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Sunday, 19 January 2014

UEFA team of 2013 v Premier League all stars


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UEFA caused a stir this week by releasing its team of 2013 without choosing Barcelona's magic man Lionel Messi. The Argentine play maker is one of the greatest players of all time, but was overlooked for this accolade.

Worse than that, only one current Premier League player made the grade and that was Arsenal's Mesut Ozil. Although he is a fantastic talent, his admission is a bit strange. I mean, he's not even the best player at Arsenal!

This is the team UEFA went.

Goalkeeper - Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Defence - Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), David Alaba (Bayern Munich)

Midfield - Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) Mesut Ozil (Arsenal); Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

Forwards - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St-Germain)

To be honest, that's not a bad side. But we at Squarefootball HQ have put our heads together to come up with a Premier League team capabale of taking on UEFA's chosen ones. 

Goalkeeper - Joe Hart (Man City)

He may have suffered a dip in form this season but Joe Hart remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the business and England fans will be praying he is in top form come the World Cup in Brazil.

Left back - Leighton Baines (Everton)

Baines looks to have finally forced himself ahead of Ashley Cole in the pecking order for England and just keeps getting better with age. Full of running, Baines is lethal at dead ball situations.

Right back - Pablo Zabaleta (Man City)

The Argentine has become a firm favourite with the City fans for his all-action, never-say-die displays down the years. Zabaleta could run up and down that flank all day making telling interceptions and delivering perfect balls into the box. One of the best right backs around. 

Centre back - Vincent Kompany (Man City)

The Manchester City defender is a colossus at the heart of the City defence. Despite the millions they have spent on players over the past few years, Kompany at just £6 million has been their best bit of business by far. A powerful leader and great communicator, City always look better with Kompany in their side. 

Centre back - Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

There were plenty of question marks about the Frenchman when he first arrived on these shores but Koscielny has turned out to be a damn fine Premier League defender. Fearless, quick, talented and cool under pressure, Koscielny's partnership with Mertesacker could help them to win the league.

Midfield - Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

The Belgium international has been given Premier League defenders nightmares over the past year. Comfortable with both feet, Hazard drives at defenders and can carve open the meanest of defences. 

Midfield - Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

The Arsenal midfielder started the 2013/14 season on fire. It was like the arrival of Mesut Ozil had inspired him to bring his A game to the party. Goals and great displays have been the feature of his game and he has totally overshadowed Ozil.

Midfield - Yaya Toure (Man City)

The former Barcelona man is a man mountain in the middle of the park. He may have the occasional off day but when it matters Yaya delivers the goods. Toure is City's second highest scorer in the league this season behind Aguero. When Toure is in full flight, nothing is going to stop him.   

Striker - Wayne Rooney (Man United)

There may be some speculation regarding his future but whenever Rooney crosses that white line he gives his all. Rooney has been United's best player this season by far. Willing to drop off and pick up the ball in midfield, Rooney has amazing vision, tremendous work rate and an eye for goal. 

Striker - Luis Suarez  (Liverpool)

Suarez missed the first six games of the season but you wouldn't know by looking at the goals chart. The controversial Uruguayan has put his biting shame behind him to do what he does best, score goals. Suarez has 22 goals to his name this season, eight more than his nearest challenger Sergio Aguero. Suarez can score from anywhere on the pitch making him one of the dangerous strikers in world football.

Striker - Sergio Aguero (Man City)

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has labelled Aguero the third best player on the planet behind Messi and Ronaldo and it's easy to see why. The Argentinian international is a proper livewire. He never gives up on the ball, is a willing runner and boy can he score. 

Do you agree with our selection? Would you find a spot for Robin van Persie, Steven Gerrard or Oscar? Could this Premier League side give the UEFA team a run for their money? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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