Karim Benzema or Olivier Giroud: Assessing Who Should Be Considered the Better Player

?Now that we are well and truly in the midst of a football-less world the game’s professionals have had an unusual amount of time on their hands, bound to the confines of their own home. 

Many, having discovered a toilet in a cupboard they’ve never opened before, have taken to harmless challenges, like doing keepy-uppies with loo roll or finishing off the league season on FIFA. 

Karim Benzema, on the other hand, has seen this as an opportunity to vent some pent-up frustration concerning France’s current number nine, Olivier Giroud. 

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH42-ECU-FRA

The Real Madrid striker ?told fans that he cannot be compared to Giroud as the Chelsea forward is a ‘go-kart’ while he is quite clearly a ‘Formula 1 car’. 

Once the arrogance of Benzema’s claim has been fully absorbed, it begs the question: is there any truth to the Frenchman’s assessment?

?Benzema’s last game for the France national team came almost five years ago since it was alleged that he blackmailed his fellow international Mathieu Valbuena. Giroud, meanwhile, has been fulfilling every striker’s dream by leading the line and his nation to World Cup glory while Benzema watched from his sofa. 

Unquestionably this is the foundation of this seemingly unnecessary jibe but would Giroud be behind Benzema in the pecking order had he not been banished from the national team setup?

Let’s take a look at the qualities a striker needs and assess who is really the vehicle of choice for a ten-year-old’s birthday party…


Goalscoring

Karim Benzema

Benzema signed the week after Cristiano Ronaldo and largely remained in his shadow until the Portuguese went to ?Juventus in 2018. Perhaps in his absence the Frenchman has felt the need to make up for the ego that left the Madrid dressing room with CR7 but without Benzema shackled with Ronaldo’s running, he has certainly found the goalscoring touch.

Since Ronaldo’s departure a season and a half ago, only Lionel Messi has scored more La Liga goals than the 35 Benzema has racked up. ?Giroud has mustered four in the ?Premier League in the same timeframe. 

Now to end the argument there would be extremely harsh on Giroud, given the former Arsenal frontman has been afforded less than a quarter of the minutes Benzema has played. 

In terms of numbers per 90 minutes, Giroud actually comes out on top over recent seasons, marginally. The Chelsea striker has a scoring rate of 0.61 non-penalty goals per 90 compared to Benzema’s 0.54. They both take between three and four shots per game but based on expected goals, it’s Benzema who gets the better chances.

That may be due to the quality of Real Madrid compared to Arsenal and Chelsea yet this sees Benzema edge Giroud in terms of goalscoring, but it was closer than on first inspection. 


Aerial Prowess

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH64-FRA-CRO

Perhaps the only category in which Giroud would be more confident of a win is ‘Handsomeness’ but since that isn’t a necessity for a striker, he’ll have to settle for aerial prowess. 

Since 2014, there are only three players in Europe’s top five leagues who can lay claim to more headed goals than the 22 ?Giroud has scored – and all three have played at least 1000 more minutes than the imposing Frenchman. 

Benzema is no slouch in the air himself, standing at 6’1 and chipping in with 16, but Giroud‘s game is so entwined with his ability to dominate the air, he is clearly the better player with the ball above neck-height. 


Hold-up Play

Olivier Giroud

Giroud’s game revolves around his ability to hold up play, much in the same way his teammates revolve around his talismanic figure when the 33-year-old is on form. 

Despite standing at 6’4 and while we’ve established he’s good in the air, some of Giroud’s best play comes in tight spaces with the ball at his feet. There are few players in the modern game who so relish the chance to flick the ball around the corner with the outside of an outstretched boot or delicately cushion a pass to an onrushing teammate.

Benzema himself is adept with his back to goal and is often involved in the majority of Real’s attacks in some form or another but Giroud is in a different league altogether when it comes to hold-up play. 

As his former teammate ?Eden Hazard said: “Olivier’s a target man, maybe the best in the world; I think so.” Agreed. 


Creativity

Karim Benzema

In terms of pure assists, Benzema clearly comes out on top here. Over the past six seasons, the ?Madrid man has been creating a goal for his colleagues every three or four games which is almost twice as often as Giroud has managed. 

This aspect of Benzema’s game has diminished since Ronaldo’s departure? but almost certainly because the Frenchman has been urged to focus more on finishing in the absence of Madrid’s leading marksmen. 

Giroud certainly isn’t a selfish player but due to his role primarily as a target man, many of the layoffs to teammates are in the lead up to a shot rather than a direct effort on goal. 

For years as Ronaldo’s understudy, Benzema‘s main objective was to provide for his teammate, and so has honed his creativity in this selfless role. 


Work Rate

Karim Benzema,Ruben Pena

Giroud may come across as a lumbering figure when he clatters through the gears closing down a full-back, but at 33 years of age, he may argue his energy isn’t best used by pressing from the front. 

In fact, this lack of mobility – perhaps rather than a lack of work rate – seemed to be one of the reasons Frank Lampard opted for Tammy Abraham, or if he were injured, Michy Batshuayi while Giroud was getting splinters on the bench for much of ?Chelsea’s season. 

Benzema, 32 himself, isn’t getting any younger either, but Madrid’s number nine spent his peak years doing the dirty work of a certain Portuguese superstar. His thankless task of filling in the holes left by Ronaldo cannot go forgotten which is why so many Madrid managers have kept faith in him even when he was in the midst of a goal drought. 


Overall

French forward Karim Benzema (L) is subs

As much as Benzema’s comments paint him in an unflattering light, not that his previous dealings with teammates off the pitch were any more savoury, it seems that the Real Madrid man is a better striker than Giroud. 

?However, Benzema’s laboured car analogy unfairly presents the gap in quality between the pair as a gaping chasm.

In terms of likability, there may be some truth in Benzema’s bitter metaphor. Given his extra-curricular antics and general arrogance Benzema’s character is about as appealing as watching a blur of Formula 1 cars drive in circles for two hours while Giroud, in comparison, is the equivalent of a great day at the go-kart track. 

Let’

Everton Targeting Ambitious Moves to Bring Wales Pair Back to England

Exclusive – Everton are looking to establish themselves as one of the Premier League’s elite, and they hope to get there by striking deals for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Having surprised many by landing manager Carlo Ancelotti back when the club were towards the bottom of the table in December 2019, the Toffees are looking to take the next step towards finally achieving their long-term goals.

Carlo Ancelotti

?Everton owner Farhad Moshiri sees Ancelotti as the perfect manager to steer the club back to glory, but there is an acceptance that the playing squad needs improving if they are to compete for the title.

The belief is that Everton need six or seven top-class players to get where they want to be, and a source has confirmed to 90min that club officials have discussed trying to lure both ?Bale and ?Ramsey to Goodison Park.

The logic behind this ambitious plot is that both players are thought to be unsettled at their current clubs. 

Beginning with Bale, ?Real are ready to offload him this summer as they don’t want to pay his huge £350,000-a-week wages, and it is understood that Los Blancos would even let Bale leave on loan with no up-front cost if a club offered to pay the majority of the Welshman’s salary.

As for Ramsey, he has grown frustrated with life at the Allianz Stadium, having started just nine ?Serie A games during his debut season in Turin. He is not keen on spending another season on the bench and he is aware that ?Juventus have informed representatives they would be open to letting him go if the right offer arrived.

The midfielder earns a similar wage to Bale, so covering both would be a huge challenge for Everton, but the Toffees accept that they will have to spend big if they want to keep the club moving in the right direction.


Moshiri believes the core of the current squad is excellent and capable of mounting a real push towards the top of the table, but only if they can add some more star quality.

Landing both Bale and Ramsey would be an enormous challenge, but they are the kind of moves which Everton want to make to compete with ?Liverpool and ?Manchester City for the league title.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Selecting a La Liga Best XI – But Only Using One Player Per Club

An accusation oft-levelled at La Liga is its supposed lack of quality beyond the big three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

The trio dominate the TV deals, have the most money to spend and have shared out all the domestic trophies in Spain for the last 10 years bar: Sevilla (Copa del Rey 2010) and Valencia (Copa del Rey 2019). Athletic Club did win the Supercopa in 2015 as well, if you want to be pedantic.

While Barça, Madrid and Atleti players are the overrepresented bulk of team of the year picks, like toilet roll in yer da’s shopping trolley, there is plenty of quality to be found throughout Spain, despite the gap in money between the super clubs and the rest.

Ok, that’s all fine, but let’s say you were building a Team La Liga to take on the rest of the world and wanted to distribute the places fairly. How on Earth would you do it?

Glad you asked! Here’s how a starting XI, subs bench and managerial pick might look, selecting just one star for each of the 20 clubs…


GK – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Jan Oblak

Diego Simeone is a wonderful defensive coach and his Atleti players are drilled to within an inch of their lives to become human walls…but, all that would matter less, if he didn’t also have the best in the business between the sticks as the last line of defence. 

Four-time (four, Jeremy? That’s insane) Zamora trophy winner Oblak ‘el Pulpo‘ (the octopus) is simply the best keeper there is.


RB – Hugo Mallo (Celta Vigo)

Hugo Mallo

Less glamorous at right-back is Celta Vigo’s ever-dependable Hugo Mallo. The 28-year-old has made over 300 La Liga appearances, all for boyhood club Vigo.

Disclaimer: I promise this is the least exciting choice.


LB – Sergio Reguilon (Sevilla)

Reguilon

Ok, yes Reguilon is only on loan at Sevilla and is technically still a Real Madrid player but let’s ignore that, alright? 

The 23-year-old has been one of the (temporary) signings of the season in La Liga and looks set for a very bright future either at Sevilla, Madrid or somewhere else.


CB – Djene Dakonam (Getafe)

Getafe CF v RC Celta de Vigo  - La Liga

At the beating heart of Pepe Bordalas’ La Liga and now Europa League upstarts is Djene. 

Not the biggest or the flashiest, but the Togo international has been a rock for Geta since joining in 2017, and is fast becoming a favourite of the gossip columns linking his name to a host of Premier League clubs.


CB – Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Sergio Ramos

It had to be. Read more about the controversial brilliance of Sergio Ramos, La Liga’s ‘Big Bad’ ?here, if you want to.


DM – Marc Roca (Espanyol)

Marc Roca

It’s been a horrible season for Barcelona’s other club. Still, Marc Roca is a pretty good defensive midfielder, so they still have that…for now.

After a move to Bayern Munich fell through last summer, he’s unlikely to stick around for the Segunda Division.


CM – Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad)

Martin Odegaard,Sergio Busquets

Another Real Madrid loanee (sorry) but Odegaard has been on fire this season.
?
?Once dismissed as yet another overhyped wonderkid who fell short of their billing, the 21-year-old Norwegian has done an about-face to go from new Fredy Adu to Scandi Iniesta.

Only Lionel Messi (unsurprising) and Levante’s Jose Campaña (more surprising) have made more key passes in La Liga this season, according to the folks at ?WhoScored.


CM: Dani Parejo (Valencia)


Rounding off the midfield is another of La Liga’s arch creators in Dani Parejo. The 30-year-old once of QPR – yeah, I know, weird right – has been Los Ches best player for some time, scoring eight in 2019/20.

He might be the best player in the division who doesn’t belong to one of the big three. Definitely the best at free kicks.


?FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Lionel Messi

Probably don’t need to justify this one. 

This may well be the only choice we all agree on. And, you know what, in these troubled times, that’ll do for me.


FW: Chimy Avila (Osasuna)

Chimy Avila

One of 2019/20’s standout stars before injury cut his season short/even shorter than it has been for the rest of the league.

Fun fact, the rocket-booted Argentinian used to travel to training on a horse. ?Honestly.


?FW: Iñaki s (Athletic Club)

Inaki s

It’s been a disappointing season for Iñaki in La Liga, though the Copa del Rey has somewhat made up for it. He remains one of the league’s good guys and an unstoppable player…on his day.

The 26-year-old effectively tied himself to Athletic Club for life with his nine-year contract last year.


Subs bench: Aitor Fernandez (Levante), Mohammed Salisu (Real Valladolid), Gonzalo Escalante (Eibar), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis), Takefusa Kubo (Mallorca), Lucas Perez (Alaves)

Manager: Diego Martinez (Granada)


Let’

90min’s Greatest Footballers of All Time Draft – As it Happened

?You’re bored. We’re bored. Everyone’s bored. 

We’ve all been indoors for what seems like an eternity. We’ve all watched every Simpsons episode from season 2-10 about a thousand times. We’ve walked the dog a billion times. One day we even did a spot of cleaning. 

And now, we’ve run out of things to do. The boredom has come, and bah gawd is it boring. 

So in the search for new ways to stave off the boredom, we at 90min stumbled on an idea: 

What if we did a greatest footballers of all time draft? 

‘What in the Jesus is that?’ 

I’m glad you asked. 

Seven members of 90min team banded together last week to pick our personal GOAT XIs from carefully collated lists of the top 25 players of all time in each position. 

We picked these teams using an American sports style snake draft format – one pick per person in each of the 11 rounds, with the order of the picks determined via a random draft order generator. Here’s the order that threw up: 

1. ?Chris Deeley

2. ?Scott Saunders

3. ?Jack Gallagher

4. ?Toby Cudworth

5.? Hunter Godson

6. ?Ben Haines 

7. ?Jude Summerfield

And here is how the draft went down: 


Round 1

Diego Maradona

Pick 1 

Chris Deeley selects Diego Maradona

90min‘s number one greatest player of all time, so he had to go first, didn’t he?

Tooted and booted rating: 10/10


Pick 2

Scott Saunders selects Lionel Messi

Scott’s already won the Twitter poll…

Never scored a World Cup knockout round goal rating: 10/10


Pick 3

Jack Gallagher selects Franz Beckenbauer

A left-field pick from Jack, but because Beckenbauer can play literally anywhere it’s probably a good one. 

1974 afro rating: 8/10


Pick 4

Toby Cudworth selects Ronaldo

‘Which one?’ 

‘R9.’

‘Ohhhhh right answer – good pick.’ 

‘Real/fat’ rating: 7/10


Pick 5

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-VERONA-JUVENTUS

Hunter Godson selects Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s looking like a two-horse race between Scott and Hunter on Twitter.

Has a six-pack but can’t grow a beard rating: 10/10 


Pick 6

Ben Haines selects Paolo Maldini

Benjamin selects the most beautiful man on the draft board. 

Can also play tennis rating: 6/10


Pick 7

Jude Summerfield selects Pele

The second best player of all time dropped wayyyyyy down to the last pick in the first round. A steal of a pick for Jude. 

‘Hey ma look at me, I’m Pele’ rating: 9/10


Round 2

Zinedine Zidane

Pick 8

Jude Summerfield selects Zinedine Zidane

And another one! 

‘Siri play ?Coldplay – The Scientist’ rating: 10/10


Pick 9

Ben Haines selects Cafu

Picking his full-backs first is a rogue tactic, but it might pay off. 

Rhymes with Kung-fu rating: 4/10


Pick 10

Hunter Godson selects George Best

Hunter = closet Manchester United fan. 

Norn Iron rating: 10/10


Pick 11

Dutch midfielder Johann Cruyff dribbles

Toby Cudworth selects Johan Cruyff

MUNDIAL READERS WILL LOVE THIS PICK FROM TOBY BECAUSE IT’S CRUYFF AND IN CAPITAL LETTERS. 

Invented modern football rating: 10/10


Pick 12

Jack Gallagher selects Michel Platini

Morality aside, you have to say this pick is class. 

?’The guy I’m really looking for is Mr. Bribe’ rating: 10/10


Pick 13

Ronaldinho

Scott Saunders selects Ronaldinho

And Twitter cheers as Scott picks another of its favourites. 

Currently in prison playing football to win piglets rating: 10/10


Pick 14

Chris Deeley selects Franco Baresi

It’s hard to find fault in this pick to be honest. 

AC Milan fans like him more than Maldini rating: 8/10


Round 3

Pick 15

Chris Deeley selects Lothar Matthaus

Chris Deeley picks a man with an ego almost as inflated as his own.  

Ego rating: 10/10


Pick 16

Andrea Pirlo

Scott Saunders selects Andrea Pirlo

Twitter: ‘Three cheers for Scott!’ 

Drinks red wine rating: 10/10


Pick 17

Jack Gallagher selects Gerd Muller

Platini and Muller in the same team makes Jack’s team a ?something something. 

?Eat my goal rating: 10/10


Pick 18

Toby Cudworth selects Ruud Gullit

Toby has selected Gullit and now we’re all scared because his team is becoming quite good. 

Hates Alan Shearer rating: 7/10


Pick 19

Hunter Godson selects Eusebio

Honestly, I didn’t think Eusebio would be picked at all – never mind 19th overall. 

The first ‘e’ is silent rating: 10/10


Pick 20

FC Barcelona's captain Carles Puyol reac

Ben Haines selects Carles Puyol

Sticking to his guns here, Benjamin is building from the back. 

It’s not Carlos rating: 8/10


Pick 21

Jude Summerfield selects Mane Garrincha

Jude has added some much needed flair to his team that contains Pele and Zinedine Zidane…

Bent legs rating: 8/10


Round 4

?

Pick 22

Jude Summerfield selects Rivelino

…More much needed flair being added to Jude’s team which contains Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Mane Garrincha. 

Moustache rating: 10/10


Pick 23

Ben Haines selects Fernando Hierro

Back four: complete. Ben’s mission: accomplished. 

Played for Bolton rating: 10/10


Pick 24

AC Milan's midfielder Kaka of Brazil cel

Hunter Godson selects Kaka

Good pick from Hunter to be fair.

Loves God rating: 8/10


Pick 25

Toby Cudworth selects Ruud Krol

Ohhhhh so that’s what Toby is doing: he’s picking a Dutch team. Clever…maybe…

Terrible manager rating: 5/10


Pick 26

Jack Gallagher selects Paul Brietner

Another German who can play anywhere for Jack. 

1974 afro rating: 10/10


Pick 27

Scott Saunders selects Steven Gerrard

Twitter: ‘We love you Scotty, we do!’

Phil Collins fandom rating: 9/10


Pick 28

SOCCER-WORLD CUP-1994-BRAZIL-ROMARIO-TROPHY

Chris Deeley selects Romario

Deeley loves those early 90s legends. 

‘I scored 1000 goals…swear’ rating: 10/10


Round 5

?

Pick 29

Chris Deeley selects Roberto Carlos

A Twitter favourite – smart pick up from Deeley. 

‘He must have a foot like a traction engine’ rating: 10/10


Pick 30

Scott Saunders selects Javier Zanetti

A non-Twitter pick from Scott! And bah gawd it’s a good one. 

Olay anti-aging night cream rating: 8/10


Pick 31

Alessandro Nesta of AC Milan

Jack Gallagher selects Alessandro Nesta

Franz Beckenbauer – Alessandro Nesta centre back partnership: delightful. 

Once took the ball off Messi rating: 9/10


Pick 32

Toby Cudworth selects Johan Neeskens

More Dutchmen for Toby. He loves it. 

Not Johan Cruyff rating: 5/10


Pick 33

Hunter Godson selects Andres Iniesta

Kaka and Iniesta together. Nice. 

Made Chelsea fans cry rating: 9/10


Pick 34

Ben Haines selects Gordon Banks

Ben is really sticking to his game plan, selecting a goalkeeper very, very, very early in the draft.

THAT save rating: 10/10


Pick 35

WORLD CUP-1986-FRA-BRA

Jude Summerfield selects Socrates

Jude picks a player he can get cigarettes off. Great shout. 

Weird Greek Philosopher rating: 7/10


Round 6

?

Pick 36

Jude Summerfield selects Luka Modric

And Jack punches the table in disgust as Jude selects the player he had pencilled in for his next pick.

Raging Jude picked him before I could rating: 9/10


Pick 37

Ben Haines selects Claude Makelele

Ok, no one is scoring against Ben’s team. 

Better than N’Golo Kante rating: 10/10


Pick 38

Patrick Vieira,Sol Campbell,Fredrik Ljungberg

Hunter Godson selects Patrick Vieira

It’s just a fantastic pick. It really is. 

Big guy rating: 9/10


Pick 39

Toby Cudworth selects Roy Keane

Every draftee grunts in disgust as Toby picks Roy Keane – the man who could beat up everyone else’s team single handedly. 

Would start a fight with a bouncer in a quiet pub in Donegal rating: 10/10


Pick 40

Jack Gallagher selects Xavi Hernandez

‘I’m taking Xavi…ah dammit, why did I pick him?’ 

?The Curb Your Enthusiasm th?eme plays. 

Team = BROKEN.

Curb Your Enthusiasm rating: 10/10


Pick 41

Paul Scholes

Scott Saunders selects Paul Scholes

Another fan favourite for Scott…so long as he doesn’t play him out left. 

Ginger rating: 10/10


Pick 42

Chris Deeley selects Lilian Thuram

Solid. Solid. Solid. 

Now looks like a theology professor rating: 7/10


Round 7

Juventus midfielder Czech Pavel Nedved r

Pick 43

Chris Deeley selects Pavel Nedved

‘He was born in Cheb’ says Deeley as he makes a pretty damn good selection. 

Born in the town of Cheb rating: 10/10


Pick 44

Scott Saunders selects Sergio Ramos

All that pandering to Twitter ruined with the pick up of the man who made Mohamed Salah cry. 

Shithouse rating: 10/10


Pick 45

Jack Gallagher selects Hristo Stoichkov

A random panic pick at best – obviously still reeling from the disastrous Xavi pick. 

‘How in sweet honourable Jesus do you say that first name?’ rating: 6/10


Pick 46

Toby Cudworth selects Manuel Neuer

‘Ohhhhh he has a mistake in him!’ 

Literally everyone’s response to Toby’s round 7 pick. 

Has a mistake in him rating: 7/10


Pick 47

Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro celebra

Hunter Godson selects Fabio Cannavaro

Hunter selects the smallest man in the world to lead his backline.

Lives in China rating: 7/10


Pick 48

Ben Haines selects Clarence Seedorf

Everybody loves Seedorf.

Likelihood of cameo appearance in HBO show Ballers rating: 8/10


Pick 49

Europa Cup 1 final - "FC Barcelona v Sampdoria"

Jude Summerfield selects Ronald Koeman

‘I need a centre back that can score goals’, says Jude as he picks a centre back who can score goals. 

‘I need a centre back that can score goals’ rating: 9/10


Round 8

?

Pick 50

Jude Summerfield selects Gianluigi Buffon

The best goalkeeper of all time. Nice pick. 

Mid-life crisis rating: 8/10


Pick 51

Paul Gascoigne of Tottenham Hotspur and Paul Birch of Aston Villa

Ben Haines selects Paul Gascoigne

Noted Spurs fan Ben picks noted Spurs legend Gazza. Makes sense.

Football Italia host rating: 1/10


Pick 52

Hunter Godson selects Rio Ferdinand

Noted closet Manchester United fan Hunter picks noted Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand. Makes sense. 

Injured himself lifting the TV remote rating: 10/10


Pick 53

Toby Cudworth selects Gaetano Scirea

After picking a million players who lost World Cup finals, Toby needed a player who actually won one so he selected Juventus legend Scirea. 

Catenaccio rating: 9/10


Pick 54

Jack Gallagher selects Arjen Robben

He’s given up. He’s broken his team. There’s no way back. 

Perfect head shape for a bald man rating: 10/10


Pick 55

Gabriel Batistuta of Fiorentina celebrates

Scott Saunders selects Gabriel Bastituta

Swooping in before Deeley, Scott gets his man: Batigol. 

?Release the Kracken!!!! rating: 10/10


Pick 56

Chris Deeley selects Daniel Passarella

Another clever selection from Deeley. 

Brian appreciation rating: 9/10


Round 9

?

Pick 57

Chris Deeley selects Jairzinho

Less clever, but fun. 

Best Body on the Planet FIFA award: 10/10


Pick 58

Giorgio Chiellini

Scott Saunders selects Giorgio Chiellini

Ramos and Chiellini at the back = THE DREAM.

There Will Be Blood rating: 10/10


Pick 59

Jack Gallagher selects Dani Alves

Jack: ‘It’s between Dani Alves and Carlos Alberto…I’ll take Dani Alves.” 

Hunter: ‘Ah shite.’ 

Can open a beer bottle with an overhead kick rating: 10/10


Pick 60

Toby Cudworth selects Marcel Desailly

Like most of Toby’s team, Desailly can play pretty much anywhere so he fits the bill. 

Great smile rating: 10/10


Pick 61

Hunter Godson selects Carlos Alberto

Second prize. 

Scored a really good goal this one time rating: 9/10


Pick 62

Ben Haines selects Thierry Henry

The best Premier League player ever is selected late in the 9th. 

Renault Clio dealer rating: 8/10


Pick 63

(FILES) File picture of England's nation...

Jude Summerfield selects Bobby Moore

Jude shouts ‘Brexit!’ and selects England’s greatest ever defender. 

West Ham rating: 10/10


Round 10

?

Pick 64

Jude Summerfield selects Denis Irwin

He follows that up by singing Raglan Road and picking Ireland’s greatest ever full back. 

Looks like a History teacher rating: 9/10


Pick 65

Ben Haines selects Jimmy Greaves

Ben has finally picked a forward! Hooraaay! 

Pour Anglais rating: 8/10


Pick 66

Hunter Godson selects Marcelo

Second prize. 

Not as good as a Roberto Carlos rating: 10/10


Pick 67

Philipp Lahm,Thomas Mueller

Toby Cudworth selects Phillip Lahm

Not Dutch, but can play anywhere. Fits Toby’s bill. 

Pep Guardiola <3 rating: 9/10


Pick 68

Jack Gallagher selects Marco van Basten

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in! A late steal in the draft. 

Sleepers (1996 – starring Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon) pick rating: 10/10


Pick 69

Scott Saunders selects Patrice Evra

He couldn’t get Denis Irwin, so he’s got the next best thing. 

Eats raw chicken rating: 10/10


Pick 70

Lev Yashin,Jimmy Greaves

Chris Deeley selects Lev Yashin

The fourth goalkeeper selected, and the only one to win the Ballon d’Or. 

Flat cap rating: 10/10


Round 11

?

Pick 71

Chris Deeley selects Marco Tardelli

For the celebrations alone, this is a good pick. 

Celebration rating: 10/10


Pick 72

Scott Saunders selects Peter Schmeichel 

There’s goals throughout Scott’s team…

‘It’s i before e except after c’ rating: 10/10


Pick 73

Jack Gallagher selects Dino Zoff

Couldn’t get Buffon, but Zoff will more than do a job.

?Jurassic Park rating: 8/10


Pick 74

ITALY V SPAIN

Toby Cudworth selects Roberto Baggio

Toby selects Jack’s spirit animal…the spirit animal he completely forgot about. 

Ponytail rating: 10/10


Pick 75

Hunter Godson selects Edwin van der Sar

Solid but ?can’t dance. The 90min team in a nutshell. 

Played for Fulham rating: 8/10


Pick 76

SOCCER-CHAMPS LEAGUE-MADRID-ANDERLECHT

Ben Haines selects Luis Figo

Another steal late in the draft. Benjamin finishes his team off on a high. 

Shouldn’t have won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 rating: 8/10


Pick 77

Jude Summerfield selects Djalma Santos

And with the final pick of the draft Jude picks…Djalma Santos. Who was a Brazilian footballer…this one time… 

‘Who the f**k is that guy?’ rating: 7/10


Be sure to keep an eye on 90min.com and our social media pages in the coming days (Twitter & Instagram) for the finalised teams, and a chance to vote for whose team you think is the best!


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The Best Players Ever to Wear Each Shirt Number at Real Madrid

One thing that Real Madrid have never lacked is star power. 

Throughout the club’s history, the world’s best players have always played for Los Merengues. They’ll spend whatever to bring the best to the Spanish capital. 

Right-wing dictator General Franco helped fund the blockbuster transfer of Alfredo Di Stéfano from Millionarios in 1953. 

Harry Gregg,Alfredo Di Stefano

Fast-forward to the early noughties and Florentino Pérez’s Galáctico policy emptied the coffers for the best talent around Europe. 

Even last summer was no different; Real spent a cool €300m to bring in Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Eder Militao among an assortment of others.

With all these incredible signings, it means that if you’re a Real Madrid fan, you live a pretty rarefied existence. 

It also means that this eleven of the best players ever to wear each shirt number is probably an unbeatable team.


1. Iker Casillas

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?Six-time ?La Liga winner, three-time ?Champions League winner, more than 500 appearances for the club. The number one shirt is in no doubt. 

The chiselled Madridista dons the gloves in this XI,and it’s no competition. Casillas joined the club at eleven, became captain and led ?Real to win a load of silverware.

It’s just sad that the club that he called home got rid of the man so callously. 

There, there Iker, you’re always welcome in this fantasy XI. 


2. Chendo

Chendo of Spain

In choosing Chendo to take the number two shirt, it’s choosing another academy product to show that Madrid aren’t always about flashing the cash.

Miguel Porlán or ‘Chendo’ started and finished his glittering career at Real Madrid. The one-club man racked up more 400 appearances and captained the club to numerous successes. 

Not content there, Chendo wanted the storybook ending so finished his career as a part of the Champions League-winning side that beat ?Juventus on penalties.

A fitting end for a top-quality operator.


3. Roberto Carlos

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-CARLOS

?Owner of the muscliest legs in world football for more than 20 years, Roberto Carlos changed the game. 

Inexplicably sold by ?Inter after only one brilliant season in Italy, Real Madrid only had to pay £5m for the Brazilian’s services.

Carlos’ rampaging down the flank reimagined what full-backs could do in modern football and, armed with his cannon of a left peg, Roberto set the realms of possibility of what defenders were capable of attacking-wise. 

Four league titles, three ?Champions Leagues and an assortment of other medals made his Los Blancos career pretty special. 


4. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Although he’s the biggest villain in world football right now, ?Sergio Ramos should be protected at all costs. It’s characters like Ramos that make football such a compelling game, even if the Madrid captain plays loose and fast with the rules. 

Not everyone can or should be good guys. 

Concussing goalkeepers, purposely getting yellow cards and dislocating shoulders is child’s play to the Spaniard. His record-breaking 26 red cards should be applauded for its absurdity and is likely to never be broken. 

The fact that he’s a serial winner that’s been at the top of the game for 16 years only adds deliciously to his overall image. 

We’re unsure if even his mother likes him, but by God, we know she respects him.


5. Zinedine Zidane

FBL-FIFA-AWARDS-ZIDANE

Zinedine Zidane was so good that people thought nothing of him taking a defender’s number; he made it cool for a midfielder to wear the number five. 

Zidane was the most aesthetically pleasing footballer – the Frenchman’s touch and skill were prodigious. While his Galácticos side might have underachieved in terms of trophies, Zidane wasn’t to blame. 

His 30-yard volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final in Glasgow was a seminal moment for football fans everywhere.

The best player of his generation isn’t left out of any side, and we’re not about to start.


6. Fernando Redondo

Fernando Redondo

?While potentially a contentious selection, people are quick to forget what a crucial player Fernando Redondo was to the Madrid side of the late 90s. 

His play, most notably alongside Steve McManaman, led Real to Champions League glory in 1998 and 2000. His performances were so good that during the success of 2000, Redondo won the competition’s Most Valuable Player award.

It was that year that Redondo famously left Henning Berg all ends up at Old Trafford, with a delicious backheel before putting it on a plate for Raul to finish. After the game, Sir Alex questioned what wizardry Redondo had just done.

“What does this player have in his boots? A magnet?” Fair question.


7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid's new player Portuguese Cris

?When Cristiano signed for Real Madrid for the eye-watering figure of £80m, even the most loyal fans must have been unsure whether the Portuguese striker could repay the fee. 

I think we can now safely say that Ronaldo well outdid even the wildest of expectations for the player. Two league titles, two Copa del Reys and four Champions League titles. Oh, and 451 goals as well.

Cristiano became Madrid’s top goalscorer in 2015 and now outranks Raul’s previous mark by a whopping 128 goals. 


8. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos

The metronomic German midfielder only cost Real Madrid €30m and has been an integral member of multiple successful sides since. 

It was a tough decision for the vaunted number eight shirt between ?Kroos and 80s dynamo, Míchel. Míchel won an absolute boatload of trophies but the verve and panache that the 30-year-old has shown at the Santiago Bernábeu are different gravy.

Míchel might have been a serial winner, but it’s fair to say that he didn’t face the type of competition that La Liga has now. 


Kroos is the man for the biggest occasion, he brings tempo and technical skill to his role.


9. Alfredo Di Stéfano

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-FIORENTINA-KOPA-DI STEFANO

The club’s first global superstar, Alfredo Di Stéfano helped establish the club’s most successful period, winning eight league titles and five European Cups in eleven years. 

Whenever there’s a list of the ‘world’s best players’, the Argentinian is always near the top. Pelé, who knows a thing or two about football, called Di Stéfano the best Argentinian player ‘ever’ in 2009. 

The striker scored in five consecutive European finals, including a hat-trick in the last one. The list of achievements and the testimonials by contemporaries are endless.

A simple choice – he’s a footballing legend.


10. Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskas

?The greatest Hungarian footballer ever, Puskás made a formidable partnership alongside Di Stéfano. One of the most prolific strikers ever, Puskás eventually moved to Madrid after scoring 358 times for Budapest Honvéd in 1958.

He joined the club at 31, perhaps not as trim as he once was, but that didn’t stop the Hungarian. In his first La Liga season, Puskás notched four hat-tricks as Real Madrid stormed the league. 

His trophy collection is as ridiculous as his scoring rate, five league titles and three European Cups. 


11. Francisco Gento

Alex Stepney,Francisco Gento

There might be some surprise that a certain Brazilian striker isn’t in our final spot, but in terms of their Real Madrid careers, there are few comparisons to Francisco Gento. 

The most successful player in Real Madrid history, Gento won 23 major honours in an 18-year career that included more than 400 appearances. 

Ronaldo’s best club moments happened in either an Inter shirt or worse still, a Barcelona shirt. Gento is the most decorated players in Los Merengues’ history, so there’s no debate really.


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