Carles Puyol, the former Spanish International skipper had played with and against some of the World’s best players during his career at Barcelona where he had made over 500 appearances.
Puyol was the captain and the heart of the defense of Barcelona, helping the Catalan Giants to win six La Liga titles along with three Champions League titles in his long successful career.
Recently, the former center back was asked to name a starting XI combined with the toughest players he had ever played with or against. The 38 year old former defender has stated the XI in 4-3-3 formation, consisting of the following players.
Gianluigi Buffon (GK) : The 38 year old goalkeeper has been getting stronger day by day irrespective of his age in Juventus and Italy. So, it’s not a surprise to see the inclusion of the legend in his team. The veteran last man of the Azzurri defence has made 814 appearances in his club career and his 166 caps for Italy representing Italy in five different World Cups, which is an all-time record.
Javier Zanetti (RB) : Puyol has started his defense with the vice president of Inter Milan, the Argentine legend known as “Il Capitano” (The Captain). Zanetti holds the record of appearing for 858 times for Inter Milan, where he had won five Serie A titles along with a Champions League trophy. So, there cannot be no complaint with the selection of the full back in his team.
Alesssandro Nesta (CB) : The 38 year former Barcellona skipper has included another Italian in his defense as the former A.C. Milan center back Alessandro Nesta has been placed in his team. Nesta had an outstanding role for A.C. Milan in Champions League in 2002-03 and 2006-07 season. He had also won the World cup with Italy in 2006.
Paolo Maldini (CB) : Paolo Maldini was one of the most respected defenders ever featured in football history. He had spent his all 25 years of his career serving the A.C. Milan’s defense. The heartbeat of Milan has retired along with his shirt numbered three at San Siro. Maldini won seven Serie A titles along with a record of 5 European cups in his long career. He has been marked as the toughest defender ever faced by the Brazilian legendary striker Ronaldo.
Roberto Carlos (LB) : Carles Puyol has included his rival Real Madrid’s former left back in his team. The former Spanish defender had faced Carlos many times in El Classico and sometimes found it to be difficult to stop the free kicks and runs of the Brazillian. Carlos had won four La Liga titles and three Champions League title in his club career. Alongside these he was the part of the World Cup winning Brazilian squad in 2002.
Andrea Pirlo (CM) : There cannot be any dispute regarding the inclusion of the Italian Magician in his team. Pirlo can be considered as the coolest and most artistic players ever found in football history. The Italian veteran had won two Champions League titles in his fantastic ten year spell at A.C. Milan. Having the sharp vision and passing ability, Pirlo would have not been liked to play against.
Clarence Seedorf (RM) : Seedorf can be considered as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.He had a successful career which includes winning the Champions League with three different teams. He had been very successful in Europe with Ajax, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan.
Zinedine Zidane (LM) : Anyone who had played against the French legend will definitely admit the magical ability of the former Real Madrid midfielder. So, it goes for Puyol also. Zidane helped Real Madrid to win the La Liga back in 2003 while he has recently grabbed the Champions League title as the manager of his former club on May in this year.
Arjen Robben (RF) : Being an integral part of Real Madrid, Arjen Robben had let himself face Puyol many times earlier. Although Spain overcame the Dutch in South Africa in 2010, Puyol has admitted that the Dutchman also made his job tough with his pace and change of direction. But Robben was offended with Puyol’s performance in that World Cup final, where the Dutchman had claimed earlier that the defender should have been sent off for tackling him while he was already booked.
Sergio Aguero (LF) : Sergio Aguero regularly humiliates the best of the defenders. So, it is not surprising to see the inclusion of the Manchester City forward in the squad. Puyol met Aguero when the young Argentine striker was at Atletico Madrid sitting on bench. But still he caused headache to him whenever he went on field.
Didier Drogba (CF) : At his peak, he selected the former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. The striker was tall, powerful, aggressive and strong in the air, being a center back’s the worst ever nightmare. During his career, Drogba scored against Barcelona to guide Chelsea in winning the Champions League back in 2012. Previously Drogba included Puyol in the list of the toughest defenders he had ever met.
Photo by rayand