Gear up, because you’re in for 1100 words or so of pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, filthy bragging.
Friday, March 27, 2020, was a unique day at 90min Towers (the remote version, we’re all in isolation), as seven members of the team came together on Google Hangouts to snake draft their greatest teams of all time into a full, coherent, working eleven.
It led to some incredible creations, endless possibilities and dream scenarios…but also the instant realisation that one team was sticking out as the clear and obvious winners of this competition from the very, very start.
Spoiler alert. That team was mine (you’ll need to scroll across to the fourth image on the Instagram embed). And it was confirmed on Friday, April 3, 2020 via a landslide Twitter poll.
Here’s the full story behind the selections for Scott Saunders’ Greatest Team, one to eleven, even with some imaginary tactical instructions thrown in there – just because this whole process has been entirely about just that; imagination.
You can catch the full story of the draft here.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
(GK) Peter Schmeichel
For my money, the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history. And while Big Pete perhaps sits beneath others in the rankings for greatest goalkeeper in football history, he was pretty damn good, pretty damn scary, and was a bloody good winner.
It’s all about standards, this team. And Peter Schmeichel demanded standards so high out of a group of Manchester United youngsters that he probably made Gary Neville literally s*** himself at least once.
Javier Zanetti (RB)
What a player this guy was. Not only did he play football professionally until he was about 86 years old, but he made it look so easy. Zanetti could defend, run all day, and also famously scored against England at a World Cup with a rasper of a shot. That’s the right back I picked.
This team remember is playing this draft tournament in modern times, so it needed a player who could excel in any era he was dropped into. Zanetti would still be a baller now. Just look at the clip above for a reminder of his brilliance.
Sergio Ramos (CB)
Massive s***house, born champion, personal favourite. Just what this team needs.
He’s taking names and breaking shoulders.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB)
Ramos is the flash, glamorous centre half of the pairing, so it’s about right to partner him alongside the hardest of double-hard bastards.
Giorgio Chiellini walks into this team and gets his head in here it hurts, and just like his partner – does whatever it takes to win. Good luck getting past this lot.
Chiellini will then mercilessly mock the failings of his fallen opponents after beating them (shout out Tottenham Hotspur), which is a pre-requisite of this club, and a continued theme throughout this article.
Patrice Evra (LB)
When the weak link (sorry Pat) of your team is Patrice Evra, you know you’re doing something right.
Evra was the final player drafted into this eleven, but he’ll add a whole lot going forward. You just wait til you see who he gets to overlap on the left wing.
Stuff of dreams, pal.
Andrea Pirlo (DM)
I’ll level with you. Andrea Pirlo was drafted early in this game out of sheer fear that anybody else was going to snap him up first. There was a vision in my head about how it would work and Pirlo was absolutely crucial to it.
Sitting just in front of the defence, spraying passes every which way, letting everyone else do the running for him as he just strolls around looking cool as s***.
Steven Gerrard (CM)
I just dropped the line “letting everyone else do the running for him” about Andrea Pirlo, and the massively-not-positionally-disciplined Steven Gerrard is one of those lucky tykes.
There’s a lot of good things about Gerrard, though. He’s full of energy, can pop up anywhere, is basically good at everything else and he can be majorly decisive. He’s a proper captain, and he’s been put in what most will regard as his strongest role on the pitch here.
…in a position where he doesn’t have to drop in the defensive line, slip and lose the ball.
(Sorry Stevie ur gonna score loads of goals in this team, but had to drop that in there because it’s Slip Day.)
Paul Scholes (CM)
Paul Scholes scored more Champions League goals (25) than any other central midfielder in the history of the competition.
Some of them were pretty good too. ?pic.twitter.com/7mdBUZylZs
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 18, 2020
Alongside Pirlo and Gerrard is Paul Scholes. Peak Paul Scholes.
But Scholes is under orders in this team to sit a little deeper than his old Liverpool rival will be doing. Gerrard’s dynamism is going to cause problems for defences, so we’re going to need Scholesy to hold his discipline.
That is, until it’s time to tackle.
The Man Utd great is more than welcome to play his little passes in midfield with Pirlo before one of them pops it forward, and Scholes has been given the Football Manager command of ‘Shoot on Sight’ – because we all know how he can hit them.
Lionel Messi (RW)
?? 3 years ago today, Messi scored the last minute winner at the Bernabeu in El Clasico. That was his 500th goal for Barcelona. That celebration will never be forgotten. ? pic.twitter.com/Oxtn3Yl1dP
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) April 23, 2020
Lionel Messi was draft pick number one for this team, and pick two overall.
But most from this generation (those who didn’t really see Maradona and Pele play at their prime) believe that this man is the greatest footballer to ever walk the planet.
Good job that this competition was put to a vote on Twitter, then, and Football Twitter did its thing when it saw Messi and his teammates down on a lineup graphic.
The good thing about this team is every player has been handed their strongest role, and it will still make making Messi play at its best the central focus. He’s flanked by Javier Zanetti and supported by two people Leo will know very well…
Gabriel Batistuta (ST)
? The kit
? The player
? The finish
These days Gabriel Batistuta gets his kicks playing polo but on this day in 1999 he smashed home the only goal as Fiorentina beat Arsenal at Wembley. pic.twitter.com/rYT6484yAF
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 27, 2019
The central striker role was a tough position to select. It needed somebody who you’d fancy to play up front on his own in the modern game, somebody who could pull off the impossible all on his own and somebody who had a name incredibly satisfying to scream after he’d just smashed one in the back of the net.
Someone whose name actually had the word ‘gol’ put in it, because he scored so many of them.
Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi have played together before at Barcelona. Ronaldinho is one of the most popular footballers of all time. And Ronaldinho was incredible.
So that makes him a perfect choice for the position on the left wing.
I had visions of his remarkable dribble and goal at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid when making this left wing selection, and you’d better believe Ron carved up every one of those other meek defences on the way to victory in this eight-team draft competition.
Not a bad team, right?