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My All-Time Best XI - Centre Midfield

August 14, 2017

The lone central midfield role in my team might just be my hardest decision. There’s just the one midfielder in my line-up to make way for another attacker, but after looking through the greatest midfielders of all time, I already regret it! It hurts me that I’ve left so many off this list, but I could only put so many on the shortlist, so here it is…

 

Zinedine Zidane

 

 

 

 

Turns out Zidane is just as good as a manager as he was a player. Considered by many as the greatest player to grace the game; Zidane had absolutely everything you could ever want from a midfielder and more. A three-time World Player of the Year, World Cup winner, Champions League winner, the list goes on. The master of football and quite possibly the greatest technical player of all time.

 

Major Honours

 

Serie A (2)

Intercontinental Cup (2)

La Liga (1)

Champions League (1)

World Cup (1)

European Championship (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the World Cup with France in 1998

 

 

 

Michel Platini

 

 

 

Platini’s football genius is sometimes overlooked, especially by the younger generation, thanks to his turbulent tenure as UEFA President. Ignoring his life after football, Platini was one of the most gifted midfielders to ever step foot on a football pitch, and there wasn’t many stones he left unturned. The three-time Ballon d’Or winner’s finest hour came at France’s European Championship win in 1984, scoring 9 goals, a tournament record including back-to-back hat-tricks – The greatest individual performance at a European Championship tournament ever.

 

Major Honours

 

Coupe de France (1)

Ligue 1 (1)

Serie A (2)

Coppa Italia (1)

European Cup (1)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

European Championship (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the European Championship with France in 1984

 

 

 

Bobby Charlton

 

 

 

Until very recently, Charlton was Manchester United and England’s leading all-time goal scorer, from midfield! The 1966 Ballon d’Or winner was the driving force behind England’s World Cup win, and 2 years later Manchester United’s European Cup triumph. After surviving the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, Charlton went on to become arguably England, and Manchester United’s greatest ever player.

 

Major Honours

 

English First Division (3)

FA Cup (1)

European Cup (1)

World Cup (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the World Cup with England in 1966

 

 

 

 

Paul Scholes

 

 

 

So good he retired twice - There’s a reason that Barcelona players were scrambling for Paul Scholes’ shirt at the final whistle of the 2011 Champions League final. Regarded by many as the greatest midfielder to ever walk the planet, Paul Scholes was the complete midfielder, bar a late tackle or two of course! You don’t have to look far to find out what some of the greatest names in football have to say about Scholes, most describe him as the greatest of his generation, his trophy cabinet certainly doesn’t disagree.

Major Honours

 

Premier League (11)

FA Cup (3)

Champions League (2)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

Club World Cup (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the Treble with Manchester United in 1999

 

 

 

 

Andreas Iniesta

 

 

 

It would be much quicker for me to tell you what Andreas Iniesta hasn’t won. Pivotal in the Barcelona and Spain dominance in the last decade, was it not for Ronaldo and Messi, he may have a couple of Ballon d’Ors of his own. Iniesta’s crowning moment came in the 2010 World Cup final, scoring the winning goal deep into Extra Time to secure Spain’s first ever World Cup. In a career that has wielded over 30 trophies, it’s easy to see why Iniesta has made this list, a couple of trebles with Barcelona is worth a mention too!

 

Major Honours

 

La Liga (8)

Copa del Rey (5)

Champions League (4)

Club World Cup (3)

World Cup (1)

European Championship (2)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Scoring the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final

 

 

Ruud Gullit

 

 

 

The iconic Dutch maestro was part of the famed trio at AC Milan alongside Rijkard and Van Basten, winning two European Cups along the way. Apart from a successful club career, which spanned across 7 different clubs, Gullit was key in the rebirth of ‘Total Football’ driving Holland to success at the 1988 European Championship. On an individual stage, Gullit was named World Player of the Year twice and also won the Ballon d’Or in 1987. Gullit also went on to win the FA Cup with Chelsea as a manager.

 

Major Honours

 

Eredivise (3)

Dutch Cup (1)

Serie A (3)

European Cup (2)

Coppa Italia (1)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

European Championship (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Winning the European Championship with Holland in 1988

 

 

Zico

 

 

 

“The White Pele” is widely regarded as one of the greatest attacking midfielders of all-time, and also, the best Brazilian player to never win a World Cup. Despite being the fifth highest goal scorer in Brazil’s history, and part of the great 1982 side, Zico always fell short of a World Cup crown. Zico has a seemingly never ending list of individual honours mind, he was also voted 8th in FIFA’s Player of the Century in 1999.

 

Major Honours

 

Brazilian Serie A (3)

Copa Libertadores (1)

Intercontinental Cup (1)

 

Stand-out Achievement

 

Brazil’s fifth highest goal scorer in history

 

 

 

 

So that’s the shortlist – It was close, between three in particular, but I have chosen my central midfielder…

 

Zinedine Zidane

 

There’s no doubt Zidane had everything, the complete midfielder and one of the select few to win everything possible individually and at club level. Here’s how the line-up currently looks…

 

 

 

 

 

I left a few off the shortlist which proved difficult, but in the end I think Zidane was the right choice. Have I missed anyone? Who make central midfield in your All-Time Best XI? Tweet me @zefutbolwriter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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