The ‘El Clasico / Manchester Derby’ Composite Best XI

Chris Wright

15th, April 2011


By Chris Wright

With the first of four quick-fire Clasicos and an FA Cup semi-final Manchester derby to look forward to tomorrow, Pies – as is our wont on such occasions – have put together a two-birds-with-one-stone composite best XI from the four clubs involved; Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Why not flick through our Clasico/Mancfest first string, then try and better our selection? We’ve plumped for a zeitgeisty 4-3-3 formation but the tactics board with the little red and blue magnets on is, as they say, your oyster…

GK – Edwin van der Sar, Manchester United

VDS gets the nod betwixt the sticks ahead of Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Joe Hart because, as far as I’m concerned, he’s still the best stopper in world football despite being older than most giant redwoods.

RB – Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid

We’re not exactly spoilt for choice as far as right-backs are concerned. I’m not sold on Dani Alves’ supposedly mercurial abilities, Rafael –  while enthusiastic and ever-improving – is still far too green and Micah Richards just plain ain’t good enough to get in ahead of Senor Ramos.

CB – Gerard Pique, Barcelona

Carles Puyol, Rio Ferdinand and Vincent Kompany are all perfectly worthy shouts but, crucially, Pique is younger, quicker and more poised than all of those aforementioned. The Barca man’s form may have dipped a little recently after a cracking outing last season, but he’s still an elite centre-back in the making.

CB – Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United

To counter Pique’s relative flair, you’re going to need a tough son-of-a-gun, well versed in the dark arts of defending. There is no finer example currently active than Nemanja ‘I will headbutt you until you explode’ Vidic.

LB – Patrice Evra, Manchester United

Again, Paddy is one tough nut and – given that neither Barca, Real or Man City actually possess a left-back that can hold a candle to him – he waltzes in almost completely unopposed.

DMF – Nigel de Jong, Manchester City

In this scribes’ humble opinion, Man City have got themselves one of, if not ‘the’, best destructive midfielders in the business in De Jong. When deployed in front of the defense, De Jong binds City’s often fractious midfield together, a fact which becomes instantly apparent when he’s not available – usually through suspension.

Strange how only one City player makes the cut, especially considering their outlay over the past few years.

CMF – Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid

Never puts a foot wrong, has an impeccable eye for a pass and never whines about taking a kicking. Thinking about it, perhaps playing Alonso alongside De Jong may not be the smartest idea.

CMF – Xavi, Barcelona

With all the slack-jawed eulogising about Barca’s little artisan partisan we do here on Pies, did you really think his spot in our central midfield was ever in doubt?

RWF – Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Basically, Nani can f**k off.

LWF – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Again, Nani can f**k off. Mesut Ozil may have take to life at Madrid like a duck to water but Ronaldo is a force of nature on his day. There’s also the small matter of the 40 goals he has scored for Los Merengues this season…40, blooming, goals.

CF – Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United

String me up if needs be but, regardless of some stellar competition for the sole centre-forward berth, I’m going to opt for the nicotine and nonchalance of one Dimitar Berbatov up top (he’d be in his element, gently caressing the ball hither and thither as Messrs. Messi and Ronaldo darted in and around him all game) even if that does mean having to regretfully snub David Villa, Wayne Rooney, Jo, Carlos Tevez et al – don’t worry though, they’re all on the bench.

So, that’s Pies’ stab at a composite dream team – feel free to post your XIs below…

Posted in Barcelona, Featured, Man City, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Top 10s & lists

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  1. footballfan says:

    I’ll go with

    Alves Carvalho Vidic Marcelo
    Xavi Alonso Scholes
    Messi Rooney Ronaldo

  2. Ben says:

    Alves Kompany Vidic Marcelo

  3. Hootie says:

    No Iniesta? Clearly, you’re just trying to balance things out.

  4. Jack says:

    I think I agree with most your choices here chris…maybe carlos for berba! I would try wriggle scholesy into the mix, just to see him playing alongside xavi. Im a sucker for vincent kompany so many throw him in as well for pique…

  5. Rob says:

    Alves, Ferdinand, Pique, Evra
    Xavi Iniesta
    Ronaldo Messi Villa

  6. Dave says:

    Alves Vidic Ferdinand Evra
    Xavi Alonso Iniesta
    Messi Villa Ronaldo

  7. Liam E says:

    “sex god” (awful name by the way there mate) dont act like a mug. if you dont like it. jog on.

    on a lighter note.
    except for de jong, i would say that was spot on.

  8. Jack says:


    Ramos Kompany Vidic Evra
    De Jong
    Scholes Xavi
    Ronaldo Messi

  9. Rob says:

    Ronaldo would have to learn to play the Barca way though, or he’d be out for Silva or Pedro like a shot!

  10. Ben says:

    Alves Kompany Vidic Marcelo
    De Jong
    Scholes Xavi
    Ronaldo Rooney Messi

  11. youreds says:

    Great lineup, though I would perhaps swap Mascherano or Busquets for De Jong, and definitely have Rooney over Berbatov. I think Rooney in a free role would be unstoppable whereas Dimi tends to be a little one dimensional at times, though undoubtedly a top class footballer.

  12. Chris says:

    @Liam E: Don’t worry about him. Standard troll, dealt with accordingly.

  13. tp says:

    GK: Casillas
    RB: Alves
    CB: Carvalho
    CB: Vidic
    LB: Evra
    DM: Busquets
    CM: Xavi
    CM: Ozil
    RW: Messi
    LW: Ronaldo
    CF: Tevez

  14. George says:


    Ramos Ferdinand Vidic Evra


    Xavi Iniesta

    Ronaldo Villa Messi

    Villa is probably the best striker in the world, and certainly better than Berbatov in my opinion. Messi and Ronaldo pick themselves, no explanation necessary. The midfield 3 of Xavi/Iniesta/Alonso might be a little too lightweight, but I can’t bring myself to drop any of those 3 to accommodate De Jong. Evra, Ramos and Vidic are pretty straightforward choices. It was tough between Pique and Ferdinand, but I feel when fit Ferdinand is the better defender. He also has a great partnership with Vidic. Casillas I think is probably better than VDS, but that decision could go either way really.

  15. Zaaker Bham says:

    I love the cheecky comment on Nani, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHHA.

  16. Rob says:


    Ferdinand, Vidic, Pique
    Alves Marcelo (WIng Backs)
    Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta
    Ronaldo, Messi

  17. Mr. Volatile says:

    its obvious chris wright loves the manure scum! seriously how can you pick VDS over casillas!? what a load of shit! and berbatov over villa!? think you nobhead!

  18. Gilly says:

    Van der sar by far the best keeper. Rafaels the only one who can actually defend, unlike Ramos, Alves, and Richards. Ferdinand and Vidas the best central defensive partnership around but as Rios usually on Twitter I ll go for Piqué. Evra again the only one can defend, unlike Marcelo, Kolarov and Maxwell. Can’t break up the Xavi Iniesta partnership as they are the best around. Alonso to break stuff up and well Ronaldo and Messi walk into any team around. Rather reunited Ronny Rooney duo tho and Tevez Silva, Rio, Busquets, Villa, Higuain and Casillas on the bench

  19. Me Is The Gaffer with a Huge Dick says:

    Hey pies. I don’t understand why you guys are always beating up Nani.
    He is a really good player and has great potential to become one of the greats.
    Any team in Europe would be pleased to have him on their starting lineup.

  20. Mr. Volatile says:

    @ gilly

    you biased fucker! you know fuck all…! how can you say ramos cant defend? you are an idiot! get your facts right you pompus prick!

  21. jamie says:

    @Me Is The Gaffer with a Huge Dick

    Because Nani is a massive cunt.

  22. PADDY says:

    RB – ALVES
    CB – PIQUE
    LB – EVRA
    CM – XAVI
    CM – GIGGS
    RW – MESSI
    CF – TEVEZ


  23. Thierry Ennui says:


    Alves – Puyol – Pique – Adriano


    Xavi – Iniesta

    Pedro – Villa – Messi

    That was easy.

  24. nialando says:

    For all the Casillas love I am seeing in the comments you would think that he had the ability to cure Nani’s gashed leg. Van Der Sar is quite simply the best keeper of his generation.

  25. Chu-Chu says:

    You got to be freaking out of your mind…..
    1. Berbatov over villa. In what universe?
    2. You talked about Pique being young and all, but don’t hesitate to pick VDS over the world best goalie – Casillas…. A joke!
    3. Where is Iniesta? I understand you have to have someone from Man City to look fair but Nigel de Jong? C’mon man…. snap out of your fantasy land

  26. Paul (Gooner) says:

    This is ridiculous.


    Ramos, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra,

    Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso

    Messi, Villa, Ronaldo

    Its not that difficult really. Ferdinand was the only toss up based on the fact he’s always injured but on his days he’s better than Pique et al.

  27. CF4 says:

    The article lost credibility when you chose Berbatov in front of Tevez, Villa, Rooney and Higuain? lol

    What kind of football have you been watching?? When has Berbatov last scored against a big team or even made it in the starting line up? Surely if Ferguson doesnt think he’s up to the task then why would he be on this list or even mentioned??

  28. Chris says:

    @CF4: I chose him because Berba is, technique-wise, a better footballer than the other strikers listed and therefore would be a perfect foil to task with providing the ‘intellectual’ creative link between Ronaldo’s self-absorbed direct approach and Messi’s non-stop flitting.

    Just saying.

  29. mflatley says:

    this is the obvious choice
    ramos pique vidic evra
    xavi de jong iniesta
    messi tevez and…….
    david n’gog
    ha! that will never get old

  30. CF4 says:

    When you say technique-wise do you refer to his first touch? Of which he would be probably be ahead of the pack. However when it comes to his ability to strike the ball it would be debatable that he is better than Villa or Rooney.

    Also providing the ‘intellectual’ creative link between Ronaldo and Messi? I would have to disagree. I have to say, Rooneys creative runs to link up with Ronaldo back in the Man united era was to be feared. In addition Messi and Villa have shown that they link up really well. Evident in the last El Clasico where Messi contributed to both of Villa’s goals.

    I just dont see there being much evident of Berbatov being a good link up play to either of Ronaldo or Messi.
    Anyway enjoyed this debate. Love the site nonetheless.

  31. Chris says:

    @CF4: Thanks mate, and debate is always welcome here.

    I was simply refering to Berbatov’s inclusion with the setup of the rest of the XI in mind. Rather than Rooney’s froth and fury, Tevez and Villa’s knack for a clever finish or Higuain’s sniping, Berba’s impeccable control, clipped round-the-corner passing and ability to roll the ball in from four yards – for me – make him the preferential pick when you consider the attributes of the various players deployed behind and alongside him.

    It’s just a case of ‘horses for courses’ I reckon. Agree to disagree?

  32. Nate says:

    how do you even mention Jo?

  33. Miguel - NYC says:

    Can you take off your premiership/english glasses off and realize that the predictable way of playing destructive football that has brought nothing but heart break to your national team and if it weren’t for international coaches (SAF included) your premiership teams would suck as well…

  34. Justin says:

    Scholes doesn’t belong near a list like this. What are you guys smoaking?

  35. Justin says:

    apparently I’m smoking enough to misspell smoking.

  36. Miguel - NYC says:

    …In what world would Andres Iniesta (2nd in Ballon d’Or) not start?
    How can a butcher like DeJong (kung fu world cup) play ahead of Yaya Toure, Busquets or Mascherano. And btw, have you seen any of the last 5 clasicos where Ramos has done nothing but give Madrid fans reasons to hate him and get ejected for not knowing how to lose. Also, do u not see that spain plays way better when Xabi Alonso does not play. Have u heard of a David Silva, btw. Oh, and Berbatov has 20+ goals because he scored 5 in one game. Not because he has scored many goals when the game is on the line (unlike Tevez, Higuain, Rooney, Villa).
    Pies should stick to funny news…well, this article is just that.

  37. wot happened to woy? says:

    I completely agree with you on Berbatov, I find him a joy to watch (if a little frustrating at times) and this is coming from a Liverpool fan! However I fear he’d get into one of his strops ’cause obvs Messi and Ron score for fun but, so does Xavi and he may just be left to forlornly flick the ball around the edge of the box with his ‘oh god please end it now’ face on.

  38. baem says:

    poor nani.. pls dont hate him.

  39. dave says:

    Ramos Pique Vidic Evra
    Xavi Iniesta
    Messi Rooney Ronaldo

    Rooney over Villa, Higuain and Tevez because he played well together with Ronaldo at Man Utd. Man City have no players except Tevez that get anywhere near this team.

  40. The Yank says:

    MAD props go to you for selecting Berbatov as center-forward. You were right to pick him and your reasoning is clear. As soon as I read 4-3-3 I thought the typical and obvious front line of Ronaldo-Rooney-Messi would be up. What a treat to see Berbatov instead. He could make that line work like no other, and to have Xavi behind him would be an unstoppable force.

    The only criticism I have of the selection is the De Jong/Alonso midfield. I don’t think they are the right players for those positions nor would they work well together (a fact you graciously conceded). I may be biased, but given their recent form, Giggs and Carrick would be my choices in those positions.

    Love the jabs at Nani too. He’s getting there, but no one truly thinks he’s one of the best in the world, except perhaps Nani.

  41. me says:

    Dani Alves Pique Vidic Evra
    Xavi Scholes Iniesta
    Messi Villa Ronaldo

    No defensive midfielder because well……with a midfield like that, this team would get at the minimum 98% of possesion; on a bad day.

  42. blitzen says:

    OK here we go:

    Victor Valdes (yeah, that’s right)
    Alves Pique Vidic Marcelo
    Xaviniesquets (you figure it out)
    Messi Chicharito Villa

    Ronaldo may be a brilliant player, but he’s never going to be able to play alongside Messi. Chicharito is much better at teamwork, plus he is fast and good with his head.

    Subs: Yaya, Casillas, Silva, Ozil.

  43. piffy pete says:

    thank god someone else realizes that berbatov is massively underrated and very much so deserves to be in this lineup as the CF. his technique and skill on the ball is unparalleled by any other striker with the exception of ibrahimovic. its a shame most fans are stupid and dont know a real quality player when they see one. and for him not scoring against any big teams- has everyone forgotten he dragged man united against liverpool with a hattrick? and then won th epenaty against them in the FA cup?

  44. al says:

    GK: Van Der Sar
    LB: Evra
    RB: Alves
    CDM: Alonso
    CM: Xavi
    CM: Iniesta
    LW: Ronaldo
    RW: Messi
    ST: Tevez

  45. Jono says:

    A bit spoilt for choice here, but here’s my XI:
    Alves Pique Vidic Evra
    Iniesta Toure Xavi
    Ronaldo Berbatov Messi

  46. stven says:

    the only thing that really stood out for me was jo on the bench…i’d say the bench size would have to be tripled for him to have any chance. otherwise, not too shabby.

  47. Guy says:

    4-2-3-1 + Bench
    Casillas sub: VDS
    Ramos/Pique/Vidic/Evra subs: Alves, Kompany
    De Jong/Alonso sub: Busquets
    Messi/Xavi/Rooney sub: Iniesta
    Ronaldo subs: Villa, Tevez

    Why would this work? Because Jose Mourinho the manager!! womp, womp, womp…

    Anyway, Rooney would be an absolute beast play just back off Ronaldo again, along with his all-around form hitting stride this year. Messi/Xavi don’t really need explaining, but I would love to see Messi also in a winger role/license to roam in-between the oppositions last-4 and midfielders as Ronaldo pushes the oppositions back line for him. De Jong/Alonso hold down the mid and protect the back like nobody other than Pique/Vidic giving the defensive side a very firm core and allowing Ramos/Evra ability to push forward and support very easily…

    Bring on your Cantona/Cruyff/Pele/Beckenbauer Roster…

  48. The Oracle. says:

    No way, you people all don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Boateng, Pepe, Pique, Marcelo
    Xavi, Iniesta, Kaka
    Ronaldo, Villa, Ozil

    Obertaon, Carvalho, Lass, Benz, Lloris.

    A german/portuguese/spanish/brazilian combo. The best mixture there possibly is. With a French bench. It’s just deadly.

  49. L says:

    Completely agree with everything. Having Berba as the striker is kind of odd for me to see but there’s not really anyone else I’d pick over him. And also, Nani can definitely fuck off.

  50. CK says:



    Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta (need to play together because of their understanding)

    Messi-Villa-Ronaldo (assuming he can work as a team with the other 2)

  51. Ben says:

    Alves S. Ramos Pique Evra
    Busquets Xavi Iniesta
    Messi Villa Ronaldo

    Van der Sar Marcelo Vidic Oezil Alonso Rooney Higuain

  52. Anonymous says:

    Alves, Vidic, Abidal, Evra
    Xavi, Iniesta
    Messi, Tevez, Ronaldo

  53. Chris says:

    A valiant effort to put more Manchester relevance into the side, but really, Vidic is the only player getting in that composite side from Manchester.

    Maybe Evra, if he hadn’t been replaced by an alien body-double who has yet to figure out quite how his body works.

  54. sid says:

    ramos vidic puyol evra
    iniesta xavi scholes
    messi ronaldo villa

  55. sid says:

    ramos vidic puyol marcelo
    iniesta xavi scholes
    messi ronaldo villa

  56. Dax says:

    If we are going by the performance of this season, as opposed to reputation, which seems to be driving most of the 11’s I have seen.
    GK: VDS (This is really a 4 way tie, with all 4 having good seasons but none having an exceptional one. But VDS has been most consistent)

    RB: Dani Alves: He is just having a phenomenal season right now.

    LB: Marcelo: He is right now the most influential LB in football. And he is no worse a defender than Evra, who has slowed considerably, and is having an average season

    CD: Vidic & Kompany: While I have gone with the 2 most consistent,t he best CD performer of all 4 teams has been Eric Abidal. He is better than either of te Barca starters this season. And Dwarfs Ferdinand and the Real lot. The only reason I din’t put him is because he hasn’t gotten as many games there as the Vidic/Komps. Who have also been phenomena;/

    Midfield: Xavi-Iniesta-Busquet-Ozil. This is the easiest picks. In terms of talent, and chemistry. You really cannot get a better combination by putting any 4 together anywhere.

    Forwards: Messi/Ronaldo (One has 49 goals the other has 41) You do the math!

  57. Jim says:

    ramos vidic pique
    nani ozil alonso xavi iniesta
    ronaldo messi

  58. Jim says:

    Hard to choose this XI because I’m a bit spoilt for choice

    GK Casillas
    RB Ramos
    CB Pique
    CB Vidic
    LB Evra
    RM Ozil
    CM Xavi
    LM Iniesta
    RW Ronaldo
    ST Villa
    LW Messi


  59. Gav says:

    Gotta choose Casillas after his Copa Del Rey heroics

  60. minde says:

    all these cunts who say nani, nani – if he played in one of yours crappy team youll be more than happy to have him, the same was with ronaldo, what an incredible pieces of shit you are

  61. Baz says:

    De Jong…ur a joker.
    No Man City player is anywhere near good enough.

    Alves Albiol Ferdinand Fabio
    Messi Scholes Xavi Nani
    Rooney Berbatov

    Kuscszak Evans Ozil Iniesta Lass

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