Draft Teams Season Simulation Season Recap Poll: Best of the Best

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Here's a look at Raphael Honigstein's complete roster and the writer's analysis of his team, including his preferred starting lineup and his assessment of how these players would come together on the field.

Team Honigstein: Draft Results
MY PICKOVERALLPLAYER
11FLionel Messi

Lionel Messistarter

Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year; 205 goals and 83 assists 310 games.

220FKarl Heinz Rummenigge

Karl Heinz Rummeniggestarter

Twice European Footballer of the Year; 230 league goals in 424 games

321M/FCristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldostarter

Most expensive player in soccer history; 1st Real player to score 50 goals in a season

440FRomario

Romario

Golden Ball winner 1994 World Cup; 55 goals in 70 games for Brazil

541M/DPaul Breitner

Paul Breitnerstarter

1974 World Cup winner; 5 league titles; 48 caps and 10 goals for Germany

660MBernd Schuster

Bernd Schusterstarter

1980 European Championship winner, 105 league goals in 445 games

761DBixente Lizarazu

Bixente Lizarazustarter

1998 World Cup winner; 97 caps for France; 5 Bundesliga titles; Euro 2000 winner

880DBilly Costacurta

Billy Costacurta

59 caps for Italy; 460 league games for AC Milan; 7 Serie A, 5 Champions League titles

981DJurgen Kohler

Jurgen Kohlerstarter

1990 World Cup winner; 105 caps for Germany; Euro 1996 winner

10100DDani Alves

Dani Alvesstarter

Most expensive defender in history; 51 caps for Brazil; 2 Champions League titles

11101DGerard Pique

Gerard Piquestarter

3 La Liga titles; 2 Champions League titles; 2010 World Cup winner; 34 caps for Spain

12120FWayne Rooney

Wayne Rooneystarter

4 English league titles; 72 caps, 28 goals for England; 1 Champions League title

13121FRaul

Raul

All-time leading scorer for Real Madrid, Champions League; 102 caps, 44 goals for Spain

14140GKMichel Preudhomme

Michel Preudhommestarter

5-time Belgian GK of the Year; 58 caps for Belgium; 3 Belgian league titles

15141DMMarcos Senna

Marcos Senna

Euro 2008 winner; 28 caps for Spain; Don Balon Award 2008 for best Spanish Player

16160GKVictor Valdes

Victor Valdes

5 La Liga titles; 3 Champions League titles; 2010 World Cup winner

Team Honigstein: Roster Analysis
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Albert Gea/Landov

TEAM DESCRIPTION: I've picked a team and formation that balances the plethora of attacking options with a solid back-four. The front four, supported by two midfielders who combine aggression, force and imagination, are a particularly mouthwatering prospect.

Generally speaking, I only felt happy picking players that I've personally seen extensively for two reason. Firstly, YouTube, black & white footage and old newspaper clippings are unreliable sources. There is simply no way to properly assess older player's true potential unless you want to take the views of their contemporaries as gospel. This, however, is problematic, as objectivity frequently gives way to grand, romantic narratives. One example is the relative anonymity of Fritz Walter outside (West) Germany. Walter, part of the team that overcame the much-fancied Hungarians in the 1954 won the Cup but ended up on the wrong side of football history in the process. His outrageous talent, visible to all those who actually bother to watch full matches of the competition in Switzerland has been forgotten. His skills (and those of his teammates) needed to be downplayed in subsequent years to make Hungary's failure appear even more tragic.

The glorification of the past also conveniently ignores the fact that football has changed beyond recognition over the last 25 years. By definition, current players are more athletic, faster, tactically better versed and arguably on a higher plane technically than their predecessors.

As far my team's tactic's go, I favor a flexible, non-dogmatic approach. The team is of course attacking in nature, but will only press in irregular bursts. When not in possession, I intend to play a fairly high line to keep the distance between the lines at a minimum. Messi, Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo will also take turns to switch with Rummenigge in the most-forward position to allow each of them a bit of respite but also threaten the back-four with their pace. Those four players and Raul are also pretty much interchangeable when it comes to the four attacking positions and thus provide plenty of options to adjust in relation to the opposition. Goals shouldn't be problem.

TEAM FORMATION: 4-2-3-1

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