World Football: What Is the Greatest XI of All Time?

harry smithCorrespondent IJune 18, 2008

The elegance of Zidane, the majesty of Beckenbauer, and the brilliance of Puskas... all great players, but what really makes a great team?

Strength, determination, the will to win, and skill. A modern day team must possess all of these attributes to get anywhere nowadays. The Real Madrid's, the Man Utd's, and the AC Milan's of the football world have always had these qualities, which is why they are so successful.

But no matter what anyone says, if you haven't got the players, then you haven't got the trophies.

Every team has one indefinite stand out player. As an Arsenal fan, no matter how much you hate us, you have got to agree that Fabregas is a little bit special.

Manchester United has Ronaldo, Liverpool have Torres/Gerrard and so on. In the world of football history, players echo through eternity.

For that reason, I have tried to assemble the greatest team that ever lived. My formation will be a 3-5-2 one with two wing backs.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson. It pains me to say it, but Alex Ferguson is a fantastic manager. If this was a football club, I would want Arsene Wenger as coach, purely for the fact that he can take a 16-year-old wannabe and turn him into a world beater.

He has proved this statement true on many occasions. But for a football team, Sir Alex gets the nod.

In goal, I would place Peter Schmeichel. The Great Danes superb reflexes and distribution put him ahead of the likes of Banks, Taffarel, and even Gigi Buffon. In his prime, he was simply unbeatable.

Defensively, it is not hard to understand why I have placed Franz Beckenbauer at the heart of my defensive unit. He was a leader on the pitch, which is also why he takes my captain's armband.

Beside him in the centre, I have placed Cafu and Paolo Maldini. Fantastic for club and country over the years.

Deciding on my midfield was a very hard task, too attacking, too defensive, too passy-passy? All of these were factors in my selection, but I have finally decided. My RWB is Garrincha. On pure heart alone, he would walk into any team. To come back from near disability to win the World Cup is some achievement.

LWB is Roberto Carlos. The man is a machine! My centre of midfield is delicately poised on the shoulders of one man, Zinedine Zidane.

The best player of his generation, possibly all time. He could do everything and more, a joy to watch. He would set the tone for his two central companions, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff. Two of the most exhilarating players ever known to mankind.

In the attacking roles, I place two Brazilians. The ever present in teams of this caliber, Pele. He knew what he could do with a football, and he put it to best use, a magnificent footballer.

Supporting him is Luis Nazário de Lima, better known as Ronaldo. A toss up between him and Thierry Henry, but the wide grinning, goal scoring Brazilian won.

He continued to defy belief well past his best, and I just hope that people in years to come realize what a special player he was.

To conclude my team is as follows: Coach: Sir Alex Ferguson, Gk: Peter Schmeichel, Cb: Franz Beckenbauer (captain), Cb: Paolo Maldini, Cb: Cafu, Rwb: Garrincha, Lwb: Roberto Carlos (Long free kicks), Cm: Zinedine Zidane (short free kicks), Cm: Diego Maradona, Cm: Johan Cruyff, St: Pele, St: Ronaldo (penalties).

Hope you enjoyed. Please leave comments. Over HS