Greatest XI from the Greatest X

A few weeks ago, I typed the final words into the last article of a ten-week series on the greatest teams in football history. A few players in the pantheon of world football, however, would not have found their teams on my list. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, R9’s Brazil, and Maradonna’s Argentina all missed out on the top ten, meaning that the legacy of their individual brilliance did not feature in any of the ten articles. Following suit, this article will not mention any of their names beyond this paragraph. This article is dedicated to those brilliant ten teams - teams formed by the intelligence of their managers and their skill throughout each position on the field.

Due to the success of Sacchi’s Milan, Michels’ Ajax, and Guardiola’s Barcelona, my team will continue as the next squad to play free-flowing total football. The formation I’ve decided to go with is a 4-2-3-1 as it provides the most versatility so that the most exceptional and most deserving starting eleven can feature.

Below is the list of team’s I will be selecting a best eleven and bench from. These decisions were among the most brutal and challenging I have faced in my time on this planet, please be respectful. I mean seriously, you try to fit Johan Cruyff and Pele into the same team with only one of them playing in the number ten role.

10. Liverpool (‘75-’84)

9. Bayern Munich (‘67-’76)

8. France (‘98-’00)

7. Manchester United (‘95-01)

6. Real Madrid (‘56-’60)

5. Spain (2008-2012)

4. FC Barcelona (2008-2012)

3. AC Milan (1988-1994)

2. Brazil (1970)

  1. Ajax 1965-1973

Bench 

Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Gerd Muller, Ferenc Puskas, Carlos Alberto, Frank Rijkaard, Andres Iniesta 

Goalkeeper

Iker Casillas

Left Back 

Paolo Maldini

Center Back

Franz Beckenbauer 

Center Back

Ruud Krol 

Right Back 

Carles Puyol  

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Left Center Midfielder

Xavi

Right Center Midfielder

Zinedine Zidane 

Center Attacking Midfielder / Number 10

Johan Cruyff

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Right Wing 

Lionel Messi

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Left Wing

Pele

(I know he didn’t play here but I have a feeling that, in this team, Pele would be just fine.)

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Center Forward 

Alfredo Di Stefano