Here's a look at Gabriele Marcotti'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.
World Cup winner in 1974; 2-time European Footballer of the Year
Alfredo di Stefanostarter
526 league goals in 660 games; 2-time Ballon d'Or winner; 31 caps for Spain
Benfica's all-time leading scorer; 638 goals in 614 games; 64 caps, 41 goals for Portugal
1998 World Cup winner; 116 caps for France; 2 Champions League titles
75 caps, 3 goals for Brazil,;World Cup winner in 1958 and 1962
Serie A Goalkeeper Of The Year 8 times; 108 caps for Italy; 2006 World Cup winner
12 La Liga titles, 43 caps and 5 goals for Spain; 6 European Cup titles
Captained Uruguay to 1930 World Cup title; 51 international caps for Uruguay
World Cup winner 1958, 1962; 68 caps and 20 goals for Brazil
Played in 3 World Cups; 47 caps for Chile; 4-time Brazilian Defender Of The Year
2 European Cup titles; 26 caps for Italy; 3 Serie A titles
FIFA World Player of the Year 1993; 56 caps and 27 goals for Italy
5 La Liga titles; 3 Champions League titles; 89 caps, 29 goals for Spain
216 league goals in 459 appearances; capped by both Brazil and Italy
426 league games, 66 goals, 63 international caps
58 caps for Italy; 1 Serie A title; 2 UEFA Cups; 328 league games for Inter
TEAM DESCRIPTION: In any draft, the rule of thumb is to go for the best player available, regardless of position, in the first few rounds. In anticipation of this, I made a mental top 10 and figured I'd get one, at best two of my top ten (if I was really lucky). I took Beckenbauer first for the simple reason that he's a defender and I only had two defenders in that top ten, the other was Paolo Maldini and I would have taken him with my second pick, but Iain MacIntosh snapped him up. So I went with Alfredo Di Stefano and was more than happy. I could not believe it when Round 3 rolled round and Eusebio was still out there: again, a no-brainer in my opinion, which meant that I had three of the guys in my top 10.
After that, the strategy shifted to beefing up defensively, for the simple reason that there are many more outstanding attacking players than defensive ones. Marcel Desailly in Round 4 may have been a bit of a gamble, but I loved his versatility, Nilton Santos and Gigi Buffon were logical choices. I took Francisco Gento in Round 7 because I wanted a pure left winger: the risk in these situations is to end up with too many guys out of position.
The logic with Jose Nasazzi was similar: not too many outstanding rightbacks out there, might as well grab one (I went for a more defensive rightback, rather than a wingback type because I figured most teams would be top-heavy with attacking talent). Didi falling to Round 9 was a nice surprise, and I knew that Elias Figueroa, a guy who has been overlooked by many, would be there in Round 10. Finally, an all-rounder, like Carlo Ancelotti to complete the lineup and stiffen up the midfield. Roberto Baggio still available for the bench was a gift from heaven.
The versatility of Fernando Hierro and Sinisa Mihajlovic, as well as their aerial ability and goal scoring from long-range and free kicks made them a no-brainer. Jose Altafini's scoring record is second to none, he's the perfect guy to nick a goal off the bench. And while I doubt the reserve goalkeeper will get much action in a competition like this, with Walter Zenga I feel more than safe (especially since nobody picked up Claudio Caniggia).
I envision a team that can shape-shift tactically depending on the opposition. Base formation will be a 4-3-3, with Nilton Santos and Gento pushing down the left, and Di Stefano and Eusebio swapping positions between centerforward and right wing. If I need to go more attacking, Baggio comes in at right forward, with Di Stefano dropping into midfield alongside Didi and Ancelotti stepping out. Or, I can put Baggio on the left in place of Gento.
And if I really want to shut up shop, I go 3-5-2, adding Fernando Hierro to the back line, pushing Nasazzi and Nilton Santos (or, if I want to get physical, replacing him with Sinisa Mihajlovic) into midfield. I then drop Gento the bench and play Di Stefano just behind Eusebio.
Apart from talent, the other things I looked for were versatility and leadership. Frankly, with the likes of Di Stefano, Hierro, Beckenbauer, Ancelotti, Nasazzi, Figueroa and Buffon in my team, I doubt anyone can match me in that department.
TEAM FORMATION: 4-3-3
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