We picked our all-time Champions League starting XI

Picking a combined starting XI is always going to be tough, someone, somewhere is always going to take issue no matter who you choose.

Picking an all-time Champions League starting XI, a tournament quite literally intended to bring together the best players from the world’s top leagues, is near-impossible.

Yet, here we are doing it anyway.

In an effort to accommodate the attacking side of things, we’ve opted for the popular 433 formation, which gives us a little more freedom to fit our forwards in.

Here we go….

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Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas

Arguably the greatest shot-stopper of all time, Casillas became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the final of the Champions League, and to win it, at 19 years and four days.

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Right back – Dani Alves

This was a toss up between him and Phillip Lahm – but being the most decorated footballer in history, with more than 40 trophies, three of those being the Champions League, just edged it for the Brazilian.

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Centre back – Sergio Ramos

It’s the man you love to hate, the ultimate pantomime villain but one hell of a leader and a proven winner, especially when it comes to this tournament.

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Centre back – Paolo Maldini

Maldini truly made defending an art form, the way the Italian glided into tackles without breaking a sweat was simply a joy to watch. He also won the trophies five times, which isn’t bad, is it?

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Left back – Roberto Carlos

One of the main poster boys for the Galacticos, Roberto Carlos was just incredibly fun to watch – and after all, that’s what this game is all about isn’t it?

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Central midfield – Andrés Iniesta

Iniesta simply operated on a different timeline to everyone around him. In fact he was sometimes guilty of making things look a little bit too easy.

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Central midfield – Clarence Seedorf

The only man to have won the Champions League with three different clubs, Seedorf could do just about everything on a football pitch, becoming one of the most well-rounded and talented players of all time.

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Central midfield – Zinedine Zidane

Similar to Iniesta, Zidane had this capability of making the most severely difficult situations look embarrassingly easy. An artist in every sense of the world.

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Forward – Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo’s ability to adapt his game has been phenomenal. It’s difficult to comprehend the kind of numbers he’s put up throughout the last decade as we’ve just gotten that used to his level of brilliance.

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Forward – Raúl

The greatest out-and-out goalscorer of all time? It’s hard to argue, Raúl was the perfect forward, instinctive, fast, composed and worked incredibly hard.

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Forward – Lionel Messi

Trying to summarise Lionel Messi’s career in a few lines seems criminal, so we’re not even going to attempt it. You already know.

Somehow not in the mood for tonight’s game yet? Take a look through our pick of the greatest Champions League final goals of all time.

Featured image credit: Getty