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No Van Persie or Gerrard in team to stop Ronaldo and Messi’s World XI

| 10.01.2013

Radamel Falcao was the only player outside of Real Madrid or Barcelona to make the FIFA World XI of 2012, which indicates that the Premier League may still be playing at least second best to La Liga in the challenge to be considered the best league in the world.

But we feel that a Premier League XI could more than hold their own against the best that Spain has to offer.

Our team is below and you will note that there have been some major omissions, most notably Robin Van Persie, Santi Cazorla and David Silva.

Sometimes teams are picked with the opposition in mind and it is often stated that the best way to get the better of Barcelona is through getting the ball forward quickly to fast and nimble strikers.

Few would argue that Robin Van Persie is not the best striker in the Premier League at present, but his attributes may not be suited to this one-off game.

Sergio Aguero would present a greater threat with the ball at his feet, especially on the counter attack and with Luis Suarez playing just behind him in the ‘number 10’ role that he is set to play at Liverpool, this pair have the ability to cause problems.

The other thing about Suarez is that he is prepared to run in behind players and this will be vital to stretching the World XI.

Cazorla , Silva and Wayne Rooney to an extent would all be more logical choices to play off a lone striker, but they all have natural tendencies to want the ball into feet to be the creator, rather than the finisher.

A good holding midfielder is essential in this team and Sandro has impressed most in this role this season and picking who would play alongside him was perhaps the trickiest in the team.

Steven Gerrard has the most assists in the Premier League this season, while Yaya Toure’s power at driving forward is hard to ignore.

However, Mousa Dembele has already formed a decent understanding with Sandro at Tottenham and is better on the ball than Toure, meaning he is more likely to create something at pace.

Out wide, wingers who know their job defensively are critical to track marauding full backs and Antonio Valencia and Gareth Bale both have experience of operating in deeper roles.

Both are also obvious attacking threats.

In defence, Nemanja Vidic has been left out solely because he has hardly played this season and Branislav Ivanovic gets the nod at centre half after starring for Chelsea in the role since being moved inside by Rafa Benitez.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.