Friday, January 2, 2009

Dream Football Team

I have put down several dream football teams over the years and I felt the beginning of the new year is probably a good time to let everyone know of my favourite players. Whenever one puts forward a team of this kind it is only natural that a certain element of bias creeps in, but to ensure that I remain fair to all the great footballers who have graced the game over the last decade or so I have named only two footballers who have played for Manchester United over an extended period of time in my eleven.

The team will play in my favoured 3-4-1-2 formation, which I believe will lend excellent balance and stability to my line-up. The formation is essentially a variation of the 3-4-3 formation with the primary difference being the fact that the width will come from the wingbacks as opposed to the forwards. A flat back four tends to kill creative midfielders and I believe by playing three centre halves and by getting my wingers to push up and down, I can provide a lot of freedom to my trequartista without compromising on the defensive aspects of the game. My insistence on playing this formation causes a lot of my favourite footballers to miss out, but then I am not one for accommodating players at the cost of my tactics.

Goalkeeper - Iker Casillas: Without a shadow of doubt I can say that Casillas is the greatest shot stopper that I have ever seen play. Playing in a team that believes it is unlawful to defend, ‘Saint Iker’ as he is referred to by the Real Madrid faithful has at times single-handedly kept the opposition at bay. In spite of his inability to deal adequately with balls played into the box, Casillas will be my pick for the number one jersey.

Centre Half (Left) - Paolo Maldini: The iconic Maldini’s exemplary commitment and professionalism together with his supreme defensive abilities means that choosing him is a no-brainer. Maldini will add an element of class and splendour to my back line and I am sure he can marshal the defence to several clean sheets.

Centre Half (Centre) - Laurent Blanc: It’s not the job of central defenders to look pretty when defending, but Blanc was as elegant a footballer as one can hope to see. He made defending look ridiculously easy at times and although he had a somewhat forgettable time at Man United, he walks into my team courtesy his unbelievable ability to read a football game.

Centre Half (Right) - Alessandro Nesta: Sometimes a team needs a player who can defend dirty and Nesta is my candidate for the role. He will bring pace and athleticism to my back line and will act as a great foil for the graceful Maldini and the stylish Blanc. If not for his athleticism and swiftness, Nesta may have been pipped by Tony Adams to a place in my eleven.

Left Wingback - Gianluca Zambrotta: Zambrotta has the exceptional ability to play at right or left wingback and adds wonderful versatility to my eleven. Hard on the tackle and blessed with a good engine, the Italian will rampage down the wing all match long and will help provide the front men with the necessary support.

Right Wingback - Javier Zanetti: A fantastic leader, Zanetti’s qualities as a wingback are unquestionable. He possesses the requisite defensive attributes and at the same time he has the strength, skill and passing ability to contribute immensely from an attacking perspective.

Central Midfielder (Right) - Roy Keane: Keane epitomizes the sort of ideal commitment that all managers seek from their players. Keane was a monster of a player, one who could run up and down the pitch throughout the ninety minutes contributing thereby at both ends of the pitch. Being a born winner, Keane will captain my team and I am sure he will be able to inject the right sort of desire and aspiration in the other players.

Central Midfielder (Left) - Paul Scholes: Scholes' abilities are often undervalued and I believe in terms of pure footballing skill, he is up there with the very best. The ‘ginger genius’ as he is referred to by Jim White in his book on Manchester United possesses an astute positioning sense and remarkable finishing ability for a midfielder. It is his passing though that really sets him apart as a world class footballer. Scholes can go an entire game without giving the ball away with the outstanding aspect of it being that he doesn’t merely pass the ball backwards or sideways. Scholes along with Zidane and Bergkamp will act as the creative spark of my team.

Trequartista - Zinedine Zidane: Zizou’s close touch and control and his guile and athleticism together with his penchant for coming up with the goods in the biggest of stages made him in many people’s minds the greatest footballer of his generation. Goals in the finals of the World Cup and the Champions League are testament to his big match temperament. For all his ability though, Zidane seldom showboated. His tricks and flicks were always garnered towards ensuring results for the team and that in my opinion sets him apart from the likes of Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Inside Forward - Dennis Bergkamp: Bergkamp is a player of rare ability who when in full flow was a sight to behold. He had the ability to conjure up moments of brilliance out of nothing and his goal against Newcastle United in my opinion ranks as the best goal ever scored in the Premier League. With Bergkamp’s intelligence and Ronaldo’s sheer natural talent, my team will take some stopping.

Centre Forward - Ronaldo: The ‘Brazilian Ronaldo’ as he is referred to these days was when in full flow a treat to watch. He possessed great pace, power and precision and could score goals that others couldn’t dream of. Ronaldo as Martin Tyler would probably put it is both a great goal scorer and a scorer of great goals. In his prime he could leave defenders with twisted blood and finish with the greatest of panache.


Rahul Saha said...

This team has too many egos. It need me as manager.

A Couch-side View said...

I will be nice to you. You can be the fitness coach.

ayan said...

I know a lot of these lists raise similar questions, but what about Henry or a Nedved?

A Couch-side View said...

Neither of them fits in to my formation well enough. Ronaldo has been a proven goal scorer over the years and there is no way I am leaving him out and Bergkamp will play the role of a support striker to perfection. Henry did come very close to selection of course, but to accomodate Henry too many variations need to be made to the set-up.

As for Nedved, I have my width coming from my wingbacks and not from my midfield players, so Nedved misses out. Maybe I can find a place for his amongst the substitutes.

aniruddh said...

Your team indeed is pretty impressive, but considering the fact that you have considered zambrotta n zanetti in your wing play, it may result in loopholes in your defence. Scholes would not be the ideal man as at times, he looks uncomfortable, defensively. Makelele would be a safer bet, or even Edgar Davids. They both work like engines. It would provide a good balance. Having Roberto Carlos at LWB, might be another influencial suggestion.

A Couch-side View said...

@aniruddh: I am not a big fan of Makelele. I believe a team can do well without having a player of his nature. I have written about the position in one of my earlier posts. Scholes for me is a player of special ability. I agree that his tackling isn't the greatest, but he offers so much more to the team.

I also think Zambrotta is better than Roberto Carlos defensively. Carlos is an overrated player in my opinion. Cafu was someone though who I certainly gave a lot of thought to, but Zanetti's work rate ensures that I cant pick Cafu.

aniruddh said...

Well Zambrotta indeed has proved his worth, n i must agree that carlos maybe over-rated, but zambrotta is preferred in the RB position. Moreover there is always the chance of the odd goal when carlos is around. Bout Makelele, maybe i would agree with you, but i did not find Scholes the ideal option, though i really am i die hard red-devil fan. You still think Davids aint an option?

A Couch-side View said...
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