As many of you football lovers will have seen, earlier today Fifa announced their dream Ballon d’Or team. Now not all the players in the team won the greatest individual prize in world football, but all had been nominated for the award and had appeared in the top 3 players of their respective years.
The team that was announced was as follows, in goal was Russian legend Lev Yashin, in front of him in a back three were Brazilian legend Cafu, the best ball-playing centre back of all time Franz Beckenbauer and the Italian Icon Paolo Maldini.
In midfield, you have one of the greatest passers of the ball ever in Xavi, the German general Lothar Matthaus, the late great Diego Maradona and the man with 1,000 goals and 3 World Cups Pele.
Which leaves a front three consisting of two current players and one former great. The current players couldn’t be anyone else other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They are joined by the deadliest striker with only one working knee, Ronaldo.
Although that is a phenomenal team and would win countless trophies, it got me thinking as to who would be in my dream Ballon d’Or side and how many people would agree on the same team. So let’s divide opinions and pick The Buzz’s all-time Ballon d’Or XI.
Goalkeeper – Lev Yashin
Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper ever to win the coveted award and is rightfully placed on this list. The Black Spider or Black Panther was a Soviet goalkeeper that was known for his commanding presence and for leading his backline. Nicknamed the Black Spider/Panther for wearing a full black kit, Yashin is considered the best goalkeeper to ever grace a field.
Named in the Fifa World Cup Dream Team in 2002 after appearing at 4 finals between 1958 to 1970, Yashin revolutionised the way goalkeeping was viewed due to his imposing ability between the sticks and the fantastic leadership of his defence. Sadly Yashin passed away in March 1990 at the age of 60, but his memory and impact on football live on through the lasting legacy he left behind.
Honourable mentions – Manuel Neuer, Oliver Kahn and Gianluigi Buffon who were all in the top three for the award but never finished first.
Defence – Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini and Sergio Ramos
We will be following the same formation presented by Fifa for their team but have opted for a different back 3. However, we couldn’t change 2 of the back 3 as they are absolute icons of the defensive game.
Firstly we have the only winner of a Ballon d’Or in our selection, Franz Beckenbauer. The best ball-playing centre half to ever grace a pitch. Known as Der Kaiser (“The Emperor”), Beckenbauer is credited for inventing the ‘sweeper’ role in defence. Not afraid to come out to attack a striker or winger before they have chance to turn and run at the goal, Beckenbauer is another man who commanded his backline and was an easy selection for this side.
Paolo Maldini is the second mand to play in our back three and is one of the best players to ever pull on the black and Red of AC Milan. Maldini was known as Capitano and played with his heart on his sleeve through his career. Rarely caught out of position and known for being one of the best at reading the game, the Italian is possibly the greatest leader in world football ever.
The final man in our back three is Sergio Ramos. The former right-sided defender turned centre back is one of Spains best players. A leader, a hard worker and someone who steps up in the big moments, Ramos is the best defender of the current generation. Although he can be let down by his lack of discipline, Ramos has calm down in the latter stages of his career and is a focal point for both club and country. Alongside both Beckenbauer and Maldini, Ramos would be the perfect fit.
Honourable mentions – Alessandro Nesta, Rio Ferdinand, Cafu, Reberto Carlos and John Terry.
Midfield – Lothar Matthaus, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona and Pele
Again, I couldn’t argue with three of the players selected but for me, one had to be changed just so I could fit one of the greatest players ever to fit into this squad.
We’ll start with the rock in our midfield, Lothar Matthaus. The German international played in both midfield and defence during his playing days and was considered one of the greats in both positions. The former Bayern Munich man was inspiring to watch, with his work rate and ability on the ball that wouldn’t be lost into today’s game. A marvellous player and truly worthy of a place in any starting eleven.
The next player had to be shoehorned into the side, so before you kick off saying he isn’t a midfielder, he is in this team. The man who brought us Total Football, Johan Cruyff is regarded as one of the most naturally talented players to ever play. With a skill move named after him in the Cruyff turn, he was miles ahead of his time and made playing the game look effortless. The classy Dutchmen had to be involved as he is also a 3 time Ballon d’Or winner.
The late, great Diego Maradona is the next name on this list and there isn’t much need for explanation. The troubled superstar was fantastic on the ball and could produce moments of magic with relative ease. Although off-field issues did hamper his playing days and live in general, Maradona can’t be left out of the conversation when discussing the greatest players ever. A wizard with the ball at his feet, Maradona shaped the way many players currently look at the game.
The last inclusion in our midfield is the three-time World Cup winner Pele. The man who is considered the greatest player ever, was in the light as Maradona, a technical genius with the ball at his feet. The Brazilian made everything look easy, even on the biggest stages of them all. Playing in one of the greatest sides ever for club and country, Pele shone bright with his flair and clinical finishing ability. Although it makes our midfield very attacking, I’m sure no one can disagree that all of these players had to be included.
Honourable mentions – Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Zinedine Zidane.
Forwards – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo
We have the exact same front three but these are the best front 3 of all time.
We’ll start with Messi first. The record holder for the most Ballon d’Or’s ever with 6, the Argentine is possibly the best dribbler of a ball ever. With a silky ability to carve his way through any defence, Messi simply has to flick a switch and he can turn a game on its head. Not known for his defensive side, Messi carries his Barcelona side in attack, creating and scoring goals for fun, all the while making it look so simple. The winger has reigned at the top of the footballing world alongside a certain player for over a decade and will be considered as one of the greatest of all time.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the epitome of what skill and hard work can help you achieve. Ronaldo has dominated every league he has ever played in whilst also dragging his home nation of Portugal to their first major trophy. Ronaldo is a man possessed with winning. With lighting quick pace, amazing dribbling and an incredibly powerful shot, Ronaldo does things that some players can only dream of. One Ballon d’Or behind Messi, the question will live on for years as to who is the greatest player of this generation, but the real winner out of all of this is the fans who have gotten to watch them showcase their brilliance week in and week out for years.
The final player is someone who if it wasn’t for injuries may have done even more with his career. Ronaldo was the deadliest striker in world football during his time with Inter Milan and Real Madrid. With his rapid pace and unique style of striking the ball, he struck fear into any defence he played against, all the while doing it with only on the working knee. His career was injury struck but makes the achievements that he reached all that more impressive and if he only managed to stay fully fit, who knows what he could have gone onto produce.
Honourable mentions – Luis Figo, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Thierry Henry, Hristo Stoichkov, Dennis Bergkamp and Gerd Müller
That’s our list, let us know in the comments below who your all-time eleven is and make sure you go over to The Buzz’s Facebook and Twitter at WTBDOTCOM and give us a follow and a like to keep up to date with all out live shows and articles that we release.