This is my greatest XI of all time.

Some of the decisions were tough and many of the players I’ve chosen are to be expected but I hope my reasons justify why I’ve chosen these players. In advance, the decision to choose my RAM was exceptionally hard. Here it goes.

Going for an attacking 4-5-1 here with one CDM and two AMs. Usual two centre-backs and two full-backs that are very offensive. Two wide midfielders that can also deployed as wingers. I’m going with the lone striker as he has great support from midfield and wouldn’t feel isolated.

Goalkeeper- Dino Zoff:

Magnificent keeper whose records and achievements speak for themselves. His reflexes were fantastic which often saw him get to shots that seemed impossible to save and he was never afraid to come out for crosses, corners, etc. Played in the Serie A for his whole career and remains as the oldest player to win the World Cup at age 40 whilst still being the captain of Italy.

Right-Back- Cafu:

Talk about a complete athlete. For his whole career he bombed up and down the right flank every game for 90 minutes at the ferocious speed and intensity. Although he was known as an attacking full-back, he could play too. He would run down the wing with the ball and his crosses were exceptionally accurate. At times it seemed that he was also doing the right midfielders job. He was also a fantastic defender. Cafu was very hard to get by because his positioning and timing of tackles was impeccable. Won all the major tournaments there is whilst picking up personal honours.

Centre-Back- Franz Beckenbauer:

If there has even been a complete player, Franz is that. He was naturally a sweeper but he was often seen marauding up the park with the ball beating man after man and then bursting into the box and sliding the ball past the keeper. Put him in midfield and he would control the game. Put him up front and he would score goals. His dribbling for a sweeper is unrivalled by any player and his supreme elegance meant that even the toughest tasks looked easy. Moreover, his positioning and tackling was perfect and he barely missed a tackle. Natural leader and all-round world class player, he won many honours including the European Championship, World Cup, Bundesliga and many personal trophies such as the Balon D’Or.

Centre-Back- Bobby Moore:

When Pele says you are the greatest defender he’s ever played against, you know you are world-class. His ability to read the game allowed him to interpret when things were going to happen before they actually happened which meant that he was rarely out of position and would often intercept passes. He was rarely beaten in the tackle and was an outstanding captain and leader. He remains as the only English captain to win the World Cup and it looks as if this will remain for the foreseeable future.

Left-Back- Roberto Carlos:

A stalwart in the Real Madrid and Brazil team for the majority of his career is no mean feat. Parallel to Cafu, he would command the left flank and would run up and down for the whole game. His left foot was explosive and he was deadly from dead ball situations. His marvellous left foot saw him delicious crosses for his whole career and the strikers he played with were always supplied. He can dribble, pass, tackle, defend, head, you name it. Complete full back. He is an extremely decorated player with multiple Champions League, World Cup and La Liga winner’s medals along with domestic cup competitions winner’s medals.

CDM- Zinedine Zidane

Usually an attacking midfielder, his size and power allows him to be effectively placed in front of the defence. His dribbling for a big man was superb as he often glided past opposition players and his first-touch and technique was world-class. He could use either foot to devastating effect, an ability that only very few players have had. People often overlook his physical side but that is just as important. He was very strong and he was very aggressive. He was never one to be intimidated by anyone. He was an extremely influential player in the Juventus and Real Madrid sides he played in. Moreover his positioning and ability to read the game was simply phenomenal, he was never caught offside throughout his whole playing career which is a feat unrivalled. Serie A winner, La Liga winner, Champions League winner, World Cup winner, Footballer of the Year, etc just shows how successful and good he was.

Right-midfielder- Garrincha:

Garrincha overcame many obstacles than looked like they would prevent him from playing football. He had problems with both legs but these helped him more than they did hinder him. Widely regarded as the greatest dribbler of a football, he could beat any player he came up against and his delivery from the wings was fantastic. When he played for Brazil, they won every game bar one and whenever he played with Pele for Brazil they were never defeated. Many people still don’t really know much about Garrincha and some have never heard of him which, to me, is shocking and doesn’t do him justice but those who do knows how talented he was.

Left-Midfielder- Gheorghe Hagi:

He was known as “The Maradona of the Carpathians” which to me is a fair assessment. His left foot was undoubtedly the best the world has seen. The power and explosiveness of his shots were matched with the accuracy of the highest calibre. He could score from anywhere on the pitch from any angle and he was lethal from a dead ball. He carried the Romanian National Team on his own for most games and was voted the best as the best Romanian player six times. He also played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid which is a feat only few can boast about and his contributions and play whilst at the clubs was significant. He never won the major competitions some feel he deserved to win but this doesn’t take the shine of the hugely gifted Hagi.

Right Attacking-Midfielder- Xavi Hernandez:

“The Puppet Master” is a fitting description of Xavi due to his ability to completely control games. His outstanding vision, pinpoint passes and supreme ball control allows him to dictate games without losing the ball. Moreover, his ability to find space even in the tightest of situations means he’s always creating options for teammates and allowing the play to move fast. He is the most decorated Spanish footballer and arguably the best playmaker to have come out of La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy. The fact that he has never won the Ballon D’Or or World Footballer of the Year is still a mystery to many including myself. His assists and goals and game in general have seen him regarded as one the best playmakers of this generation and even of all time which is justified.

Left Attacking- Midfielder- Lionel Messi:

Where do you start with this boy? Messi possesses phenomenal dribbling that often sees him gliding past players before they can attempt to tackle him. His balance whilst running at such a high speed is outrageous and his ability to effectively change direction whilst at such a high speed is unrivalled by any player of every generation. Moreover, his vision and passing is up there with some of the best in the game and his finishing is sublime. He is also a very important team player too as he often tracks back and wins the ball back. The extraordinary thing about Messi is that whenever he has the ball, there is always an end product be it a pass, a goal, or a tackle. His goal-scoring records for a playmaker are simply phenomenal and in the 2011/12 season, he scored 82 goals with is a ridiculous amount. By the age of 21 he had received many nominations for the Ballon D’Or, World Footballer of the Year, etc. He adds his 3 Ballon D’Ors to his many achievements such as La Liga, Champions League, Club World Cup, etc. Described as the Greatest of all time by many at such a young age, he is on his way to completely justifying this.

Striker- Pele:

A striker is judged purely on goals and Pele is regarded as the best striker of all time and arguably the best footballer of all time. His powerful yet extremely accurate shot are the reason he scored many goals throughout his career but he had more to him than goals. He was extremely fast with and without the ball and possessed sublime dribbling skills. Also, his athleticism gave him a huge leap that allowed him to have a fantastic heading ability despite being small at 5’8. The sheer fact that he won his first World Cup at the age of 17 highlights how special a player he was. He is Brazil’s all time leading goalscorer and remains the only player to have played in three World Cup winning squads. Moreover, the honours he achieved throughout his career are fitting for such an exceptional talent. I will leave my analysis on Pele with a fact: he scored 1280 goals in 1363 games.

Manager- Sir Alex Ferguson:

The commitment of Ferguson to Manchester United is one of many reasons why he is such a respected figure and often regarded as the best manager of all time. Moreover, the silverware he has won whilst being in charge of Manchester United speaks for itself. Multiple League titles, multiple Champions Leagues, domestic cup competitions, etc. A manager is judged on the success they bring and that is why Sir Alex Ferguson is viewed as one of the great managers. He also has the ability to deal with all kinds of personalities such as the aggression and outspoken nature of Eric Cantona who he dealt with superbly and Cantona did fantastically well for United. With the starting eleven containing so many world-class footballers and different egos, Ferguson is arguably the only one who would be able to make them gel and become a winning side.

Reserves: Lev Yashin, Paolo Maldini, Daniel Passarella, George Best, Lothar Matthaus, Michel Platini, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo
You can follow Scott on Twitter @RetroMillar


Cafu Beckenbauer Moore Roberto Carlos


Garrincha Hagi

Xavi Messi