FOOTBALL

France Football 'team of decade': Spaniards dominate 2010-2019 XI

Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta were all included in the French magazine's 2010-2019 ideal XI.

France Football 'team of decade': Spaniards dominate 2010-2019 XI
GIUSEPPE CACACE AFP

The prestigious magazine France Football has put together its 'team of the decade', with four Spaniards among the 2010-2019 ideal XI.

Goalkeeper: Casillas

A winner of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain and the 2014 Champions League with Real Madrid, Iker Casillas has been named the best goalkeeper of the last 10 years, with his inclusion among the 2010, 2011 and 2012 nominees for the Ballon d'Or - a prize created by France Football - also a factor in his selection.

Defence: Lahm, Van Dijk, Ramos, Marcelo

Philipp Lahm and Virgil van Dijk are the only two players in the team never to have appeared in LaLiga. They are joined in defence by Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, who have both collected four Champions League winners' medals at Madrid over the past decade (with Ramos, like Casillas, also helping Spain to world and European titles).

Van Dijk was integral to Liverpool's Champions League win in June and came second to Lionel Messi in the voting for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, while Lahm lifted the World Cup with Germany in 2014 - and amassed club silverware at Bayern Munich, most notably a Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble in 2012/13.

Midfield: Modric, Xavi, Iniesta

Luka Modric, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta make up France Football's three-man midfield. Modric was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2018 after leading Croatia to the World Cup final and, together with Ramos and Marcelo, was a key figure in the Madrid side that claimed a quartet of European crowns between 2014 and 2018.

Meanwhile, Xavi and Iniesta were, alongside Messi, at the heart of the legendary Barcelona side coached by Pep Guardiola, as well as being instrumental in Spain's World Cup victory in South Africa, with the latter netting La Roja's extra-time winner in the final against the Netherlands.

Forwards: Messi, Cristiano, Neymar

Finally, Neymar is joined in attack by Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, the game's two dominant individual forces of recent years - a pair who end the decade as the Ballon d'Or's most decorated players, with five and six, respectively.

As for Neymar, France Football explains that the Brazilian has made the cut not only for his role in trophy triumphs at Santos, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, but also his country's gold-medal win at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

France Football's 'team of the decade' 2010-2019:

Iker Casillas, Philipp Lahm, Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar.