The World Soccer Team of the Decade
With so many world class players, selecting a World Soccer Team of the Decade for 2000 2010 is almost an impossible job. The debate could go on endlessly and there is no true perfect format for selecting players. This list uses a combination format by choosing from attributes such as club team play, national team play, longevity, statistics, and technique. In addition to the starting 11 players, there are 7 substitute selections to make a full squad of 18 players. Starting Team: (4 2 2 2 formation)The least controversial choice of the whole team, Buffon is easily the best goalkeeper of the decade and the modern soccer generation. A very smooth net minder, Buffon won 4 Italian league championships, or scudettos, with Juventus and a runner’s up UEFA Champions League Medal in 2003. In addition, his play and leadership were integral to Italy’s winning the World Cup in 2006. Although very tall at 6 feet 4 inches, Buffon has cat like reflexes, great agility, and incredible hands. His inspired play seems to instill a sense of calm and confidence over his defensive partners.
Lilian Thuram (France, Juventus)
Through classy defending that combined athleticism, physicality, positioning, and technique, Thuram excelled in both central defense and wide right for club and country. After a wonderful performance for Les Bleus at World Cup 1998, Thuram played an integral part in France’s European Championship 2000 team and World Cup runner’s up team in 2006. Ferdinand combines great size at 6 feet 4 inches and athleticism with excellent composure on the ball. With Manchester United, Ferdinand has won 4 Premier League titles and 1 UEFA Champions League title over the decade. At World Cup 2002 and 2006, Ferdinand put in outstanding performances as England reached the quarterfinals of both tournaments. Milan)
Maldini is the choice as captain of this squad and starter at central defense. Milan, he helped them lift the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2003, 2007, and a runner’s up medal in 2005. Although Maldini retired from the Italian national team in 2002, he led them a few minutes away from winning EURO 2000 and to the second round of the 2002 World Cup. Maldini was selected UEFA Champions League defender of the year in 2007 at the age of 38. Maldini brings wonderful, natural defensive abilities and an amazing presence to every defense that he has anchored. He may be the best defender of all time.
Roberto Carlos (Brazil, Real Madrid
An explosive player with great pace, powerful free kicks, and tenacious defending, Roberto Carlos mans the left back spot for the World Team of the Decade. A mainstay starter for Brazil and Real Madrid, he won one World Cup trophy, one Champions league trophy, and three La Liga titles over the course of the decade. Roberto Carlos showed excellent consistency by starting over 30 league games for Real Madrid in 10 straight years.
Right Midfield, Deep
Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool)
Gerrard’s never ending motor, penetrating runs, and powerful shot will run the deep lying right midfield position for the Decade Team. A legend at Liverpool and stalwart in midfield for England’s national team, Gerrard won two FA Cup trophies, one UEFA Cup, and one Champions League trophy during the decade. Milan showed his true grit and influence on a team as he led Liverpool back from a 3 0 deficit to win in extra time.
Left Midfield, Deep
Patrick Vieira (France, Arsenal, Juventus)
Vieira was a monster in the middle of the field for Arsenal and France throughout the decade. An incredibly powerful player who could break up opposition attacks and make foraging runs to get involved on offense, Vieira sits next to Gerrard in the deep lying midfield role. Vieira helped France win the European Championship in 2000 and reach the final of the 2006 World Cup. His legendary technique, touch, and imagination make Zidane an easy choice in the attacking midfield role. Zidane flourished as maestro of the France national team during the decade and led them to a European Championship in 2000 and a runner’s up finish at the 2006 World Cup. Milan)
Although a slightly different player after losing some pace in the latter part of the decade, Ronaldhino is easily one of the most gifted and influential players of the decade and entire generation. As part of a great attacking line up, he helped Brazil lift the 2002 World Cup trophy and a FIFA Confederations Cup trophy in 2005. With Barcelona, he won two league titles and one UEFA Champions League title. When on form and in full flight, he was simply unstoppable.