01 September, 2007

Another World 11 - 1970s Brazil edition

Gordon Banks: As with most of my selections I wasn't fortunate enough to see him perform (not even sexually). However, as a stripling I remember watching many videos of him in action ('Banksy does Dallas' being the most notable). The 1970 World Cup in Mexico City saw the maestro pull off one of the greatest saves of all time, tipping an impossibly difficult shot over the bar. This, and of course all his achievements for club and country, is more than enough for Banksy to cement his place in my fantasy eleven.

Paolo Maldini: Top of his game for three decades, and still held his own in the Champions League final last year. Marked a new era of defenders who offered more than just rock-solid defence; a quality he also held in spades. First touch, instant reading of the game and aerial prowess make Maldini an obvious choice.

Bobby Moore: Epitomises the strong English centre-half and achieved success at the highest levels. A natural leader who went about his work with the smallest fuss, Moore's legacy will live on and on. Perhaps not as naturally gifted as some of my other selections, he made the most of his abilities and proved the importance of mental strength on and off the field.

Carlos Alberto: Imperious centre-half, part of the much-lauded Brazilian team of 1970. Incredible strength and touch, comfortable on all parts of the pitch both in the air and the ground, Alberto was a Brazilian who could actually defend. A stalwart at the back, his defensive capabilities allowed his team-mates the freedom to roam at will.

Franz Beckenbauer: Perhaps the greatest defender of all time, Becks was a tower of strength for Germany. Whether in the heart of defence or as the anchor in front, his touch, reading of the game and simple distrubtion would be just as valued today as they were in his prime. Peerless.

Jairzinho: Another member of the Brazilian World Cup winning-team from 1970. Alongside Pele, Jairzinho is perhaps the most natural talent in the side. His blistering pace and acceleration, coupled with his flair and creativity, make Jairzinho a must have.

Johan Cruyff: As tempting as it was to have his son Jordi, Johan just got the nod. How many other midfielders can be credited with inventing a skill so univeral as the Cruyff turn? He had all the attributes midfielders covet; flair, creativity, touch, vision, determination and he had them in bucketloads.

Zico: Outrageously talented Brazilian. Maybe the greatest set-piece taker of all time and certainly the best haircut ever to grace the Brazilian national side, Zico's attacking credentials speak volumes about his contribution to the beautiful game.

Zidane: Had the pleasure of seeing Zidane in person during his time playing for Real Madrid. I've never seen such grace and ease on the football field. His precision on the ball, whether technical or visionary, is unrivalled in the modern game.

Pele: Quite simply the greatest player to have ever lived, performed sensationally at the highest level and is spokesman for Viagra, a true legend.

Eusebio: Ridiculously quick striker who terrorised defences in the 1950s for Portugal, certainly an equal to any centre forwards who have ever graced the World stage. Extra credit must be given for achieving such notoriety and brilliance for a side far less talented than some of the others mentioned.

Here's a video of 3 members of this world 11 in action, as Brazil score the final goal in their 4-1 victory over Italy, which brought them the 1970 World Cup.

Cheers Laurie!