Best XI Currently in World Football – Using Only Squad Numbers 1-11

?We should all have plenty of time on our hands right about now, so what better way to fill the days than setting some footy-related challenges for you and your mates.

A complete starting XI but only using players with the same initials as you? Your team’s best-ever left-footed only side? Or,? Jamie Carragher’s devilishly tricky world XI…

Well, here at 90min, we’ve gone for our own. So stick your feet up, judge us for leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of the side (yes, really), then put together your own 1-11 side and show us what you’d do differently on Twitter.

GK – Marc-André ter Stegen

Ter Stegen

Squad Number: 1

Sorry, Atlético Madrid fans, but Jan Oblak doesn’t wear the number one shirt at the Wanda Metropolitano.

And sorry, Liverpool fans, but Alisson Becker just isn’t as good as Marc-André ter Stegen

To quote Rafa Benitez, we’re talking about ‘facts’.

RB – Dani Carvajal

Daniel Carvajal

Squad Number: 2

There might be an argument for Kyle Walker to slip into this slot, but Dani Carvajal just about gets the nod for us.

The Real Madrid full-back is still going strong, obeying the rules of the lockdown unlike, well you know, and crucially he’d still fit into most teams across Europe.

So with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Achraf Hakimi snubbing the number two shirt for their respective clubs, Carvajal is just about the obvious choice.

LB – Álex Grimaldo 

Alex Grimaldo

Squad Number: 3

So, how many of you raised an eyebrow and just thought ‘who the f*** is that guy’?

Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell would be the obvious choice for most people in this situation, but Álex Grimaldo has shown more than enough over the last few years to prove he’s one of Europe’s best full-backs and he’s more than deserving of this spot, even if he does ply his trade in Portugal. ?

CB – Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk

Squad Number: 4

In all honesty, this is probably one of just two selections in this team which won’t spark a debate. Virgil van Dijk is the best defender on planet earth and might just be one of the best players too.

Make the most of this, Liverpool fans, as van Dijk is the only one of your players who actually makes this starting XI.

CB – Raphaël Varane

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"

Squad Number: 5

Whoever gave Milan Škriniar and Kalidou Koulibaly such stupid numbers needs to be fired, but even if those two were part of the selection, you’d still find it difficult to argue against Raphaël Varane’s place in this squad.

CM – Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

Squad Number: 6

There are plenty of jokes about Graeme Souness which we could use, but I’m sure we’re all getting a little bit bored about one of the Premier League’s strangest feuds.

Even though he wasn’t picked, Thiago Alcântara deserves a little mention for only just missing out in this Starting XI.

CM – Saúl Ñíguez

Saul Niguez

Squad Number: 8

The two best players who wear the number eight shirt both play in Madrid, but it’s Real’s Toni Kroos who’s getting overlooked this time around.

At his best, the Germany international was probably better than anything we’ve seen from Saúl Ñíguez, but right now it’s the Atléti star who is one of European football’s very best midfielders.

RW – Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

Squad Number: 10

Are there any objections to including the greatest player of all time in this squad?

Yeah, we thought not.

And no, objections from people who have Cristiano Ronaldo as their Twitter avi don’t count. ?

LW – Marco Reus

Marco Reus

Squad Number: 11

This squad is as much about picking the best player for each squad number as it is picking players who can actually play in their position, so in reality, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has actually missed out here due to Lionel Messi.

But Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus certainly hasn’t found his way into this team because of a lack of options elsewhere, as he’s still one of the most dangerous attacking players on the planet.

ST – Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappe

Squad Number: 7

Before you Ronaldo stans start getting your pitchforks out, answer us this.

Why, in April 2020, would Cristiano Ronaldo get into a team ahead of Kylian Mbappé?

And no, Ronaldo’s experience isn’t a good enough answer. Otherwise, we might as well be picking Andy Carroll ahead of Mbappé too…

ST – Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski

Squad Number: 9

There shouldn’t be any debates about this one what so ever.

If the coronavirus outbreak stops football for the rest of the calendar year, then Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is the only player who will be in contention for the Ballon d’Or.

No debates. No questions. Lewandowski is the best number nine on the planet.

For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!


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