Welcome back to another XI, today we are going to be taking a look at the record champions from each of the top 11 European leagues, and then making an all time 11 using one player per team.
It will make sense when we get into it!
GOALKEEPER- Rinat Dasayev- Spartak Moscow
The Russian Premier League is 7th in UEFA’s Coefficient ranking, and Spartak Moscow have won the most Russian titles, with 10. My selection for the record Russian champions is goalkeeper Rinat Dasayev, the second best Russian goalkeeper ever behind Lev Yashin.
Dasayev played 335 times for Spartak Moscow during his 11 year stint at the club, and he won the league twice with them, placing second twice. He was named the Soviet player of the year in 1982, and he won the Soviet goalkeeper of the year on five occasions.
He was also in goal as the Soviet Union finished runners up in the 1988 European Championship, and he was widely recognised as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation.
LEFT BACK- Oliver Deschacht- Anderlecht
The Belgian pro league sits eighth in the UEFA Coefficient, and Anderlecht are their record champions, with 34 titles. I had to try and find an Anderlecht left back to fit into this XI, and the best man for the job is Oliver Deschacht.
The Belgian played for Anderlecht between 2001 and 2018, he made nearly 400 league appearances for them and won seven Belgian Pro League titles. He also helped his side win a further seven domestic trophies, so overall he won 14 trophies in seventeen years.
Deschacht is still playing for his third Belgian club Zulte Waregem at the age of 39, and he seems like a good enough option at left back for Anderlecht’s selection.
RIGHT BACK- Gary Neville- Manchester United
England are of course right up there in 2nd in UEFA’s Coefficient ranking, and Manchester United have won the top division 20 times, two ahead of Liverpool’s 18 (soon to be 19).
I left my Manchester United selection until last as they have legends in pretty much every position, but the last position left was right back, and I have gone with Gary Neville. He won eight titles with United, and played exactly 400 times in the Premier League for them.
The Englishman was the perfect right back for the era that he played, solid defensively and he could help out going forward if it was ever required of him.
CENTRE BACK- Franz Beckenbauer- Bayern Munich
The German Bundesliga is third in UEFA’s Coefficient, and of course Bayern Munich have won the most titles with 28. Luckily for me, possibly the greatest centre back of all time made his name at Bayern, Franz Beckenbauer.
Der Kaiser played 427 games for Bayern, and he won the Bundesliga four times. He won two Ballon D’ors in 1972 and 1976, he also was named in the Bundesliga team of the season on twelve occasions.
Statistics don’t completely do Beckenbauer justice though, he is arguably the best defender to have lived and he had an incredibly distinguished career.
CENTRE BACK- Gaetano Scirea- Juventus
The Italian Serie A sits in fourth place in the UEFA Coefficient ranking and Juventus have the most titles with 35. I have also been able to select one of the greatest defenders of all time in the second centre back slot in Gaetano Scirea.
Scirea spent the first two seasons in Bergamo with Atalanta, but then moved to Juventus and carved out a wonderful career that lasted a further 14 years. He won seven Serie A titles with Juventus, along with a European Cup, A UEFA Cup and a UEFA Cup winners cup.
Scirea was an elegant centre back, who played in a very similar way to Beckenbauer. He had an innate reading of the game, and this allowed him to play as a Libero or a midfielder, he was also influential in the Italian side that won the 1982 World Cup.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD- Jacques Santini- Saint Etienne
France’s Ligue 1 the worst of Europe’s “Top five leagues” and the team with the most amount of championships are Saint Etienne with ten titles (it will soon be PSG as they are on eight). Jacques Santini was part of exactly half of Saint Etienne’s triumph’s between 1969 and 1981.
Santini made 324 appearances for Les Verts and won the league title in his first and final season at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. The only other French club he represented was Montpellier, but the best years of his career were clearly spent with the record French Champions.
Since retiring he has become one of the best managers in France and some Tottenham fans will remember his brief stint at White Hart Lane in 2004, he has also managed the French national team and Lyon.
LEFT MIDFIELD- Cristiano Ronaldo- Real Madrid
Spain are right at the top of UEFA’s Coefficient ranking, and Real Madrid are the team with the most La Liga titles with 33. Cristiano is probably the best player to ever represent Los Blancos, and he slots in at left midfield.
Ronaldo spearheaded a Real Madrid side that won three Champions League titles in a row between 2015 and 2018. He also won four Ballon D’ors whilst in Madrid and his battle with Lionel Messi made La Liga the most exciting league in the world.
Ronaldo may have only won two La Liga titles during his nine years in Madrid but his legacy will be there for a long time to come. I have no doubt that he will be remembered as their best ever player when his achievements really settle in. He’s also played for both Man United and Juventus so he knows how to win a title!
RIGHT MIDFIELD- Gheorghe Hagi- Galatasaray
Turkey sit in the final place of UEFA’s Coefficient to make this XI, and Galatasaray are predictably their record champions with 22 titles. Gheorghe Hagi is arguably their greatest ever player and he slots in at right midfield.
Hagi was an attacking midfielder by trade but he was capable in multiple midfield roles so he will have to make do with playing out on the right for this XI, but I couldn’t ignore him when I saw Galatasaray are Turkey’s record champions.
The Romanian won four Super Lig titles in Istanbul and this is where he enjoyed the last five years of his career. Hagi played more games for Galatasaray than any other club that he played for, so it could be argued that this was where he called home.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD- Johan Cruyff- Ajax
While the Dutch Eredivisie has slipped to a lowly ninth place in UEFA’s Coefficient ranking, Ajax (their record champions with 34 titles) produced the player who was the first on this team sheet.
Johan Cruyff revolutionised football as he was part of the most innovative and attacking sides ever at Ajax. ‘Total football’ was a phrase that followed Cruyff around as he was the spearhead of this beautiful way to play the game.
Cruyff won eight titles with Ajax, along with three European cups in a row between 1970 and 1973, his teams not only changed football, but they also dominated it. Cruyff himself won three Ballon D’ors and the Golden Ball at the 1974 World Cup, he was a complete player.
STRIKER- Andriy Shevchenko- Dynamo Kyiv
I was quite surprised to find that the Ukrainian Premier League is in the top 11 of UEFA’s Coefficient, but they sit tenth. Dynamo Kyiv have won 15 titles, and the player I have selected for them is Andriy Shevchenko.
For most of this XI, I have picked the players who were at their best at the specific club selected, but this is not the case with Shevchenko, but he is arguably the best player to have ever played for Dynamo.
Shevchenko had two separate spells with his home club, first between 1993 and 1999, and then between 2009 and 2012. He won five Ukranian Premier Leagues and was the league’s player of the season in 1997.
STRIKER- Eusébio- Benfica
The Primeira Liga is the closest to Europe’s top five leagues in the UEFA Coefficient, and Benfica have won the most titles with 37. Eusébio was an obvious choice as he is one of the greatest goal scorers to have ever lived.
Eusébio won the Primeira Liga eleven times during his 14 year stint at Benfica, and he scored 317 in 301 games for the Eagles. He spearheaded his side to two invincible seasons, and he is Benfica’s best ever player.
He won the World Cup golden boot in 1966, and he was the European Cup top scorer on three occasions. Basically he was just an immense goal scorer, and a certainty in this XI.
That’s all for today! Who would you have picked from these eleven teams?
See you tomorrow!