Rank 5, WorldCupStory Club Index: 53,873

Barcelona World Cup XI Dream Team

GKAndoni ZubizarretaSpain2875004
RBRonald KoemanNetherlands2981015
CBRafael MarquezMexico2875026
CBCarles PuyolSpain314134410
MFAndrés IniestaSpain2764720
MFJohan CruyffNetherlands1763037
MFHristo StoichkovBulgaria1764260

The Barcelona World Cup dream team sees representation from 5 countries. At goalkeeper there was really no competition, with Andoni Zubizarreta the standout candidate. There was plenty of choice in the back four, with Gerard Pique and Albert Ferrer unlucky to miss out on selection. With Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez united at centre back, it was necessary to move Ronald Koeman to right back with Sergi completing the defence. This lineup comes with the bonus of goals from 3 players at the back, compensating for lack of goals from a couple of the midfield players.

Despite his lack of goals it is hard to ignore Xavi in the holding role with over 1,000 minutes played over 3 world cups and a winners’ medal. And where would you be having Xavi without Andres Iniesta? The choice here came down to Iniesta, with a world cup winning goal, against the more attacking claims of Estanislao Basora with 4 goals from the 1950 side. Basora narrowly missed out.  The need for goals from midfield is mitigated by the inclusion of two true stars: Johan Cruyff and Hrsito Stoichkov with 9 goals between them. Neither has won a World Cup, but Cruyff is arguably the most influential player ever to grace the World Cup, albeit in a single tournament and he could play anywhere in this side.

Finally it is an all Brazil front line, with Romario and Rivaldo providing 13 goals as well as some theatrical dives. Rivaldo in particular would be sailing very close to the wind today with the harsher enforcement by referees for blatant simulation.  David Villa, who had only just left Valencia in 2010 and was yet to play his first Barcelona game, came very close to selection, with 5 goals from 635 minutes of play.

There is no place in the team for Ronaldinho, Johan Neeskens, nor Lionel Messi based on performances up to 2010, as 1 goal in 571 minutes does not measure up to his reputation nor his Barcelona club performances. The maverick in me wanted to drop Rivaldo in favour of Scotland’s Steve Archibald, but the stats were really too skewed.

With Cruyff on song, this team could beat anyone, but generally the stats are weaker than several other of the European club dream teams, notably Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

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