We built our team from the back, through the middle -- and not just with La Liga players. By Frank Dell'Apa.
By Frank Dell'Apa
Some people, such as former German international Lothar Matthaus, questioned FIFPro’ s choices for its World XI . We at beIN SPORT took it as a challenge. Our idea was to name the best players to the team – we agreed with FIFPro on seven players – and to create a group which would be unbeatable on the field.
The fact remains, if you want high level defending, go to Italy (or buy defenders from Serie A, as Paris Saint-Germain did in building the team around Thiago Silva ). And if you want offensive pyrotechnics, watch La Liga, not only because of the attacking prowess but because of its defensive deficiencies.
The beIN SPORT XI
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid/Spain) – Commanding, inspiring presence. Anticipation and positioning are top class, but can decide games as a shot-stopper, as well. Won La Liga and European Championship – that is all you need to know.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain) – Uncompromising, versatile – a gamer. Knows how to raise the level when it counts. Along with Casillas, an exception proving the rule about Spanish defending. Can carry the defense with his leadership and presence. Just don’t let him carry the cup after we win.
Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil) – We built our team from the back through the middle and it starts with Thiago Silva. Combines athleticism and ability to direct defense and read the game. Confident with ball at his feet and scoring threat off set pieces. Most valuable defender in world – 42 million euros worth.
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus/Italy) – Most accomplished defender from a country which breeds them. Has the speed and tactical application to play outside and size and strength to be a force centrally. Played injured against Spain in the Euro Final. Along with Thiago Silva, he will make certain of everyone’s positioning and that spacing is right. Driving force in the back on a Juve team which lost only twice during the calendar year in Serie A.
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain) – Master technician. Keeps a low profile, makes every move look easy. Scores world-class goals, too. He and Pirlo will make each other even better.
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid/Spain) – Two-way player who holds midfields together. Born leader and personification of tactical sophistication. Prototype of two-way midfielder, spreads the field with pinpoint long passes, a threat from distance, and also willing and able to set a physical tone defensively.
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus/Italy) – “The Architect” is one of the few players opposing teams have to mark man-to-man all over the field. Dictates tempo, always composed. Every move has a purpose. Conducts efficiency clinics on the field. Free kick master, as well. Provides the link, transitioning from defense to offense.
Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona/Spain) – Choreographer and chess master who is always thinking several moves ahead, with ability and composure to execute.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina) – Once in a lifetime player. Scores almost all of his goals from inside the penalty area, despite having to go against defenses packed in to prevent him from penetrating. Only negative note is his inability to lead teams to titles in recent months.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Sweden) – Scores goals – and wins – wherever he goes, and he’s been on the best teams. Combines fantasy, hold-up play and power. A strong personality and presence on the field. The final piece in our through-the-middle scheme. Has proven himself with Europe’s biggest clubs, unlike Radamel Falcao, whose career is still in the early stages.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal) – No one is more explosive going forward. Of course, there should be more to an attacker’s game than just racing forward full speed and shooting with your eyes closed. Ronaldo will open space on the outside, giving Ibra and Messi more room to move.