After a long period, out of not writing articles I thought I would end the drought and get back in to the old ways of trying to churn out more articles for people to (hopefully) enjoy and gain knowledge from. For my first article, back I have decided to make another personal one to give you my likes or dislikes in the world of football. So, without further ado I will get into my all-time favourite XI.
GK: Lev Yashin-
Lev Yashin is a player who I never had the privilege to watch live due to him playing way before my time but through watching documentaries, reading other articles and watching clips on places like YouTube his cat like reflexes really captivated me and made me want to see more of him. The black spider as he was nicknamed was the goalkeeper for the Soviet Union and Dynamo Moscow through the 1950s to 1970 where he retired making a staggering 812 career appearances. It was said that Yashin was one of the first sweeper keepers in football so he was revolutionary also, he stood out from the other keepers by wearing his signature leather gloves and flat cap. FIFA said that Yashin also in his career made 150 penalty saves and kept over 270 clean sheets so if that there doesn’t give him the accolade of being the best goalkeeper of all time I don’t know what will.
LCB: Giacinto Facchetti-
Yet another revolutionary player, Giacinto Facchetti is considered to be the best left back of all time. Under Helenio Herrera’s Catenaccio style of football Facchetti was deployed as a wing back and was given lice sense to go forward due to his vast amounts of pace and ability to cut in and score. The Defender, who was a Ballon d’Or runner up was an avid goal scorer and a key piece for the Helenio Herrera side who won multiple trophies between the years of 1960-1968 including 2 European Cups. During his career, he scored around 78 goals for club and country which including 10 goals in a single league season which for many years was a Serie A record until Marco Materazzi came and scored 12 in the 2000-01 season. Facchetti is easily one of the best full backs of all time and is even up there as one of the all-time best in any positions.
CB: Darijo Srna-
Another player who is extremely underrated, Darijo Srna is one of the best full backs of our generation. The former Croatia captain is remembered by some for his fantastic dead ball ability and is considered one of the best in the modern game. Srna is such a passionate and loyal player who rejected clubs like Manchester United and Bayern Munich to stay at Shakhtar Donetsk which gave him legendary status amount their fans. Srna is a legend both on and off the field due to his acts of kindness he does. Some examples would be: he buys match tickets and gives them to orphans to allow them to come and watch Shakhtar. In 2014 he also purchased 20 tonnes of tangerines and donated them to many primary schools in a war-torn area of Ukraine which must be given mass amounts of respect. Srna has won multiple trophies in his time with the Ukraine club through his hard work, leadership and fantastic ability. Srna has never been given the amount of respect he deserves and should be remembered for being a legendary full back.
RCB: Javier Zanetti-
What else is there to say about Zanetti that has not already been said? This legendary player has been a household name for football fans around the world for many years. Zanetti was a versatile player who could just about play anywhere. The Champions League winner has always been regarded as one of the best players in Serie A history due to his great stamina, leadership, determination and ability to turn defence to attack. When I used to watch Zanetti on TV in the days of Champions League fixtures being shown on ITV I don’t think I ever saw him stop running and always went above and beyond for his fellow team mates. Growing up I used to play in multiple positions whether it would be for school or my local team and I always considered myself to be like Zanetti, even though I will never come close to his ability. The man who made over 1000 appearances in his career for club and country combined Zanetti will always be remembered as a legend in football forever.
RM: Alex De Souza-
Alex De Souza is another player who caught my attention through watching Champions League games. The Attacking Midfielder is one of Fenerbahce’s greatest ever players (I had to put him right midfield in my team to fit him in though). During his time with the Turkish club he scored 171 goals and assisted 136 times in 341 which is extremely impressive and although he left the club in a sour way he is still regarded as a legend amongst Fenerbahce fans and they even made a statue for him to remember his great legacy. I will always remember Alex for his fantastic goal against CSKA in the Champions League where he cannoned the ball from outside the box into the top corner with his left foot. Alex is still regarded to this day as one of the most underrated players of all time amongst fans around the world.
CM: Dejan Stankovic-
Dejan Stankovic is a player who produced such tremendous things. An Inter Milan and Serbian Legend Stankovic will always be remembered for his thunderous long shots, pinpoint passing accuracy and hard work. The champions league winner was a joy to watch in his prime and I am glad to say I got to witness him play. Stankovic was such an all-round brilliant midfielder and had it all so you could see why he succeeded for Inter Milan. Making over 300 appearances for Inter he will always be considered one of the best in the club’s history and will be regarded as one of the most complete midfielders in the history of football.
LM: Pavel Nedved-
Another football legend Nedved’s fantastic football ability was recognised by the world as he won the Ballon d’or in 2003 beating 2 other legendary figures in Thierry Henry and Paolo Maldini. Recognised by his long blonde hair Nedved was a legend for both club and country and to this day is still the best player ever to come from the Czech Republic. Due to him being two footed it was hard for defenders to know what he was going to do next when he flew down the wing, would he cut in or shoot or would he cross. This ability made him a complete winger. Nicknamed Furia Cieca gained plaudits from managers, players and fans across the world including his former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson who called him the complete player.
CAM/CF: Francesco Totti-
How could I not put this legendary figure in my side. Francesco Totti is one of the best to have ever played the game. The gifted player is the most loyal of all footballers having spent his whole 25-year career playing for Roma and still playing there to this day. The elegant attacker once famously said “I cheated on all my girlfriends with each other, but I never cheated on Roma and never will”. If that doesn’t make you absolutely love and respect him then I don’t know what will. The world cup winner’s loyalty paid off when he won his first and only Serie A title in 2000/01 where he scored 16 goals in 35 games. Totti has such a great personality which is something we don’t see in most footballers anymore. His goal celebrations showed just how high spirited he is with examples being his shirt displays to Lazio fans when he scored against them which said “I purged you guys again” and both of his famous selfie celebrations. Totti will always be remembered as one of the best to have ever played the game.
CAM/CF: Alessandro Del Piero-
It was inevitable that Del Piero would be on this list. The legendary Italian forward is a household names for fans across the world due to his insane technical ability and prolific goal scoring ability. People consider Del Piero to be one of the best players of our generation and rightly so with his 290 goals in 705 appearances for the Old Lady. The all-time Juventus top goal scorer has won more trophies than you can believe and broken records which some deemed impossible to be broken. For me and many others watching Del Piero was a pleasure and I’m sure when you played Wembley singles with your friends you wanted to be him. Once the world cup winners career was dying down he left Juventus to revolutionise a league which I love to watch in the A-League. He is currently Sydney FC’s all-time top goal scorer and his mark was left on Australian football. Del Piero will always be regarded as one of the best and rightly so and I am sure in future generations people will be talking about how legendary he really was.
CF: Luca Toni-
Another legendary Italian forward Luca Toni will never get the same plaudits as Del Piero but the prolific striker will always be remered as a legend of the Italian game. The striker was so consistent in his career and scored goal after goal in not only Italy but Germany and the UAE. Toni is like a fine wine, he gets better with age and this was evidently shown in his last years of his career 51 goals in 100 games for Verona in 3 years which included two over 20 goal seasons. His last ever game against Juventus I had the pleasure of watching and saw him score his last ever goal in football which was very emotional but his legacy will live on forever. My first time ever watching Toni was in his first season and I saw him dominate in Europe by scoring 10 goals in 11 games. He also finished that season with 39 goals in 46 games which is a tremendous return for someone who changed cultures and that is why he deserves even more respect.
ST: Claudio Pizarro-
This was the easiest decision of them all. Claudio Pizarro is my idol and a player who I shape my game off to this day. The reason for him being my idol was in 2004 on my holiday in Bulgaria I watched Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin and I witnessed Pizarro score 2 goals and from that day on my love for Pizarro stayed forever. The footballing legend was a prolific goal scorer at most of the clubs he was at, except his unfortunate time at Chelsea, and mesmerised fans with his great ability. The striker has left a mark on German football by being the highest scoring foreigner in Bundesliga history and to this day is still playing and scoring at the highest level of German football. A very underrated striker who should be considered one of the most prolific players of our generation.
Antonio Di Natale
the final squad: