Ballon d'Or Dream Team: Xavi, Messi, Ronaldo chosen, but no Ramos, Zidane or Casillas
France Football have named the 11 winners who make up the Ballon d'Or Dream Team, with Ramos, Casillas and Zidane among the standout omissions.
France Football have announced the names of the 11 chosen players for the prestigious Ballon d’Or Dream Team.
With no Ballon d’Or award this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers felt it was a fitting moment to choose a team made up of the Best XI in history. Ten nominations were picked for each position, with the final team chosen by a judging panel made up of 140 football journalists from around the world, including Diario AS honorary editor, Alfredo Relaño.
Like the candidates, France Football decided to stagger the names of the chosen winners and this Monday afternoon announced the goalkeeper and three defensive nominees in the all-star team, followed by the four chosen midfielders at 17.00 (CET) and the forwards and 18.00.
Lev Yashin named goalkeeper
Beating out the likes of Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon, Gordon Banks and Peter Schmeichel, the late great Lev Yashin was chosen as the Ballon d’Or Dream Team goalkeeper.
The former Dynamo Moscow player, who was known as the 'Black Spider', remains the only keeper to have won a Ballon d’Or, which he claimed in 1963. Yashin passed away in 1990 at the premature age of 60.
Ballon d'Or Dream Team defenders
Moving to defence, Brazil legend Cafú has been nominated as right back ahead of other candidates such as Philipp Lahm, Lilian Thuram and compatriots Carlos Alberto and Djalma Santos. The former AC Milan player lifted the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and remains the most capped Brazil international of all time with 142 appearances.
Cafú is joined by another Milan legend in defence, with Paolo Maldini the expected choice at left back after a stellar career with Italy and the Rossoneri. In the centre of defence, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos has lost out to German great and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Franz Beckenbauer, who scooped the prize in 1972 and 1976. Among the other central defensive candidates were Franco Baresi, Marcel Desailly, current Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman and England World Cup 1966 winner Bobby Moore.
Ballon d'Or Dream Team midfielders
With Casillas and Ramos losing out, Spanish football has its only representative in Barcelona legend and 2010 World Cup winner Xavi. Curiously, the Catalan great has been named as a defensive midfielder, alongside Germany's Lothar Mathaus. Xavi never managed to scoop the individual accolade, coming third in 2009, 2010 and 2011, while Mathaus won the award in 1990 after helping West Germany to the World Cup title in Italy that same year. Xavi and Mathaus have been chosen ahead of other worthy candidates such as Steven Gerard, Pep Guardiola, Frank Rijkard and 1962 winner Josef Masopust.
There have been no surprises with the France Football's nominations for the two offensive midfielders, with Brazil's Pélé and Argentina's Diego Maradona, who tragically passed away a few weeks ago, chosen to fill the positions. The debate surrounding Pélé and Maradona and which of them was the greatest player off all time will continue for decades, but there were no doubts that both would be in the Balon d'Or Best XI. That, of course, means there was no place for Real Madrid legend and current coach, Zinedine Zidane, who won the Balon d'Or in 1998, months after his masterclass in the World Cup final that ensured France's victory over Brazil in Paris.
Ballon d'Or Dream Team forwards
Again there were no surprises with the chosen winners up front, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Ronaldo Nazario making up the final three positions in the Dream Team. Between the three of them, they have won 13 Ballon d'Or trophies.
Barcelona superstar Messi is the record-holder with six titles, followed by his eternal rival Cristiano with five. Ronaldo Nazario, meanwhile, scooped the award on two occasions, in 1997 and 2002.
Some of the other forward candidates (who, to be fair, did not have much of a chance in this category), were George Weah, Romario, Marco Van Basten, Johan Cryuff and Eusabio.