This edition of My Perfect XI is by Tom Moseley. You can follow Tom on Twitter @PlayedOfThePark

I haven’t lived in a time where I’ve been able to see most of the players who fall underthe category of ‘Footballs Greatest’ – so this was a tough thing for me to do. As I had to base a lot of it on what I’ve heard, read or the small clips I have seen. There will be one or two modern players in there, who will look out of place, but, there’s good reasoning!

I went really attacking, with a 3-4-3 formation, similar to Total Football. Having a Libero, two centre-backs, an anchor man, two registas, then just the basic wingers, ‘number 10’ and striker. It is attacking, but I guess it works, the 3-4-3 Total Football has been successful at Ajax and Barcelona, most likely other places as well, which I’m not familiar with. Anyway, lets get under-way!

Goalkeeper – Gordon Banks

I think I should say it now, there could be some bias shown to English players who won our only World Cup. As, they’re always held in higher regard in the media/when people tell you about them, because they’re the only English players to get their hands on silverware. But, from clips I’ve seen, Gordon Banks was a class ‘keeper. His save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup is often referred to as the ‘Best save ever’, which is no mean feat at all! He was also named in Peles list of 100 Best Living Players and came 2nd in the ‘Best Goalkeeper of the 20th Century’ award – behind Lev Yashin. I think, with Banks in goal, the team will always be comfortable, as they have a goalkeeper they can rely on. ‘In Safe Hands’ – if you like…

Libero – Franz Beckenbauer

Ah, Der Kaiser, the only person to win the World Cup as a player and a manager. Surely, just that is enough to warrant a place in this time? If not, he also won two Ballon D’Ors in his playing career, and finished 2nd twice. To me, he invented the role of the Libero, a lot of people will probably disagree with me, as there probably were some greats before him, but when someone says ‘Sweeper’ or ‘Libero’ my mind goes ‘Beckenbauer’ – which to me, means he’s really made the place his own, in history. He was elegant, he could dribble round anyone, he was also a great leader. His records speak for themselves, he was great, and highly decorated.

Centre-back – Bobby Moore

Pele always said Bobby Moore was the best defender he ever faced. I am a bit dubious about it, as they’re good friends and they made a film together, but you wouldn’t doubt it. I think he was ahead of his time, alongside Beckenbauer. I’m no expert, but I think less defenders were good technically then, they’re job was to win the ball and get rid of it, at least, this is the general idea you get. But these two, they could both read the game extremely well and play the ball from the back, as well as being great leaders. The two of these in one defence would have been amazing, with both of them in their peak. Then, of course, Moore gets an even bigger recognition in football history for being the only Englishman to lift the World Cup, which he deserves.

Centre-back – Vincent Kompany

This could be classed as one of the surprise picks, but it’s so hard not to love him! On the pitch, he is a great defender and leader. He is definitely Manchester City’s best buy, after the takeover, he reads the game well, tackles well, is generally solid, but also good on the ball. He never seems to panic, but waits and finds the right pass, playing his way out of trouble. Then, off the pitch, he is easily one of the most dignifying Premier League footballers, in a time when there’s hardly any, albeit. He is a complete defender, and genuine person. You just have to love Vincent Kompany! Unless you’re a United fan, I guess.

Defensive Midfielder – Sergio Busquets

“Look at [Sergio] Busquets – the best midfielder there is playing one-touch. He doesn’t need more. He controls, looks and passes in one touch. Some need two or three and, given how fast the game is, that’s too slow.” – Xavi

There are more quotes from Xavi about Busquets, and if Xavi thinks he’s great, he must be. And he is. Everyone seems to hate him, for the diving he did. But watch him play football. He is the best defensive-midfielder I’ve seen. The Barcelona midfielders know they can get forward and attack, because he’s behind them, sweeping up the balls when they come back. He can read the game extremely well, leading to lots of interceptions and tackles to retain the ball for Barca, but he is also a great passer. He rarely gives the ball away, every time he finds a team-mate, no matter where they are. Xavi has another quote, which I can’t remember too well, about how Busquets always finds him, even though the pass looked impossible. If he didn’t do the diving against Inter, so people wouldn’t wear hate-tinted glasses when watching him, everyone would realize what a great player he is.

Centre-Midifelder – Xavi Hernandez

‘The Machine’ – what some of his Barcelona team-mates call him, and you can understand why. He gets the ball, and every time he gets it, he knows exactly what to do, where to turn and send it. Everything in Barcelona goes through Xavi, he’s great. I think, he’s more important to the team than Messi, some wil obviously disagree, but when you see Barcelona without Xavi, it’s a little more disjointed, as no one can link it all together, quite like him. Without Messi, they’re obviously missing a great player, but I think they can cover it more, because there’s not many players ‘programmed’ like Xavi. He makes everything look so easy.

Centre-Midfielder – Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton is often referred to as Englands greatest player, especially as he is Englands highest ever goalscorer and Manchester Uniteds highest goalscorer, which is an even bigger achievement when you think he was a midfielder, and not a forward. He experienced a lot in his footballing career, as he was one of the only survivors of the Munich Air Disaster, which would obviously be an extremely low and traumatic experience. But then, he’s also experienced the highs, winning the Champions League, World Cup and first division title, with Manchester United and England. What I like about watching him play is, unlike most players today, he could use both feet. No matter what foot it was, he could find the net from most places. He definitely deserves a place in this team, in my opinion.

Right Attacking Midfielder – Pele

Ah, the one and only. I did want to put him upfront, or at least on the left but, with too many options, he’ll play on the right. I’m pretty sure he’d excel in any position, as he could score and set-up goals. His scoring record is second-to-none, with over 1000 goals, in not many more matches. In my opinion, he epitomises why it should be called ‘The Beautiful Game’ – he played beautifully, and you always get a sense of his love for football, when he talks. Or when you read his autobiography. I’m not going to say any more on Pele, as it would ruin it, he is just the best player ever.

Left Attacking Midfielder – Johan Cruijff

Johan Cruijff, not only a great player, but a great mind. Inventing ‘Total Football’ with Rinus Michels and laying down the foundations in La Masia, which Barca are currently reaping the benefits from. He won the Ballon D’Or three times, holding the record for the most with Platini, Messi and van Basten. He was one of the first forwards, to drop deep or to the wing, to confuse markers, as part of Total Football. He could dribble around anyone, pick out any pass as well as having an eye for goal. He’s a pleasure to watch, and listen to talking football. As well as all this, he also invented his own move, in the Cruijff turn, a move I’m sure we’re all familiar with.

‘Number 10’ – Lionel Messi

I’m pretty sure you know enough about the little Argentinian already. He’s Barcelonas all time top goalscorer at the age of 24, every year he breaks a new record, last season he scored 73 goals in 60 games. His dribbling is simple, but so effective. With Messi, you don’t get the flashy skills like you do with Ronaldo, you get the old fashioned dribbling, dropping the shoulders, body feints to devastating effect, especially with his pace and acceleration. He can finish well with both feet, but his left is lethal. When Messi is one on one, or even past the penalty spot, he’ll rarely miss. My personal favourites, are his chipped goals, it shows so much composure and skill to come up with one of those, especially in some of the situations he has done. Messi isn’t all about goals though, his passing is superb, he can cut open any defence with a reverse ball or a little scoop, a great example would be his pass to Iniesta to open the scoring in the 2011 Spanish Super Cup 2nd leg. I do prefer Pele over him, but Messi is definitely one of the best players of all time. Already.

Striker – Marco van Basten

I have to admit, I do have a ‘thing’ for Dutch players, if I make a list of my favourite ever players, I think 40% would be Spanish and 40% would be Dutch, with ‘Other Nationalities’ making up the 20%. But they have produced some great players and Marco van Basten is one of those. He was a great striker and could finish no matter what the situation was, he could use his right, left and his head. His volley in the European Championships final is probably one of the most iconic goals in football. And you can see why. He was a prolific scorer, with 218 goals in 280, but I feel his career is a ‘What could have been’ as he was a great player, and did brilliant in Sacchis Milan team, but he had a recurring ankle problem, which without, he would have played more and possibly for longer. He is still highly decorated mind, with three Ballon D’Ors and a few Golden Boots. He also reminds me of Robin van Persie, in his technique, the way he strikes a ball looks extremely similar to me, and van Persie had his fair share of ankle problems… Despite never being around to see him in his peak, van Basten is one my favourite players, an absolute great striker.

Manager(s) – Brian Clough and Peter Taylor

“If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.” – the importance of passing to feet. – Brian Clough, on the importance of passing to feet.

I absolutely love this quote, almost as much as I love Clough and Taylor. They went together perfectly, Clough was a great motivator and talker, Taylor is one of the best, technical, footballing minds ever. Way ahead of their time. They had success with every club they went to together (apart from Brighton) and won back-to-back European titles with Nottingham Forest, as well as winning the league with an ‘Unfashionable’ Derby team. I think, if these two had taken the helm at England, we’d have more than one World Cup. They took over an England youth-side for a tournament, they weren’t meant to get out of the group stages, but they won the whole thing.
I had many options for manager, like Sacchi and Guardiola, but I chose these two. They played good, simple, entertaining football and they knew about their players, psychologically, they always had great team spirit. I would have definitely loved to see these two in their peak.
Reserves – Peter Shilton, Carles Puyol, Paolo Maldini, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp and Ronaldo.

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