My European Dream Team – Daniel Speller
Hello everybody and happy Monday evening to you all! You may remember a few weeks ago, I spoke about an upcoming series on the blog where guest writers are invited to put forward what would be their “dream team” consisting of only European players. I haven’t set any limitations on the team with regards to formation or what the players played, it’s literally just eleven players the writer would choose if they could choose from any eleven in history to play together.
Kicking off the series, we have Daniel Speller. Daniel is [much like myself] a football romantic, although he is primarily a Stevenage supporter. Don’t laugh! He’s also a West Ham fan and, although he might claim to be neutral when it comes to the Premier League, he definitely has a soft spot for The Arsenal. Without further ado, I’ll hand over to the man himself:
GK – Gigi Buffon
A world cup winner, eight times Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year winner, ther
e really was no other man I could choose in place of Gigi Buffon. A dominant shot stopper, commander of his area and having amassed over 110 caps for his country, Buffon is a living legend. Considered to be one of the most successful goalkeepers in history and after Serie A success with Juventus this season (where in which he conceded a mere 16 goals in 35 games), there’s a chance Buffon could yet at the ripe old age of 34, see further success.
CB- Carles Puyol
Probably my favourite centre back ever. Hard as nails, committed as ever, Carles Puyol to me is perfection in a centre back. Great in the air and even better in the tackle, he and Pique have formed a formidable partnership for both club and country in recent years. Bringing stability and leadership to the back three, Puyol and the other two members of the back three would be incredibly hard to beat.
CB- Alessandro Nesta
Classy, old fashioned and a winner of practically everything it seems natural to include Nesta into this side. Forming a solid partnership at international level with Cannavaro at the heart of Italy’s defence and with the inclusion of Puyol into this back three, it certainly has heart. Good in the air, fantastic in the tackle and handy with the ball at his feet, Nesta’s inclusion into the team provides stability and aerial prowess.
CB- Fabio Cannavaro
Hard as nails, good in the air Cannavaro’s been there and done it all. World Cup winner with Italy in ’06, Cannavaro had all the leadership skills required to be a brilliant defender. As aforementioned, formed an awesome partnership with Nesta at the heart of Italy’s defence for many years and alongside he and Puyol in this team Cannavaro brings stability. A back three that displays strength, leadership and a lot of balls I struggle to think of an attack that could easily break them down.
CDM- Bastian Schweinsteiger
Hard as nails and here, there and everywhere, Schweni is in my eyes; the epitome of a defensive midfielder. Fantastic passing range, great in the tackle and genuinely a hard bastard, Bastian Schweinsteiger would slot into many a team. Just behind Pirlo, these two would form the perfect partnership, Schweni sweeping and covering whilst Pirlo pours forward spraying passes left, right and centre. With Andres Iniesta in front, the passing ability of this midfield trio is somewhat exciting to contemplate.
CM- Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo’s one of my favourite midfielders of all time and for me not to include him in this team would be a crime. The man’s passing ability, range and execution is incredible. A quite brilliant set-piece taker, tackler and all round midfielder I do genuinely believe Pirlo could walk into any midfield in the world. Euro 2012 might well be Pirlo’s last crack of the dice on the international stage but after Serie A success with Juventus last season, he’ll have a chance to showcase his many talents on the biggest stage of them all – the Champions League – next season.
CM- Andres Iniesta
A world cup winner, Champions League winner and the winner of several La Liga titles and not even thirty, Andres Iniesta has won it all. Along with Xavi – who misses out simply due to Iniesta better going forward – he sits in the middle of one of the greatest teams of all time. A passing ability that certainly rivals Pirlo, Iniesta has a canny ability to pick a pass with pinpoint precision wherever he is on the pitch. Great going forward and as I’ve aforementioned his passing ability’s up there with the best ever. Slotting into the side just in front of Pirlo and Schweinsteiger, Iniesta in this side provides the conductor role and with Pirlo alongside him the technical ability of this midfield just gets me excited thinking about it.
RW- Cristiano Ronaldo
Best player to grace the Premier League in the last five years, Cristiano Ronaldo is a forward that really has got it all. Athleticism; pace, skill, technique, a great finisher of the ball, power, flair, you name it Ronaldo’s got it. Currently in battle with Lionel Messi for the title of the greatest player in the world and for me, Ronaldo just pips it. When you look a bargain at £80m you know you’re a special player and still at a young age Ronaldo really does have the world at his feet.
CAM – Zinedine Zidane
Zizou had it all. At his prime, no words I can think of could do the man justice. A wonderful passer of the ball (a common theme in my side), a skill-set that I don’t think I’ll see matched for a long time and without a doubt the best finisher of a ball I’ve ever seen (with both feet) it’s easy to see why Zidane is regarded by many to be the greatest player or all time. Scorer of the greatest Champions League goal of all time, Zizou just oozed class. A crime to leave him out of the side, Zidane claims his place at the heart of the attacking midfield. Simply a joy to watch.
LW- Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry is without a doubt, the best premier league striker of all time. Fantastic composure, pace, skill, technique and a finishing ability that at times was simply outrageous, Henry lit up the Premier League season upon season at Arsenal. Stuck out on the left simply to accommodate my favourite player of all time, Henry brings everything to this attacking midfield and if it wasn’t for my hero up front, he’d be playing there.
ST – Paolo Di Canio
My hero, Paolo is in my eyes anyway, an absolute legend. Either boiling hot or stone cold with Di Canio there was no middle ground. His goals against Chelsea, Wimbledon and I’ve got to say Manchester United will live forever in my memory. Let’s all do the Barthez anyone? Fantastic with the ball at his feet and a skill-set that every striker wishes for perhaps it was only his temperament which stopped Di Canio reaching the heights that in my opinion he certainly deserved. With support from the wings and the brilliant attacking mind of Zidane just in behind, this front four would certainly be lethal.
Before I forget, you can follow Daniel on twitter @Daniel_Speller.