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World’s greatest football (soccer) XI

Image taken from: http://www.eurosport.com/football/the-top-five-players-of-all-time-where-does-johan-cruyff-rank-on-our-list-of-greats_sto5380373/story.shtml

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Dear readers, I’ve decided to make some “dream teams”, a few teams with the greatest footballers ever.

There will be 8 teams: dream teams, A, B,C and D (with the greatest legends, without great concern for defense); and best possible realistic sides, A, B, C e D (balanced on attack and defense).

Important to remember that greatest does not mean, necessarily best. Thus, maybe a player from team “A” (there because of his individual and collective achievements) has not been technically as good as someone from the “B” squad. For instance, for me, Leandro (former player of Flamengo and Brazil) was better, but not greater than Cafu.

Now, let’s check all those great teams.

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A (4-1-3-2):  Yashin; Carlos Alberto Torres, Bobby Moore, Baresi and Nilton Santos; Beckenbauer; Cruyff, Pelé and Maradona; Messi and Di Stéfano.


Beckenbauer, a midfielder in the 1966 World Cup, and sweeper in his prime (the greatest defender of all time), could, easily and masterfully, play the current role of defensive midfielder.

In the defensive wings, Carlos Alberto Torres would be the team’s most offensive full back.

And, without a pure center forward, the “five football kings” would constantly switch roles, between midfield and attack. How could anyone stop Pelé, Maradona, Messi, Cruyff and Di Stéfano? Impossible!

*Menotti, legendary Argentine Coach, recently said that Messi could join those he calls the four kings of football: Pelé, Maradona, Cruyff and Di Stéfano.

B (4-1-2-3): Buffon; Djalma Santos, Cannavaro, Scirea and Nilton Santos; Rijkaard, Zidane and Zico; Garrincha, Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo.


Nilton and Djalma Santos, two offensive full backs, and a midfield of Rijkaard (who could also play as center back), Zidane and Zico, would assist an attack with Garrincha, Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the attack, Garrincha would be a pure winger, while Cristiano Ronaldo, besides playing as winger, would advance to make a duo with the Brazilian Ronaldo.

C (4-1-3-2): Zoff; Cafu, Figueroa, Passarela and Roberto Carlos; Zito; Bobby Charlton, Platini and Rivellino; Eusébio and Puskas.


Cafu and Roberto Carlos, two supper offensive full backs, would help Charlton, Platini and Rivellino, in creating plays for Puskas and Eusébio (both would float between midfield and attack as false 9’s, since they weren’t pure center forwards).

D (4-3-3): Banks; Leandro, Bergomi, Krol and Júnior; Pirlo, Gérson and Didi; George Best, Van Basten and Romário.


Without a single really defensive midfielder, Pirlo, Gérson and Didi would be responsible for both defending and playmaking. They would have the backup of Júnior and Leandro, extremely technical full backs, also capable of playing in the midfield.

Ronaldinho would play as a winger/attacking midfielder, his natural position. While Romário would be a support striker/center forward, in a powerful duo with Van Basten.


A (4-2-3-1): Yashin; Djalma Santos, Bobby Moore, Baresi and Maldini; Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus; Messi, Pelé and Maradona; Ronaldo.


Djalma Santos and Maldini, two defensive full backs, would not go forward much. Beckenbauer would play as defensive midfielder/sweeper, supported by his countryman Lotthar  Matthäus (equally capable in the roles of sweeper and midfielder) in the midfield’s defense.

Ronaldo would be assisted by the super attacking midfielders/forwards Messi, Pelé and Maradona  (who would all 3 would, at some moments during the match, help the German duo in the midfield). Furthermore, Messi and/or Pelé would advance sometimes to make an attacking duo (or trio) with Ronaldo

B (4-2-1-3): Buffon; Carlos Alberto Torres, Cannavaro, Scirea and Nilton Santos; Rijkaard, Falcão and Zidane; Garrincha, Gerd Müller and Cristiano Ronaldo.


With two defensive midfielders in the team (Falcão and Rijkaard), the Brazilian full backs would have the freedom to attack. Zidane would be main playmaker and would have sometimes the aid of Falcão. The other defensive midfielder, Rijkaard, would also play as third center back during some moments of the game.

In the attack, Garrincha would be a pure winger, while Cristiano Ronaldo, besides playing as winger, would advance to make a duo with Müller.

C (4-3-1-2): Zoff; Cafu, Figueroa, Passarela and Roberto Carlos; Zito, Didi and Gérson; Zico; Puskas and Eusébio.


A tough defensive midfielder, Zito, and two classic Brazilian “meia-armadores” (close to today’s central midfielders), Gérson and Didi, would allow Roberto Carlos and Cafu to safely go forward.

Zico, with the support from Gérson and Didi, would make plays for Eusébio and Puskas (both would float between midfield and attack as false 9’s, since they weren’t pure center forwards). The “White Pelé” would often join the attack to form a line of 3 strikers.

D (4-3-1-2): Banks; Thuram, Bergomi, Krol and Facchetti; Vieira, Xavi and Iniesta; Platini; Romário and Van Basten.


Thuram e Facchetti, two defensive full backs, and Vieira, a defensive midfielder, would grant the necessary freedom to use the successful Barça duo of Xavi and Iniesta (both would also help the Vieira in the defensive end), Both Spaniards would assist Platini in creating goal chances for the the two pure center forwards, Romário and Van Basten.

Lastly, I must say that other great legends of this beautiful game could be in any of those teams, and also deserve to be praised. Players like Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Valentino Mazzola, Giuseppe Meazza, Silvio Piola, Roberto Baggio, Berti Vogts, Uwe Seeler, Paul Breitner, Sepp Maier, Raymond Kopa, Henry, Just Fontaine, José Manuel Moreno, Mario Kempes, Ossie Ardiles, Adolfo Pedernera, Omar Sivori, Rivaldo, Jairzinho, Domingos da Guia, Leônidas da Silva, Zizinho Clodoaldo, Tostão, Gylmar, George Best, Peter Schmeichel, Michael Laudrup, John Charles, Stanley Matthews, Obdulio Varela, José Santamaría, José Leandro Andrade, Ruud Gullit, among many others.

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    A (4-2-3-1): Yashin; Djalma Santos, Bobby Moore, Baresi and Maldini; Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus; Messi, Pelé and Maradona; Ronaldo.

    Team B:B (4-1-2-3): Buffon; Djalma Santos, Cannavaro, Scirea and Nilton Santos; Rijkaard, Zidane and Zico; Garrincha, Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Great post, mate! You have O Fenomeno appearing twice. I honestly believe he deserves to be included in team A and Gerd Muller could work wonders with those two wingers beside him.

    One more thing. I think your team A could be a tad more balanced if you were to include Rijkaard instead of Matthaus. The Dutch legend would provide the steel/muscle enabling Beckenbauer to join the attack if necessary.

    Lastly, FERNANDO REDONDO deserves to be included in one of your teams 🙂

    Superb blog, my friend!


  2. My dear friend,

    I just noticed something else.

    Balanced Teams:

    B (4-2-1-3): Buffon; Carlos Alberto Torres, Cannavaro, Scirea and Nilton Santos; Rijkaard, Falcão and Zidane; Garrincha, Gerd Müller and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Di Stefano and Cruyff do not appear on team B, C, or D; both of these legends are missing altogether. Personally, I would include them in Team B.


    —Cruyff————Di Stefano———Garrincha/Zico


  3. Quicksilver

    We are thinking almost exactly alike! I love putting together these great all time teams, and sometimes when I see others do it, teams are very unbalanced, so bravo. The only mentions I would try to get into the teams if I really wanted out and out wingers like Garrincha would be George Best and Ryan Giggs, both of whom unfortunately played for countries who were never on the world stage, but were tough, fast, tenacious and fearless winners who could play up and down the field

  4. I would choose van der sar ,roberto carlos,maradona,pele,r9,cr7,messi,maldini,baresi,carlos alberto,garrincha (subs)eusibio,cruyff,zidane,gullit,iniesta,suarez

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//inicio clever