International football

Maradona, Pelé: Brazil Argentina all-time best combined XI

Keeper - Amadeo Carrizo

The original sweeper-keeper, Carrizo was voted the best South American keeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS. Noted for his ability to start attacks from the back and leave his area, which was unusual at the time, the River Plate keeper was part of the 1958 World Cup-winning squad.

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Right back - Cafu

A force of nature from the right back position, Cafu is the most-capped player in Brazil's history and won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups. He was also named in the World Soccer greatest XI of all time in 2013.



Central defender - Aldair

Another Roma stalwart, Aldair was part of the 1994 World Cup-winning Brazil squad and capped 80 times by his country. An excellent reader of the game, Aldair was noted for his vision and ability to play the ball out from the back as well as his positioning and tackling.

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Central defender - Daniel Passarella

El Gran Capitán led Argentina to glory in 1978 and is widely regarded as one of the best and toughest defenders ever to represent the country. A central defender, Passarella also had an eye for goal, scoring over 100 for his clubs and bagging 22 in 70 caps for Argentina.



Left back - Alberto Tarantini

A World Cup winner in 1978, Tarantini pioneered the wing back position for club and country and also won the 1977 Copa Libertadores with River Plate. But surely he will rate the highlight of his career as a bizarre one-season spell at Birmingham City which ended when he "did a Cantona" by punching a fan.

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Defensive midfield - Dunga

Dunga was something of an anachronism when he emerged into the Brazil side, a no-nonsense defensive midfielder with more of an industrial approach than many of his teammates in the 1994 World Cup-winning squad. Nonetheless, he captained that side and buried the final penalty in the shoot-out victory over Italy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

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Midfielder - Diego Maradona

The Cosmic Barrel, arguably the greatest player ever to grace the pitch, he will always be remembered for the "Hand of God" in 1986 but he was touched by divinity at that tournament, leading Argentina to glory and scoring the "Goal of the Century" in the same game against England. He also inspired Napoli to their only two Serie A titles and scored some of the most outrageous goals ever witnessed.



Midfielder - Ronaldinho

The most naturally gifted player of them all, bar Maradona? Many would say so, and there was certainly no finer sight in football than the buck-toothed genius in full flight. A World Cup winner in 2002, he also lifted the Copa América in 1999 and won the Ballon d'Or in 2005 as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award twice.

Photo: Eddie Keogh Reuters


Forward - Leo Messi

The greatest player of the modern era, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, and the only active player who would make it into a side of Brazilian and Argentinean greats. He has still to match Maradona by leading his country to a major international tournament triumph and will have another chance at the Copa América next year. Argentina's all-time leading scorer ahead of Gabriel Batistuta, Messi's greatness is more connected to Barcelona than the Albiceleste, but he remains one of the best of all time.



Forward - Pelé

The greatest of them all? The debate will never be settled by any logic or science available to man, but O Rei has a pretty decent claim. Three World Cups (although he was injured early in the 1962 triumph, leaving Garrincha to carry the torch) 650 official club goals and still the Canarinha's top scorer despite all the wonderful forwards that have borne his shirt.



Forward - Ronaldo

The finest out and out striker of all-time, O fenômeno was unstoppable on his day, and he had lots of them. Had injuries not ravaged his career he may have settled the "best of all time" debate once and for all, but a career total of 352 club goals in 518 games and 62 in 98 for Brazil speaks for itself. And he was rarely fully fit during his entire career. A 17-year-old at the 1994 World Cup, he did not play but in 2002 he owned the tournament in South Korea and Japan, scoring eight after coming back from almost two years out with a cruciate ligament injury sustained in April 2000.



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