By Chris Wright
Having won the thing with Barcelona in 2006 as well as sharing a pitch with a whole phalanx of illustrious names over the years, Ronaldinho was faced with a spot of tricky whittling down when asked by the Daily Mail to select his Champions League dream team recently.
However, Senhor Gaucho eventually managed to settle on a final XI, raising a few eyebrows with some of his picks – selecting a trio of Chelsea alumnus, including current captain John Terry and recently departed top-scorer Frank Lampard.
No place for Cristiano Ronaldo though. What a shame.
His team looked a little something like this…
Cafu John Terry Paolo Maldini Roberto Carlos
Frank Lampard Kaka
Lionel Messi Thierry Henry
Yeah, not bad we suppose.
Ronaldinho added a little explanatory paragraph to accompany each of his selections, having this to say about Terry:
“We [Barcelona] had some big Champions League games against Chelsea, and I could see then why John Terry is still so important for them now. He is very tough to play against, but he is a fantastic leader, the leader you need in those sorts of games.”
“Defenders feel safe knowing that he is ahead of them, the attackers feel safe knowing he is behind them, for me he is the best I have ever seen doing the job of protecting the defence. You never saw him play a bad game.”
Ronny also revealed that he once pleaded with then-Barca coach Frank Rijkaard to snaffle Lampard, but to no avail:
“I told Rijkaard that we should sign him, but he didn’t want to leave Chelsea. I am sure they would not have let him go, at that time he was one of the greats in Europe. His goal record from midfield was what really impressed me.”
Safe to say that Lamps probably wasn’t too put out by staying put, but it would’ve definitely been interesting to see him try his luck at one of European football’s elite at the peak of his powers to see how he got on.
If you fancy reading Ronaldinho’s comments about his entire fantasy XI, then the whole thing is available to peruse here.