHIEVED EVERYTHING WITH BOCA JUNIORS.

ALEX AGUINAGA.

FOR ME HE IS THE BEST ECUADORIAN PLAYER OF ALL TIME. I WATCHED HIM SCORING GREAT GOALS WITH HIS CLUB NECAXA AND HELPING THEM TO WIN A COUPLE OF MEXICAN LIGAS.

ENZO FRANCESCOLI.

ANOTHER TALENT WHO WON ALL WITH HIS CLUB RIVER PLATE. HE HAD A GREAT TECHNIQUE AND HE POSSESSED GREAT ELEGANCE.

ROMARIO.

HE SEEMED TO PLAY WITH ARROGANCE AND HE WAS THE BEST IN THE WORLD IN THE SMALL AREA. DEFINITELY ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS THAT I HAVE SEEN. VERY UNDERRATED PLAYER.

RONALDO.

THE FIRST TIME I SAW HIM I WAS SHOCKED BECAUSE OF HIS MAGNIFICENT TECHNIQUE, DRIBBLING, POWER AND SPEED ABILITY. HIS INJURIES DEPRIVED US OF SEEING THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

THE NICEST GUY IN FOOTBALL AND A WORLD CLASS KEEPER. THE ONLY WAY TO START, WITH ABIT OF STYLE.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

THOSE FREE KICKS AND THIGHS, NEXT!

CAFU.

HE CHANGED THE POSITION OF RIGHT BACK. FROM MINUTE ONE TO NINETY HE WAS FLYING UP AND DOWN THE WING.

PAOLO MALDINI.

WHAT A LEADER' HE MADE BEING A DEFENDER COOL. CLASS BARNET.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

WHY HAVE JUST ONE TOP ITALIAN DEFENDER WHEN YOU CAN HAVE TWO! PART OF ONE OF MY FAVOURITE EVER TEAMS, THE NINETIES PARMA TEAM. IF YOU SOMEHOW GET PAST MALDINI' YOU WONT BE GETTING PAST FABIO NEXT!

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

THE COMPLETE MIDFIELDER. HE SEEMED IN TOTAL CONTROL AT ALL TIMES AND NEVER SEEMED TO EVER LOSE THE BALL!

IF YOU CAN THROW UP JUST BEFORE TAKING A PENALTY AND STILL SCORE YOU KNOW YOUR DECENT!

RONALDINHO.

A MAGICIAN ON THE BALL. EVERYTIME I WATCHED HIM PLAY I WENT OHHHH! ALL GAME. AND STILL DO NOW REWATCHING HIM PLAY. I SPENT ALOT OF MY TEENAGE YEARS TRYING TO WORKOUT HIS TRICKS!

XAVI.

THE HEARTBEAT FROM THE GREATEST EVER CLUB AND INTERNATIONAL TEAMS I HAVE SEEN. A TIKI TAKA GOD.

THAT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

THIERRY HENRY.

I USED TO GO OUT OF MY WAY TO WATCH ARSENAL JUST FOR HENRY. UNSTOPPABLE AT TIMES' JUST ASK JAMIE CARRAGHER AND THE SPURS DEFENCE. I COULD WATCH HENRY OPENING UP TO CURL ONE IN THE TOP CORNER ALL DAY.

RONALDO.

THE BRAZILIAN ONE. ELECTRIC PACE AND THE MOST CLINICAL FINISHER. REMEMBER THAT AMAZING MOMENT WHEN UNTIED FANS WERE CHANTING 'FERGIE SIGN HIM UP' AFTER HE HAD JUST SCORED A HAT TRICK!

LIONEL MESSI.

THE GREATEST.

IS THERE A GREATER SITE IN FOOTBALL THAN MESSI RUNNING WITH THE BALL?

JENS LEHMANN.

HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE VOCAL/BATSHIT CRAZY BETWEEN THE STICKS.

NELSON VIVAS.

CULT HERO RIGHT BACK.

GARETH MCAULEY.

NORTHERN IRELAND LEGEND EURO 2016

KOLO TOURE.

KOLO KOLO KOLO KOLO KOLO KOLO KOLO TOURE.

MATHIEU FLAMINI.

WHEN ARSENAL GOT TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN 2006 FLAMINI PLAYED MULTIPLE GAMES AT LEFT BACK AND EXCELLED. PLUS ITS MY TEAM SO SHUT UP!

KEITH GILLESPIE.

GETS PEOPLE OFF THEIR SEATS, GETS A ROUND IN, MY MINI LEAGUE RIVAL FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL...... ALL GOOD!

ROY KEANE.

WITH THIS TEAM NEEDING TIME TO GEL I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUNNY TO PUT ROY IN SIMPLY TO WATCH AS HE GETS INCREASINGLY PISSED OFF WITH THE TOURE SONG IN TRAINING.

YAYA TOURE.

YAYA YAYA YAYA YAYA YAYA YAYA YAYA TOURE.

KENNEDY BAKIRCIOGLU.

IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW.

NICKLAS BENDTNER.

UNDER APPRECIATED IN HIS TIME AND GREATEST STRIKER OF A GENERATION.

THOMAS STEWART.

THE DENNIS BERGKAMP OF MY HOMETOWN CLUB LARNE FC.

EDWIN VAN DER SAR.

THE WALL.

MARCOS ALONSO.

GOALONSO.

ROBERT HUTH.

SOLID DEFENDING AND GOALS TO BOOT.

LEIGHTON BAINES.

GOALS,ASSITS AND CLEAN SHEETS.

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

MR CONSISTENT.

FRANK LAMPARD AND STEVEN GERRARD'

CAN PLAY TOGETHER!

GARETH BALE.

SPEED MERCHANT WITH A FINISH.

LUIS SUAREZ'

HAD REAL BITE.

SERGIO AGUERO.

94TH MINUTE. AGUEROOOOO

ROBIN VAN PERSIE.

DUTCH DYNAMITE.

FABIEN BARTHEZ.

MY GO TO GOALKEEPER IN MY EARLY FANTASY CAREER, BACK IN THE NEWSPAPER DAYS IN 2000.

GARY NEVILLE.

A POPULAR FOOTBALL STICKER CHOICE FROM MY CHILDHOOD' ENGLAND AND UNITED'S BEST EVER RIGHT BACK.

TONY ADAMS.

GAVE EVERYTHING FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY IN THE 90S, HAD HIM IN MY SAINSBURY'S FIFA 98 ENGLAND COLLECTIBLE COINS.

HARRY MAGUIRE.

THE STANDOUT PLAYER IN A RELEGATED HULL CITY SQUAD, WHEN I HAD A SEASON TICKET IN THE 16/17 SEASON.

MARCOS ALONSO.

THE BEST ATTACKING FULL BACK IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE, ACROSS THE SEASONS IVE BEEN PLAYING FPL.

DAVID BECKHAM.

MY FIRST FOOTBALLING LOVE, FROM THE GUTTER OF FIFA 98 TO THE HIGHS OF ENGLAND CAPTAIN INTO THE 00'S

MOHAMED SALAH.

AN FPL LEGEND AFTER JUST ONE SEASON, ACCUMULATING THE HIGHEST POINTS TOTAL IN FPL HISTORY.

PAUL GASCOIGNE.

THE MYTH AND LEGEND OF MY CHILDHOOD. PROVIDING THE GOALS IN THE FIRST ENGLAND TOURNAMENT I REMEMBER, EURO 96.

CRISTIANO RONALDO.

THE DEBATE RAGES ON OF GOAT STATUS, BUT IT'S THE YOUNG RONALDO WHO'S ALWAYS BEEN IN MY HEART.

SERGIO AGUERO.

MY FAVOURITE PLAYER FROM AN FPL PERSPECTIVE, HE'S HAD MY CAPTAIN ARMBAND MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE AND PROVIDED THE MOST EXPLOSIVE FINISH TO A PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON EVER.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER.

THE BEST EVER SUPER SUB, I ALSO REPRESENTED HIM IN CHILDHOOD GAMES, AS OLE SOUNDS QUITE LIKE HOLLY.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON.

AS A FORMER GOALKEEPER MYSELF, I GREW UP WATCHING BUFFON. HE IS MY IDOL, ASWELL AS A BEAUTIFUL MAN!

CAFU.

ONE OF THE FIRST ATTACKING FULLBACKS I REMEMBER. HE WAS AS GOOD GOING FORWARD AS HE WAS DEFENDING.

PAOLO MALDINI.

COOLNESS PERSONIFIED!

LEDLEY KING.

IF IT WASN'T FOR HIS INJURYS LEDLEY COULD HAVE PLAYED FOR ANY CLUB IN THE WORLD. A DEFENDER THAT LOVED TO DEFEND.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

POWER, PACE AND WHEN HE HIT A BALL IT STAYED HIT!

GLENN HODDLE.

A FOOTBALL GENUIS! HE WAS SO FAR AHEAD OF HIS TIME. HAD THE TOUCH AND VISION OF A GOD!

FRANK LAMPARD'

ALWAYS SEEMED TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. HIS PERFECTLY TIMED RUNS INTO THE OPPOSITION BOX, GOT HIM SO MANY GOALS.

PAUL GASCOIGNE.

AS A SPURS FAN HOW COULD I NOT PUT GAZZA IN MY TEAM. HIS UNPREDICABILITY MADE HIM UNPLAYABLE. OH AND THAT FREEKICK AGAINST ARSENAL IN THE FA CUP SEMI FINAL!

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

I LOVED BATISTUTA'S 'SHOOT ON SIGHT' POLICY! GIVE HIM HALF A YARD AND HE WOULD SHOOT KNOW MATTER WHERE HE WAS ON THE PITCH.

RONALDO.

POWER, PACE AND COULD FINISH!

LIONEL MESSI.

FOR ME THE GREATEST FOOTBALLER IN MY LIFETIME. HE'S GOT EVERYTHING!

IKER CASILLAS.

SERIAL WINNER.

VINCENT KOMPANY.

GREAT PLAYER, GREAT GUY.

RIO FERDINAND.

THE VERY BEST.

SERGIO RAMOS.

WILL WIN AT ALL COSTS.

DAVID BECKHAM.

ICON OF THE GAME.

XABI ALONSO.

PURE CLASS.

STEVEN GERRARD.

MY FAVOURITE EVER PLAYER.

DAVID SILVA.

THE ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER.

THIERRY HENRY.

EXPLOSIVE AND DEADLY.

FERNANDO TORRES.

LIVED THE DREAM.

RONALDINHO.

UNTOUCHABLE MAGICIAN.

PETER SCHMEICHEL.

IVE NEVER, BEFORE OR SINCE, SEEN A KEEPER WHO I FELT SO CERTAIN WAS A FAVOURITE IN ONE ON ONE SITUATIONS. THE GREAT DANE WAS CERTAINLY THAT AND HIS COMMAND OF THE DEFENCE WITH THAT FAMOUS BARK MADE HIM A MUST HAVE BETWEEN THE STICKS.

PAOLO MALDINI.

QUITE SIMPLY, MALDINI IS THE MOST NATURALLY GIFTED DEFENDER I HAVE EVER SEEN. HE COULD TACKLE MORE CLEANLY THAN ANY OTHER FOOTBALLER IN HISTORY AND HAD THE BALL DISTRIBUTION SKILLS TO ENSURE HE COULD DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE EVERYTIME HE WON BACK POSSESSION.

FRANCO BARESI.

BARESI WAS THE BEATING HEART OF THE 1980S MILAN DEFENCE AND AS SUCH, OF THE TEAM. HE CARRIED ON THE TRADITION OF GREAT ITALIAN DEFENCE WITH A CONTRADICTORY MIX OF GRACE AND BITE AND THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE FOR THE CENTREOF MY DEFENCE.

TOMMY GEMMELL.

PERHAPS NOT WELL KNOWN TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT WELL VERSED IN SCOTTISH FOOTBALL HISTORY, TOMMY GEMMELL WAS THE ULTIMATE FULL BACK. THE ROBERTO CARLOS OR CAFU OF HIS DAY, HE WAS ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE AS MUCH IN ATTACK AS IN DEFENCE. MODERN FULL BACKS OFTEN DRIVE THE SWITCH IN PLAY FROM DEFENCE TO ATTACK. TOMMY WAS DOING IT 50 YEARS BEFORE IT WAS EVEN A CONCEPT.

JOHAN CRUYFF.

HE'S OFTEN DESCRIBED AS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL INDIVIDUAL IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL AND IT'S EASY TO SEE WHY. CRUYFFPOSSESSED DAZZLING SKILL AND WAS THE LYNCH PIN OF THE GREAT AJAX, BARCELONA AND NETHERLANDS TEAMS OF THE 1970S AND 80S. HIS IMPACT WAS NO LESS FELT AFTER HIS PLAYING DAYS, WHERE HE CONTINUED TO EVOLVE THE TOTAL FOOTBALL PHILOSOPHY.

ANDRES INIESTA.

HE'S PERHAPS THE LEAST 'FLASHY' PLAYER IN THIS TEAM BUT HE'S NO LESS IMPORTANT. INIESTA HAS EVERYTHING REQUIRED OF A MODERN FOOTBALLER. HE HAS UNRIVALLED VISION ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD, ONE WHICH MADE HIM A PIVOTAL PART OF THE TIKI TAKA FOOTBALL OF THE GREAT BARCELONA SIDE OF THE LATE NOUGHTIES AND EARLY 2010S.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

I DON'T THINK THERE IS A MORE GRACEFUL PLAYER IN THIS 11. ZIZOU HAD AN ALMOST BALLETIC POISE WHEN CONTROLLING ANDRUNNING WITH THE BALL, AS WELL AS THE BEST FIRST TOUCH OF ANY PLAYER I'VE EVER WITNESSED.

JIMMY JOHNSTONE.

LITTLE JINKY WAS INCREDIBLE. PLAYERS ARE OFTEN DESCRIBED AS APPEARING TO HAVE THE BALL GLUED TO THEIR FEET AND THIS WAS NO MORE SO THE CASE THAN WITH JOHNSTONE. HE WAS A TEAMMATE OF GEMMELL IN THE EUROPEAN CUP WINNING TEAM OF THE 1960S.

RONALDO.

RONALDO WAS PERHAPS THE MOST COMPLETE STRIKER I HAVE EVER SEEN. PACE, POWER AND UNRIVALLED FINISHING ABILITY MEANT THAT SCORING CAME EASY TO HIM AT A STRING OF TOP EUROPEAN CUPS. WHEN MOST OF THE WORLD AGREES HIS STATUS AS THE GREATEST NUMBER 9 IN BRAZIL'S HISTORY, IT'S A GIVEN THAT MAKES HIM ONE OF THE GREATEST NUMBER 9S IN HISTORY.

LIONEL MESSI.

I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE THE ABILITY TO WATCH MESSI'S ENTIRE PLAYING CAREER AS A PRIVILEGE. IT'S NOT OFTEN YOU FEEL LUCKY TO BE ALIVE TO WITNESS THE GREATNESS FOOTBALLER PLAYING IN FRONT OF YOU, IN THE CASE OF MESSI, THAT'S UNDOUBTEDLY THE CASE FOR ME. I'LL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO SAY I SAW MESSI PLAY. AND THAT IS NOTHING SHORT OF AN HONOUR.

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

MY FINAL PLACE WAS RESERVED FOR THE ONE PLAYER WHO MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH FOOTBALL IN THE FIRST PLACE. I ABSOLUTELY COULD NAME OTHER PLAYERS WITH MORE ABILITY OR TALENT, BUT FEW OF THEM MADE ME FEEL ABOUT FOOTBALL THE WAY BATIGOL DID. HE WAS THE ULTIMATE STRIKER. LIKE A SUPERHERO OR SOMETHING OUT OF A VIDEO GAME, HE SEEMED ABLE TO BLAST THE BALL IN FROM ANYWHERE.

BERNARD LAMA.

LARMA WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTRIGUING GOALKEEPERS IVE EVER SEEN. WITH CAT-LIKE REFLEXES THAT PRODUCED SOME OF THE MOST UN-SAVABLE SAVES, HE HAD TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST. LAMA ALSO HAD THE ABILITY TO READ IN-SWINGING AND OUT-SWINGING CROSSES.

ROBERTO CARLOS.

TO BE AN ATTACKING FULL-BACK, YOU NEED STRENGTH, PACE, ENDURANCE AND ABILITY TO READ THE GAME. ROBERTO CARLOS GOT ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE. HIS CROSSES WERE 'WHIPS' INSIDE OF HIS FOOT AND 'ZINGS' OUTSIDE OF HIS FOOT. OH, AND THE STUNNING GOALS WITH POWER, PACE AND AIR-DEFYING CURLERS. PEOPLE WOULD ARGUE MARCELO HAS BETTER QUALITY BUT I WOULD HAVE TO GO WITH RC AS HE WAS ONE OF MY CHILD.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

ALESSANDRO NESTA WAS A SOLID ALL-AROUND DEFENDER. FOR A LITTLE WHILE HE WAS PLAYING FULL-BACK AND DID SHOW HIS KNOWLEDGE OF SETTING UP THE ATTACKS FROM THE FLANKS. NESTA WAS A TYPE OF CENTRAL DEFENDER THAT EVERY TEAM WANTED AS HE WAS RELIABLE WITH HIS TIMELY TACKLES BUT ALSO EXTREMELY ORGANIZED. BEFORE FANTASY FOOTBALL DAYS, NESTA HAD TO BE MY FIRST PURCHASE IN CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER BACK IN THE EARLY 2000S.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

IF I HAD NESTA, I ALSO NEEDED TO INCLUDE CANNAVARO. THIS GUY WAS A TOP TOP CAPTAIN FOR VARIOUS CLUBS AND OF COURSE FOR THE WORLD CUP WINNING TEAM OF 2006. HIS ABILITY TO READ PLAYS IS SECOND TO NONE. AT ONLY 175 CM, HE WAS ABLE TO LEAP AND WIN HEADERS OVER TALL STRIKERS. DID WE MENTION THAT HE WAS ONLY THE THIRD DEFENDER TO HAVE WON THE BALLON D'OR?

CLAUDE MAKELELE.

I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER THAN MAKELELE, OTHER THAN KANTE. IF YOU NEED YOUR MIDFIELDERS AND FULL-BACKS TO GO ON A FULL ATTACK, YOU NEED CLAUDE ON YOUR TEAM. IF YOUR OPPONENT IS 'PARKING THE BUS' YOU ALSO NEED CLAUDE ON YOUR TEAM TO HELP DRILL THE DEFENSIVE LINE WITH HIS PIN-POINT CHANNEL PASSES. CAN'T HAVE THIS GREATEST LINEUP WITHOUT CLAUDE.

STEVEN GERRARD.

EVERY TEAM NEEDS A BOX TO BOX MIDFIELDER AND STEVEN GERRARD TOPS IT. NO BIAS HERE BUT STEVIE G IS DEFINITELY THE MOST COMPLETE MIDFIELDER, A TEAM PLAYER AND A GREAT LEADER. A TRUE DEFINITION OF AN ENGLISH PLAYER AND THEN SOME. DO YOU REMEMBER HIS GOALS VERSUS MAN UNITED AND VARIOUS MERSEYSIDE DERBIES?

RONALDINHO.

ONE OF THE LEGENDS THAT HAD CREATED HIS OWN GAME. RONALDINHO MADE BRAZILIAN 'GINGA' HIS VERY OWN. THE SKILLS, THE MOVES HE CREATED THEM AND RECREATED THEM ON THE PITCH TIME AND TIME AGAIN. LET'S NOT FORGET HIS ABILITY TO CHANGE THE GAME BY HIMSELF. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE STRONG BARCA TEAM WITHOUT RONALDINHO?

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

ZIDANE'S FLAIR AND SILKY SMOOTH DRIBBLES BEFORE DECISIVE PASSES INTO SPACE MADE IT FUN TO WATCH. I CHOSE ZIDANE OVER INIESTA ONLY BECAUSE HE WAS A KEY PLAYER IN AN ALREADY STACKED GALATICOS WITH THE LIKES OF RONALDO, FIGO, BECKS, RAUL. ZIDANE'S STYLE OF PLAY IS A CONSTANT REMINDER OF HOW THIS IS CALLED 'THE BEAUTIFUL GAME'. ZIDANE'S FINEST MOMENT IN HIS PLAYING WOULD HAVE TO BE FRANCE 98 AND ITS FINAL.

LEO MESSI.

EVERYONE KNOWS THIS GUY. HE HAS EVERYTHING IN HIS GAME. MESSI CAN CREATE GOALS OUT OF NOTHING. HOW MANY MATCH WINNING GOALS DOES HE HAVE ON RECORD? SIMPLY THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD.

RONALDO 'O FENOMENO'.

RONALDO HAD EVERYTHING... FLAIR, SKILLS, TECHNIQUES AND GOALS. HIS ABILITY TO TAKE PLAYERS ON ESPECIALLY WHEN PLAYING IN SERIE A WITH INTER WHERE OPPONENTS WERE TOP CLASS DEFENDERS, UNREAL. WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE ABOUT RONALDO IS THAT HE WAS A HUMBLE TEAM PLAYER WHICH ALLOWED HIM TO INVOLVE HIS TEAMMATES IN THE ATTACK WHEN HE WAS PROPERLY MARKED AND DOUBLED UP.

ROBBIE FOWLER.

I LEFT OUT THIERRY HENRY FOR ROBBIE FOWLER. YES, I TRIED TO AVOID ANY BIAS BUT ROBBIE AT HIS PRIME AS A STRIKER WAS UNPLAYABLE. NOT TO COMPARE HIM TO HENRY BUT I HAD TO PICK FOWLER FOR HIS INSTINCTS AS OPPOSED TO DOMINANCE ANDTROPHIES. HE WAS CARRYING A LIVERPOOL TEAM IN THE EARLY 90S WITH SHEAR NUMBER OF GOALS. 71 GOALS IN 3 SEASONS.

GIANLUCA PAGLIUCA.

PAGLIUCA IS ONE OF THE GREATEST GOALKEEPERS IN THE SERIE A 90S ERA. FAST RESPONSE, GREAT POSITION PLACEMENT AND THE ABILITY TO READ OPPONENT'S PENALTY KICKS. WERE JUST SOME OF THE CAPABILITIES THAT MADE HIM GREAT. HE WAS ALSO IN THE SAMPDORIA SQUAD WHEN THEY WON THE SERIE A CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1991 .

JAVIER ZANETTI.

LOYAL, CHARISMATIC, FAST, GOOD LEADERSHIP. ALL OF WHICH MADE HIM BOTH A LEGEND AND AN ICON IN INTER'S BACK LINE. HE ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH WITH INTER AND EVEN IN THE LATTER STAGES OF HIS CAREER HE WAS SUCCESSFULLY LEADING INTER TO ACHIEVE THE TREBLE IN 2010S.

FRANCO BARESI.

ONE OF THE BEST AC MILAN DEFENDERS IN HISTORY. HIS ABILITY TO LEAD THE TEAM AND TO READ THE OPPONENT'S GAME MADE HIM A SACRED LEGEND IN AC MILAN HISTORY.

ALESSANDRO COSTACURTA.

BARESI'S PARTNER IN MILAN'S DREAM TEAM ERA. HE WAS AN UNSUNG HERO BUT HIS EXISTENCE ON THE FIELD ALWAYS MADE SURE HE HAD A GREAT INFLUENCE ON THE TEAM.

PAOLO MALDINI.

MALDINI STARTED HIS STORY IN MILAN AT THE RIGHT TIME. HE GREW RAPIDLY WITH GREAT PLAYERS IN MILAN, A PLAYER WHO ONLY WORE RED AND BLACK HIS ENTIRE CAREER. HE WAS A PLAYER WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY, NO WONDER SIR ALEX FERGUSON CALLED HIM AS THE STRONGEST OPPONENT HIS TEAM HAS EVER FACED.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS.

A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER WHO HAS A COMPLETE ACHIEVEMENT THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER AT CLUB AND COUNTRY. ONE OF THEPLAYERS WHO HAD INTELLIGENCE AND EXTRAORDINARY FIGHTING SPIRIT. HE ALSO BECAME A PLAYER WHO SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVED WINNING THE WORLD CUP BOTH AS A PLAYER AND COACH.

RUI COSTA.

PORTUGUESE PEOPLE AND THE WORLD KNOW HIM AS 'THE MAESTRO' EVEN RICARDO KAKA CALLS HIM THE PROFESSOR. HIS MOVEMENTSAROUND THE FIELD WERE SO ELEGANT EVEN THOUGH THEY LOOKED A LITTLE BIT SLOW. HIS ASSISTS AND PASSING WERE SO PRECISE. NO WONDER CRISTIANO RONALDO, HIS JUNIOR IN THE PORTUGAL NATIONAL TEAM MADE HIM HIS FAVOURITE PLAYER.

PAVEL NEDVED.

NEDVED ALWAYS PLAYED GREAT IN EVERY MATCH. HE LOOKED LIKE HE NEVER TIRED OF RUNNING. HIS SPEED WAS EXTRAORDINARY. HIS SHOOTING WAS REALLY STRONG AND HE HAD A GREAT DRIBBLING TECHNIC. BEHIND HIS MODEST FIGURE OUTSIDE THE FIELD HE WAS A PLAYER WHO AMAZED WITH HIS ACTIONS ON THE FIELD.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

ROBERTO BAGGIO WAS A FANTASISTA WHO IS MUCH LOVED IN ITALY. EVEN IF HIS CAREER WAS OFTEN DISTURBED BY KNEE INJURIES, HIS CAREER DIDNT FADE OUT. WHEN HE'S ON THE FIELD HE WAS LIKE AN ARTIST WITH HIS IMAGINATION THROUGH HIS ACTIONS. HE HAD THE COMPLETE ABILITY AS A FOOTBALLER.

RONALDO NAZARIO.

RONALDO MADE EVERY MATCH LIKE A PARTY. WHEN A BALL WAS AT HIS FOOT WE ALWAYS FELT ENTERTAINED. HE HAD A GREAT ABILITY TO DRIBBLE AND WAS A THREAT FOR EVERY GOALKEEPER. WITH ALL HIS ACTION ON THE FIELD, NO WONDER HE WAS CALLED 'EL FENOMENO' .

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

HE MIGHT NOT BE AS GREAT AS MESSI OR MARADONA AND BE A PLAYER WHO SAW FOOTBALL AS A JOB. HOWEVER BEHIND ALL THAT HE WAS A GREAT FORWARD. A STRONG SHOT, AN INSTINCT FOR SCORING GOALS. HE WAS A NIGHTMARE FOR EVERY OPPONENT IN THE PENALTY AREA. HE WAS THE GREATEST FORWARD WHO'S EVER PLAYED IN SERIE A AND THE ARGENTINA NATIONAL TEAM.

PETER SCHMEICHEL.

QUITE SIMPLY, THE GREATEST GK OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE ERA AND A ONE MAN IMPENETRABLE WALL WHO RAISED THE BAR FORWHAT COULD AND SHOULD BE EXPECTED FROM A WORLD CLASS GOALKEEPER. TO SEE HIM BEAR DOWN ON AN OPPOSING PLAYER, EXPANDING THAT ALREADY HUGE FRAME OUT INTO THE PATENTED STARFISH OF NET SMOTHERING LIMBS, YOU ALWAYS FELT THE OPPOSITION PLAYER WAS SECOND BEST.

STEVE NICOL.

SOLID. RELIABLE. SURPRISINGLY PROLIFIC FOR A DEFENDER IN AN ERA WHEN THE MARAUDING FULL-BACK WASN'T YET A THING.

DENIS IRWIN.

LIKE NICOL ON THE OTHER FLANK. ALMOST NEVER A BAD GAME. STRONG IN THE TACKLE. NO FUSS OR FANFARE. DEADLY FROM 12 YARDS. EVERYTHING YOU WANT IN AN OLD SCHOOL FULL-BACK AND MORE.

MATTIAS SAMMER.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER. BALLON D'OR WINNER. IN A TWO YEAR PERIOD SAMMER WAS, AS THELAST BASTION OF THE NOW SADLY DEFUNCT LIBERO, THE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD. A RAMPAGING POWERHOUSE WHO BROKETHE LINES FROM DEEP AND MADE DORTMUND AND GERMANY TICK. INJURY CRUELLY ENDED HIS CAREER AND PROBABLY DENIED HIM A PLACE AT THE TABLE OF THE PANTHEON OF ALL-TIME GREATS.

PAOLO MALDINI.

'II CAPITANO'. THE BEST DEFENDER THERE EVER WAS, OR EVER WILL BE. AS A ONE CLUB AC MILAN LEGEND HE RE-DEFINED AND ELEVATED THE ART OF DEFENDING FOR 25 ILLUSTRIOUS YEARS. DEVILISHLY HANDSOME BASTARD TO BOOT.

JAAP STAM.

THE DEFENSIVE DESTROYER NEXT TO MALDINI'S ARTISTE. STAM POSSESSED THE SPEED, STRENGTH AND FEROCITY OF TACKLE YOU'D EXPECT FROM ANY WORLD CLASS CENTRE BACK AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. BUT TO ALSO WATCH HIS CHARACTERISTICALLY DUTCH UNDERSTANDING OF SPACE AND POSITIONAL SENSE MERGEWITH HIS EASE ON THE BALL WAS AKIN TO OBSERVING A HENCHMAN FROM DIE HARD 2 UNEXPECTEDLY PERCH IN FRONT OF A STEINWAY AND FLUENTLY COMPOSE A PIANO SONATA.

ROY KEANE.

AT HIS PEAK, CAPABLE OF SINGLE HANDEDLY TAKING A GAME BY THE SCRUFF OF THE NECK LIKE NO OTHER. SEE (MAN UTD VS JUVENTUS CL SEMI-FINAL 1999) DIVISIVE. UNCOMPROMISING. BRILLIANT. KEANE GAVE NO QUARTER AND EXPECTED THOSE IN HIS COLOURS TO DO THE SAME.

PAUL SCHOLES.

THE FOOTBALLERS FOOTBALLER. ANY OTHER NATION IN THE WORLD WOULD HAVE BUILT A TEAM AROUND HIM. HE WAS ENGLAND'S PLANTINI, BUT INSTEAD, LIKE HODDLE BEFORE HIM, THE LONG SHADOW OF WING COMMANDER CHARLES REEP AND THE NATIONS ANTIQUATED OBSESSIONWITH THE PHYSICALITY OF A BOX TO BOX MIDFIELDER LOOMED OVER HIS INTERNATIONAL CAREER. BUT WITHIN THE WALLS OF OLD TRAFFORD, AMONGST THE GREATEST TEAM OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE ERA, HE WAS A GOLDEN GOLD.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE.

WORTH HIS PLACE IN THE TEAM JUST FOR SCORING THE GREATEST VOLLEY OF ALL TIME (SIT DOWN, MARCO V.B) INCONSISTENT? POSSIBLY. BUT WHEN YOU CAN DOMINATE ON THE BIG STAGE WITH SUCH ELEGANCE (FRANCE 98 WORLD CUP FINAL - SIT DOWN, RONALDO) ONE CAN FORGIVE PATCHES OF INCONSISTENCY IN A GLITTERING CAREER. UNPLAYABLE AT EURO 2000. HIS CRANIALLY DELIVERED COUP-DE-GRAS ON MATERAZZI IN 2006 IS EITHER A SAD TRANSGRESSION OR FITTING END TO THE ULTIMATE MERCURIAL TALENT WITHA PENCHANT FOR THE DARK SIDE. TOO OFTEN IT ENDS NOT WITH A BANG, BUT WITH A WHIMPER. NOT FOR ZISSOU.

ERIC CANTONA.

MY FAVOURITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME. FIRST NAME ON THIS, OR ANY, TEAM SHEET.

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

BACK IN SERIE A HE WAS THE POSTER BOY OF WORLD FOOTBALL, BATIGOL WAS RESPLENDENT IN THAT ICONIC PURPLE FIORENTINA KIT. SCORING SUBLIME GOALS WHAT SEEMED LIKE EVERY SINGLE WEEK. MORE THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER THE ONE I WISHED TURN UP AT UNITED. OR AT THE VERY LEAST IN ENGLAND.

MANUEL NEUER.

AMAZING ALL ROUND KEEPER AND I BELIEVE HE IS THE GOAT AMONG GOALIES. ONE OF THOSE RARE KEEPERS WHOM YOU JUST LOVE TO WATCH. THAT SWEEPER PERFORMANCE AGAINST ALGERIA IN 2014 LITERALLY WON GERMANY THE WORLD CUP.

CESAR AZPILICUETA.

ONE OF THE BEST 1 V 1 DEFENDERS AND BLEEDS CHELSEA BLUE THROUGHOUT. HIS PASSION AND WORK RATE IS TERRIFIC. I LOVE YOU DAVE.

MATS HUMMELS.

AT HIS PRIME, HE REALLY WAS THE COMPLETE DEFENDER. HE CAN DO IT ALL, GOAL LINE CLEARANCES TO STARTING ATTACKS. AND HE'S QUITE EASY ON THE EYES ASWELL, RIGHT?

ANDY ROBERTSON.

HE HAS NOT PROVEN MUCH, BUT I LOVE HIM NONETHELESS. JUST AN ORIGINAL GUYS WHO'S COME FROM THE BOTTOM WHO HAS PLAYED IN A CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL AND CAPTAINS HIS NATION. GO ROBBO!

SANTI CAZORLA.

ABSOLUTE MAGICIAN WITH THE BALL AT HIS FEET. TERRIBLY UNDERRATED AND WAS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT HIS POSITIONIN THIS PRIME. SAD TO SEE HIS CAREER CUT SHORT DUE TO INJURIES.

FRANK LAMPARD.

AS A CHELSEA FAN THIS MAN HAS TO BE AN IDOL. OH FRANKIE, THE GOALS YOU SCORED WHEN WE NEEDED THEM MOST. MY FAVOURITEPLAYER OF ALL TIME.

XAVI HERNANDEZ.

I THINK THIS MAN IS UNDERRATED ASWELL. HIS SENSE OF SPACE AND POSITION WAS UNPARALLELED AND THE CALMNESS HE BROUGHTWAS SOOTHING TO WATCH. TRULY ONE OF A KIND.

ANDREA PIRLO.

OOZING WITH TECHNIQUE, HE MADE UP FOR HIS LACK OF PHYSIQUE BY THOUSANDS OF IMPECCABLE TOUCHES AND PASSES. ALWAYS INCONTROL OF EVERYTHING AROUND HIM. AND THOSE FREE KICKS WERE UNBELIEVABLE ASWELL.

SON HEUNG-MIN.

HOW CAN YOU HATE THIS GUY? ALWAYS SMILING, AND I REPEAT, ALWAYS. NOT A BAD PLAYER EITHER. ABSOLUTE GEM.

LIONEL MESSI.

THIS MAN HAS PROVIDED ME WITH MORE JOY THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN. I'VE SEEN HIS GAME ON YOUTUBE AND LIVE FOR THOUSANDS OFHOURS AND I'M STILL NOT SATISFIED. ENJOY THE GOAT WHILE YOU CAN PEOPLE.

EDEN HAZARD.

THIS PICK IS DUE TO MY CHELSEA BIAS, BUT HE HAS LIGHTENED UP THE CLUB SINCE HIS ARRIVAL. AN UNBELIEVABLE PLAYER, AND A REALLY LOVABLE GUY OFF THE PITCH ASWELL. DON'T LEAVE US EDEN.

ANGELO PERUZZI.

THE 90S WAS PERUZZI'S IN ITALY. HE WAS COLOSSUS AT THE BACK FOR JUVENTUS AND WAS PART OF THE 2006 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD.

JAVIER ZANETTI.

INCREDIBLE LONGEVITY AND IN A VERY CLOSE CONTEST, BEATS OFF COMPETITION FROM CAFU AND LILIAN THURAM.

ALESSANDRO NESTA.

CONTROVERSIAL BUT, AS FRANCO BARESI RETIRED IN 1997, I JUST DON'T REMEMBER HIM THAT WELL. NESTA WAS ALREADY LAZIO CAPTAIN AT 21 . SUPERB ON THE BALL, AS WELL.

FABIO CANNAVARO.

THIS WAS JUST THE START OF A WONDERFUL CAREER. ALESSANDRO NESTA AND COSTACURTA WERE UNLUCKY TO MISS OUT, BUT CANNAVARO WAS JUST A CLASS ACT.

PAOLO MALDINI.

SIMPLY THE GREATEST LEFT BACK OF ALL TIME.

MARCEL DESAILLY.

CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED. MOVED TO CENTRAL DEFENCE LATER IN HIS CAREER, BUT ALMOST EARNED THIS PLACE WITH HIS PERFORMANCE AGAINST BARCELONA ALONE.

ROBERTO BAGGIO.

IN MANY WAYS, HE WAS TOO GOOD. ITALIAN MANAGERS WERE USED TO HAVING PLAYERS THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WOULD GET FROM. BUT BAGGIO WAS AN UNPREDICTABLE GENIUS. FOR ME, ITALY'S GREATEST EVER PLAYER.

MANUEL RUI COSTA.

AN ICONIC PLAYER AT FIORENTINA. A SUPERB PLAYERMAKER WITH A GREAT EYE FOR A GOAL.

ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO.

POSSIBLY THE MOST ICONIC PLAYER OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL IN THE 1990S. SCORED SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF GOALS. ONLY A TERRIBLE KNEE INJURY PREVENTED HIM BECOMING ONE OF THE ALL TIME GREATS.

GABRIEL BATISTUTA.

LOYALTY WAS HIS DOWNFALL AS HE NEVER PLAYED IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE UNTIL HE WAS 30. LETHAL IN FRONT OF GOAL AND WAS NEVER CONTENT AND WAS SO DIFFICULT TO MARK AS HE HAD EVERYTHING.

GEORGE WEAH.

YES, NO RONALDO. HE IS CERTAINLY GOOD ENOUGH, BUT ONLY SPENT TWO 90S SEASONS IN SERIE A. WEAH WAS SUCH A SYMBOLIC FIGURE ON AND OFF THE PITCH AND WON TWO LEAGUE TITLES WITH MILAN.

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