What happens when we put two teams together with players from the two of the best leagues in Europe? It would be a wonderful spectacle, as both have an insane degree of footballing talent. Players from each of these two teams could contend for the title of the world’s best player.
Although it is very unlikely to see Messi and Ronaldo feature in the same team, but let’s see who would come out on top if an all-star league XI is fielded against each other?
I’m using the generic 4-3-3 formation for both the teams.
Note: The players I have chosen are contracted to a club in the respective division. The selection is based on their form within the last couple of seasons, regardless of their injury woes. And, yes reputation can also have come into account.
Stadium: Estadio Azteca (Mexico)
Home of the Mexican National Team and one of the most emblematic stadium in world football, it’s the fifth largest stadium in the world. The Azteca’s history is so inextricably linked with some of the most significant moments in football’s remarkable journey that it has had its legend imprinted into the annals of football history and, as a result, will always be one of the game’s most iconic structures. Although it can be argued that Allianz Arena or Wembley maybe the right venue to hold a match of this stature, but who wouldn’t love the Mexican wave and an attendance of 122,000 people!
La Liga XI:
Manager: Jose Mourinho
An enigmatic and extremely intelligent manager, Jose Mourinho has already established himself as an all time great. Since his managerial term with Porto, the ‘Only One’ has lifted 19 trophies in nine years with four teams. He is a tactical genius and a master motivator. He has handled big egos like Ibrahimovic in the past, and is someone who can win trophies consistently. He has his unique personality and this is why he is loved and hated by many. He obviously makes news because he’s a winning coach who has no problems saying what he thinks.
Goal Keeper: Iker Casillas.
Possibly the easiest choice I had to make, Iker Casillas is probably the best goalkeeper of our generation. He bailed out his defense season in and season out, putting his body on the line and making jaw-dropping saves when the opposition looked odds-on to score. Even last season, he led La Roja to glory in Poland and Ukraine, and his heroics for Madrid were crucial for the club’s title winning campaign. Certainly, one of a kind.
Left Back: Marcelo.
Tough position to fill in, with the likes of Fabio Coentrao and Jordi Alba in the league, but he has convinced me enough to have him in the team. A player full of pace and attacking attributes, he is often criticized for his defensive nags. Otherwise, he is an exciting player and his synchronization with Cristiano Ronaldo would be something to watch out for.
Central Defenders: Puyol and Pepe.
Both of the players are crucial for their teams, and often flourish in big matches. Although troubled with injuries, Puyol is still a leader at the back, and even comes up with match-winning goals with his thunderous headers. Pepe, on the other hand, is one of the best defenders in the world at this moment. Real Madrid struggle without this Portuguese ‘Hulk’, but with him in their back line, they look rock-solid and daring to win trophies anywhere in the world.
Right Back: Dani Alves.
A defender with great flair, he is a big threat down the right wing. Although, frustrating to watch at times with his play-acting and going down at the slightest contact, he has great eye for the goal. What Alves also offers Barcelona is a good defensive presence, unlike the other attacking full-backs in the modern game. His game has improved immeasurably in this respect in recent years.
Deep Lying Playmaker: Xabi Alonso.
‘An eye for the pass, speed in distributing, vision for the game, a powerful shot… just some of the attributes of the Basque footballer who is a mainstay in the Real Madrid midfield.’ – an extract from the RMA Official Website. One of the best long passer in the game, Xabi Alonso is a great reader of the game. He is an indispensable player for the Real Madrid and Spanish camp, and even at the age of 3o, his stamina and work rate are unlikely to take a break.
In this team, he will work as the cover for the defensive line, and will also provide his long balls.
Attacking Midfielders: Andres Iniesta and Mesut Ozil.
Willing to play anywhere on the pitch, Andres is the embodiment of Barcelona’s tika-taka football. He won the UEFA Best Player of the Year award 2011/12, after defeating fellow contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Period.
Mesut Ozil is a player with excellent ball control and vision, and has the ability to unlock defensive walls of any side in the world. Just 23 years of age, he has already racked up about 110 assists in his career, and doesn’t seem like he is stopping by any means.
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Radamal Falcao and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last season, the three of them shared a whooping 187 goals among themselves, 77 from Lionel Messi, 39 from Falcao and 71 from Cristiano. The forward line couldn’t have been any better. It would be pretty interesting to see how the opposition defenders cope with these three musketeers. Lionel and Cristiano are without any doubt the two best players in the world, and no other player can impact the game more than what these two do. Falcao is another player who can be a defender’s nightmare with his power and ability to sense a goal scoring opportunity.
Bench: Valdes, Karim Benzema, Xavi, Cesc, Ramos.
Let’s take a look at the formation:
Manager: Alex Ferguson.
Fergie brings out the best out of players that many thought were nobodies. In a tenure lasting more than 25 years as United’s manager, he has accumulated 12 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cup trophies, 10 Community Shields, one FIFA Club World Cup. He knows how to use youngsters, and the veterans as well. He never fails to let his players know who is in charge, and his hairdryer treatment is very well known.
Goal Keeper: Petr Cech.
Still wearing that protective mask, Cech stands out for Chelsea when they need him the most. Cech allowed the fewest goals in the league last season – 33. Names like Hart, or Vorm might come in the contentions too, but overall I felt Cech is still the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. He was basically the reason why Chelsea won the Champions League last time around.
Left Back: Ashley Cole.
Not been his best last season, Cole is still the best left back in the English League, just edging out Leighton Baines. Cole is always tipped to shine in big games, his ability of neutralizing Cristiano Ronaldo in the clashes between United and Jose’s Chelsea was quite evident in the previous years. He’s a potent attacking threat, making numerous runs down the left flank, deep into enemy territory before delivering a cross into the box.
Central Defenders: Nemanja Vidic and Vincent Kompany.
At the Etihad Stadium, Kompany has gone on to become the rock solid player from which Roberto Mancini has looked to build success. He is immense in the air and reads the game well, and even pops up with a goal or two at times.
Vidic has dominated the Premier League since he joined it in 2006. Even though he was out with an injury last season, the Serbian has still been considered as one of United’s most influential players. Efficient at the back, and a threat even in front of the goal. Although bland against Lionel Messi in both 2009 and 2011, it will be exiting to see how he copes with the little Argentinean this time.
Right Back: Bacary Sagna.
It was a difficult choice as there isn’t someone who really stands up to this position. One might say Kyle Walker, or maybe Micah Richards, but Sagna is a more consistent player in this regard. Solid at the back, strong in the air, and is impressive with the ball at his feet. He also makes timely runs down the flanks to provide pin point crosses or cut backs to the players making their way into the opposition’s box.
Deep Lying Playmaker: Yaya Toure.
This man was crucial for City’s success last season and is transcendent in his capability as a footballer. He is a powerhouse in the midfield, and has great balance in both attack and defence. While he was off for the Africa Cup of Nations, City had lost three of their eight matches. Few can lay claim to that kind of significance. This season he has already netted two goals for the defending league champions, and it doesn’t seem like the Ivorian is done yet.
Attacking midfielders: Steven Gerrard and David Silva.
It was the toughest of all, to select two midfielders to pair up with Toure. But after taking form and reputation into consideration, I came up with these two names.
Steven can do anything with the ball, and is possibly the best link between the midfield and the forward line. His hat trick against Everton showed he’s still got it, and in no way, I could have excluded him off the team. David Silva is a player with great flair, and is almost unplayable at times. There has been qualms about his consistency and composure, but the Spaniard is usually incredible with his vision, awareness, touch, passing and shooting in the field.
Forwards: Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero.
With pace and skill in abundance, these forwards can change games in an instant with their ability to achieve the improbable. They amassed a total of 110 goals, almost 70 goals behind La Liga’s. Kun’s ball control and powerful bursts makes him one of the deadliest players in all of Europe, and Rooney’s ability to pick a pass, long distance shooting and unselfishly work for the team is unparalleled in world football. RvP is technically brilliant, and his eye in front of goal is unmatched in the Premier league.
Bench: Hart, Fellaini, Suarez, Bale, Terry.
Let’s take a look how this team would look like:
On paper, the La Liga XI seems pretty superior in comparison to the English League XI, given the fact that it features players from the two big Spanish teams, which dominate world football. But with players like Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in the side, it can pull up a goal or two as well.
The La Liga XI would basically depend more on their passing technique and keeping the ball to themselves, thus dominating possesion and attacking on the counter – they might struggle against the strong players like Vidic in Toure in the team.
Prediction: A comfortable 4-1 victory for La Liga XI.
Do you think I missed out any of the big players? Why don’t you go ahead and put up one yourself and post on in the comments section!