I love reading the FIFA World XI shortlist as soon as it’s been announced, primarily due to a desperation to see as many representatives of Arsenal as possible. (Only one in Robin Van Persie, though I’m counting Cesc Fabregas, so it’s two really) Naturally you get normal gripes, such as why is Maicon featuring as one of the world’s leading right-backs when Bacary Sagna, clearly a better all-round player, is nowehere to be seen on the list. Marcelo, Pepe and Sergio Ramos’ name’s on that list also bemuse me, but I guess they’re there to make up the numbers rather than actually contend for a place in the XI.
I’m not going to list those players selected (55 of them) on here, as it’d be a nightmare to copy up, so instead I’ll give you a link here.
So, who from that list would make your starting XI? Here’s mine…
GK: Iker Casillas
RB: Phillip Lahm
CB: Gerard Piqué
CB: Vincent Kompany
LB: Ashley Cole
RCM: Cesc Fabregas
CM: Yaya Touré
LCM: Mesut Ozil
RW: Cristiano Ronaldo
ST: Robin Van Persie
LW: Lionel Messi
Now let me explain my selections, as there will no doubt be a few counter-arguments to every other player.
In goal, Iker Casillas is going to be the only winner in a dream team competition all day long. He’s been long serving at the top level for Real Madrid, captains Los Blancos, as well as making the Spain No.1 jersey his own, as well as captaining maybe the best national side we’ve ever seen grace a football pitch, so that much is self-explanatory. As for Casillas’ competition for a spot in this team, maybe only Edwin Van Der Saar was going to come close and it would have been easy to pick the Dutchman purely out of sentiment, but being realistic, there was still a level between Casillas and Van Der Saar that even Manchester United fans could recognise.
In defence, well I like my defenders to defend primarily, anything else is a bonus for me, which is why I opted for Philip Lahm at right-back, rather than the marauding Dani Alves. When Arsenal played Barcelona last season, Alves had fast players such as Walcott, Nasri and Arshavin facing him to exploit his poor positioning. It was Alves’ poor positioning which lead to Arsenal’s equaliser so for me, Alves is primarily an attacker, which isn’t what I want. Lahm on the other hand is a world class defender, as well as more than adept at being able to attack his opposition full-back tirelessly. When he retires, Lahm will be remembered as a legend for Germany. At Centre-Back, I’ve opted for Vincent Kompany and Gerard Piqué. I like defenders to play the ball out, rather than kick it long and both players are fantastic with the ball at their feet, especially Gerard Piqué who starts so many attacks for Barcelona. As for Kompany, well he was one of the key reasons behind Manchester City’s success last season and has carried it through to this season, so for me, he’s one of the top in Europe right now. At left-back I barely need to give a reason as to why I’ve selected Ashley Cole. He’s the best left-back in the world at present and that isn’t about to change.
In midfield is where some debate may come to fruition, but I’m confident in my selections. Cesc Fabregas is my favourite player, so was always going to make it on to this list but favouritism aside, there can be no counter-argument for a man who is currently Barcelona’s second-most productive player (in terms of goals and assists) behind Lionel Messi. Add to that he’s been Arsenal’s most creative player for years, as well the Premiership’s, creating more chances than Xavi and Iniesta, despite being in a weaker team at the time, it has to be recognised that Fabregas is a freakish talent and as such, was my first selection for this team.
Yaya Touré may not be so obvious to the naked eye, but again, let me explain. For starters, this team needs to be balanced and Touré is more than able of curbing his own attacking instincts to play a slightly deeper role than Cesc and Ozil. Last season, Touré accumulated eight goals and four assists for Manchester City, a phenomenal return for a player deployed in a different position to what he was used to at Barcelona, playing in a different country, at a different pace. Touré didn’t jut score goals in 3-0 wins either, scoring the only goals in 1-0 wins over Manchester United in the FA Cup Semi-Final, and again in the FA Cup Final itself against Stoke City, securing Manchester City’s first trophy for 35 years.
With more assists than Xavi or Iniesta with a total of 17, (as well as scoring six) Ozil deserves his place in this XI for showing great adaptation following his big-money move from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid. Most other players may have hidden, but not Ozil. Arsene Wenger recently noted that, ‘Kaka isn’t playing at the moment, purely because of Ozil’. That’s a big statement of how far Ozil has come, keeping Kaka out of Real Madrid’s starting XI.
My strike force is a little more predictable. Full of goals, it’s an absolute stat machine. from this season and last season, Messi, Ronaldo and Van Persie have scored a combined total of 191 goals. On that stat alone, I don’t need to justify just how good this strike force is. If these three were ever to miraculously come together in the same team, there would be 9-0 thrashings dished out no matter who they played.
Think you can do better than my effort? I doubt it, but I’d like to see you try all the same…
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