Ballon d’Or all-time dream team revealed with Messi, Maradona, Pele and both Ronaldos
THE ultimate all-time footie dream team has officially been named – and it is jam-packed with stars.
France Football – the publication behind the Ballon d'Or – have created their greatest ever XI after asking 140 journalists to cast their vote.
Those votes have now been counted and a first, second AND third XI have all been revealed.
Check out the story behind the best XI, below…
GK – Lev Yashin
Second XI – Gianluigi Buffon
Third XI – Manuel Neuer
THE acrobatic Dynamo Moscow legend has long been regarded as the best goalkeeper of all-time.
The 74-cap Soviet Union icon played 812 matches during his career and is believed to have saved around 150 penalties, including 270 clean sheets.
Yashin won the European Goalkeeper of the Year award NINE times during his career.
He beats Italy legend Buffon and German icon Neuer – both still playing – to a spot in the first-team.
RB – Cafu
Second XI – Carlos Alberto
Third XI – Philipp Lahm
WITH 142 international games under his belt, Cafu is the most-capped Brazilian player of all time.
The Serie A legend has been inducted into both Roma and AC Milan's Hall of Fame – winning a league title at each club.
Cafu also won two World Cups during his career, in 1994 and 2002, while reaching the 1998 final, losing to hosts France.
He gets a spot in the first XI ahead of compatriot Carlos Alberto and Germany legend Philipp Lahm.
CB – Franz Beckenbauer
Second XI – Franco Baresi
Third XI – Sergio Ramos
THE original sweeper, Bayern Munich and Germany legend Beckenbauer is given the nod as the only centre-back in the team.
Beckenbauer played 103 times for West Germany, winning the World Cup in 1974.
He also won TWO Ballon d'Or crowns, in 1972 and 1976 – with defenders often overlooked for the award, such was his skill.
Beckenbauer holds off Italy icon Baresi and current Spain star Ramos – the most-capped European player of all time – to a spot in the XI.
LB – Paolo Maldini
Second XI – Roberto Carlos
Third XI – Paul Breitner
A ONE-CLUB legend, Maldini racked up 902 appearances for AC Milan during his 25-year career.
The defender won seven Serie A titles and five European Cups.
Maldini also played 126 times for Italy, helping them reach the 1994 World Cup final.
The superstar finished third in the Ballon d'Or voting TWICE – in 1994 and 2003.
Maldini held off Brazil ace Roberto Carlos and German icon Breitner for a place in the first-team.
RM – Diego Maradona
Second XI – Zinedine Zidane
Third XI – Michel Platini
A GENUINE contender for the title of Greatest of all Time, Maradona helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup.
The Napoli icon was capped 92 times by his country and was even named Player of the Century by Fifa.
Maradona – who died last month – beats France legends Zidane and Platini to a spot in the first XI.
CM – Xavi
Second XI – Andrea Pirlo
Third XI – Johan Neeskens
THE embodiment of Barcelona's famed 'tiki-taka' passing style, Xavi is comfortably one of the best midfielders in football history.
The 133-cap Spain legend won three major international tournaments in a row – the 2010 World Cup, as well as Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.
Xavi also won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns in a trophy-laden career.
He beats Italy ace Pirlo and Dutch star Neeskens to the first-team spot.
CM – Lothar Matthaus
Second XI – Frank Rijkaard
Third XI – Didi
MATTHAUS played in a then-record FIVE World Cup tournaments between 1982 and 1998, captaining West Germany to the title in 1990.
In all, the midfielder was capped 150 times for his country, also winning the European Championship in 1980.
Matthaus won the Ballon d'Or in 1990, while winning seven Bundesliga titles at Bayern Munich AND a Serie A crown at Inter Milan.
The German holds off Dutch legend Rijkaard and Brazil ace Didi to the first XI spot alongside Xavi.
LM – Pele
Second XI – Alfredo Di Stefano
Third XI – Andres Iniesta
ALONG with Maradona, Pele was the stand-out contender for the GOAT title before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo burst onto the scene in the 2000s.
Pele helped Brazil win THREE World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – only missing out in 1966, when England lifted the crown.
The legend won seven Ballons d'Or retrospectively thanks to France Football's 'internationalised reevaluation' – which would be more than Messi's record-holding tally of six.
Pele claimed to have scored over 1,000 goals in his career, but official numbers have him at a still remarkable 767 goals.
He beats Real Madrid legend Di Stefano and Spain star Iniesta to a spot in the team.
RW – Lionel Messi
Second XI – Garrincha
Third XI – George Best
THESE days the fight for the honour of being called the GOAT seems to be a straight fight between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi has won the most Ballons d'Or in history with six, while playing 142 times for Argentina.
The superstar winger has won TEN LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns and counting, still aged just 33.
As well as his six Ballons d'Or, Messi has won almost every imaginable personal accolade, while scoring at nearly one goal per league game.
He understandably beats Brazil legend Garrincha and Man Utd icon Best to the right-wing spot.
ST – Ronaldo
Second XI – Johan Cruyff
Third XI – Marco van Basten
OUTRAGEOUSLY talented, Ronaldo's legacy was only tarnished by a spate of frustrating injuries which saw his career ended all-too soon.
The Brazilian legend won two Ballons d'Or, in 1997 and 2002, winning two World Cup crowns (1994 and 2002), while finishing as a runner-up in 1998.
The Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Barcelona icon scored 62 goals in just 98 international games, while plundering 352 club goals in just over 500 matches.
Ronaldo keeps Dutch legends Cruyff and Van Basten out of the first-team.
LW – Cristiano Ronaldo
Second XI – Ronaldinho
Third XI – Thierry Henry
FINALLY, Portuguese legend Ronaldo takes the left-wing spot having won five Ballons d'Or during his career, second only to Messi.
Ronaldo has scored a scarcely-believable 102 international goals while helping Portugal to a surprise Euro 2016 win and 2018-19 Nations League triumph.
He has won seven league titles in England, Spain and Italy with Man Utd, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Like Messi, he's won almost every personal honour going and beats superstar duo Ronaldinho and Henry to the final spot in the first XI.
Source: Read Full Article