Brazil v Argentina Greatest XIs: And The Winner Is...

The ‘Superclássico das Américas’, one of world football's finest occasions, returns tonight for a 'Friendly' in Belém. But who would be the victors if Brazil's finest ever XI were pitted against Argentina's all time greats?
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The ‘Superclássico das Américas’, one of world football's finest occasions, returns tonight for a 'Friendly' in Belém. But who would be the victors if Brazil's finest ever XI were pitted against Argentina's all time greats?

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The ‘Superclássico das Américas’, one of world football's finest occasions, returns on Wednesday night for a 'Friendly' in Belém. But who would be the victors if Brazil's finest ever XI were pitted against Argentina's all time greats?

Brazil's Greatest XI by Mauricio Savarese

GK: Gilmar dos Santos Neves

World Cup champion in 1958 and 1962. Gilmar was the Brazilian Lev Yashin, for his sober posture and quick reflexes. Santos FC conquered the Intercontinental Cup twice, against Benfica and AC Milan, thanks not only to Pelé, but also to its goalie. 8

RB: Carlos Alberto Torres

Brazil's most utopic capitain was also a maverick. Before him, not many right-backs moved forward enough to score goals. Of course the Argentinians have a 1986 reason to disagree, but it was Torres who actually scored the most beautiful goal in World Cup history, in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy. 8

CB: Lúcio

A very underrated player in Brazil. Despite some fumbles, Lúcio was pivotal to Brazil's defense in the last decade and to the 2002 World Cup title. He is almost perfect on the air and has skills to take the ball to the midfielders. Ask José Mourinho if Inter Milan could have lifted the Champions League in 2009 without him. 7

CB: Bellini

Capitain of the 1958 World Cup team, he was the man who invented the gesture of lifting the trophy up high so everyone could see it. A true leader to young Pelé and Garrincha. At those times when attacking was the centre of everyone's game, Bellini was the safe haven for Brazil's defence. 7

LB: Roberto Carlos

He has won it all for Brazil. He has won it all for Real Madrid. He is 38 and he is so fit some people still count on him for 2014. No one on the planet has taken so many incredible free kicks in the last decades. What else needs to be said? 8

DM: Clodoaldo

Brazil's 1970 dream team had only one defensive player in the middle. And he could play at the same level of the other geniuses there - take a look at the goal he scored against Uruguay in the World Cup semi-finals. Clodoaldo was both sharp at stealing the ball and at making it through. 8

RM: Didi

Named the 1958 World Cup best player. Remember Cristiano Ronaldo's art-piece against Portsmouth? Well, Didi did that 50 years ago. He dominated all skills so clearly his nickname was "Mr. Football". He won a Champions League with Real Madrid, but the colour of his skin got on his way there. Also a 1962 World Cup champion. 10

LM: Garrincha

In the 1958 World Cup he made a difference for sure. But 1962 was all his. Decisive goals and magic. Not to mention all pressure was on him after Pelé got injured in the early stages. Garrincha is the soul of Brazilian football: little knowledge of tactics, but creativity beyond any expectations. 10

AMC: Pelé

He has three World Cup titles. He was the most brilliant player of the most brilliant team ever. He scored more than a thousand goals. He stopped wars in Africa during tours with Santos FC. He was for almost two decades the best in Brazil, at times when the best samba-boys stayed home - not in Europe. He is so incomparable commentators and writers referred to him as He. That's right, in capital letters. Pelé was the best player ever, no doubt about that. And He is also number two and number three on the list. A great Argentinian comes in fourth. 10 (since 11 is not possible)

CF: Ronaldo

There is only one Ronaldo, and he retired this year. Not only was he a Phenomenon for the goals he scored for PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Corinthians and, above all, Brazil. He is the modern Lazarus, who came back again and again despite no one really believed him. Three times World Player of the Year. 10

CF: Romário

Johan Cruyff sums it up: "He is the genius of the penalty box". He was so lethal in front of a goal keeper that his misses are easier to remember than many of the hundreds of goals he scored. Almost by himself, he gave Brazil a World Cup title in 1994. See Maradona-1986 is not that unique? 9

Manager: Mario Jorge Lobo Zagallo

He won two World Cups as a great footballer, in 1958 and 1962. As a head coach, he gave the 1970 team the only it lacked: psychology and confidence. In 1994, as an assistant manager, he was behind many of the ideas Carlos Alberto Parreira embraced. The only person on the planet to have four World Cup titles. He also took Brazil to the World Cup final in 1998. It was a good campaign, with a thrilling semi-final against Holland. But his World Cup successes were so plentiful he even prefers to forget about that one. 10

Total: 105

Pelé was the most brilliant player of the most brilliant team ever. He scored more than a thousand goals. He stopped wars in Africa during tours with Santos FC...

Argentina’s Greatest XI by Daniel Colasimone

GK: Ubaldo Fillol

He was nicknamed ‘The Duck’ and wore the number 5 at the 1978 World Cup, but Fillol was a panther between the sticks and Argentina’s greatest ever number 1. He was fearless, agile and astonishingly bouncy pouncy. He was everything you could want in a keeper. 9

RB: Javier Zanetti

Having made his debut back at the beginning of time, ‘The Tractor’ has played in an incomparable 145 internationals for Argentina. So reliable he’s almost perfect, Zanetti criminally missed out on two World Cups during his prime despite his country’s struggles producing top notch players at right back. 8

CB: Daniel Passarella

The supreme Argentinian defender. At the heart of defence he was snarling and mean as an anarchic gaucho, but coming forward he was a stylish distributer and he scored 22 goals for Argentina in 70 matches, many of which came from curling free kicks. He was the first Argentinian to lift the World Cup and he swaggers into this team without a second thought. 10

CB: Roberto Ayala

The risk of playing without a tall centre back is annulled since both Ayala and Passarella had the ability to spring over three-storey buildings (if they had ever felt the need to do so). With leadership, intelligence and grit in spades, Ayala was a wee balled up force of nature. 8

LB: Silvio Marzolini

The mirror reflection of Zanetti over on the right flank, Marzolini was an elegant, versatile left back renowned for his gentlemanly grace and winning mentality (the two even sported the same timeless haircut). He was named best left back at the 1966 World Cup and is the finest player in that position that Argentina has produced. 8

DM: Diego Simeone

Edging out Javier Mascherano in the deep-lying-destroyer-of-hope role is the irrepressible ‘Cholo’ Simeone. Mr. Knife Between His Teeth is the third most capped player in the history of the Selección. If his coach had asked him to stop a charging Pampas bull, Simeone would have dived in with a two-footed tackle, such was his commitment to the cause. 8

CM: Fernando Redondo

The classiest player of them all, Redondo is the man charged with linking the lines in this Greatest XI. He can grow his hair as long as he wants, we will still select him. 9

AMC: Diego Maradona

Half god and half insane; the perfect ten. 10

RF: Messi

With more than 60 games for Argentina, 17 goals and 20 assists, Messi has participated in two World Cups and two Copas America; dragging a lacklustre and tactically inept Argentina side to the quarter finals of the respective competitions in 2010 and 2011. He is the captain, the focal point, the chi of the current Selección, yet at just 24, one gets the impression he has not yet accomplished a fraction of what he eventually will with the national team. Scary, isn’t it? 8

CF: Gabriel Batistuta

Has there ever been a better out-and-out striker than ‘Batigol’ in his prime? For 11 glorious years this son of a slaughterhouse worker led the frontline for Argentina, becoming the all time leading scorer for the Albiceleste.  Also had the best goal celebration ever. 10

CF: Mario Kempes

‘El Matador’ was the star of Argentina’s first World Cup win in 1978 and set the mould for future generations of number nines like Batistuta and Hernan Crespo. A mere glimpse of his flowing locks must have sent defenders into a cold sweat; he was a voracious scorer, yet with his devoted teamwork and clever movement he offered so much more than other goal machines. Believed to be responsible for the invention of the term ‘man-crush’ in the late 70s. 9

Manager: César Luis Menotti

The great philosopher coach who masterminded Argentina’s 1978 World Cup win would work wonders with this set of players. Forget pragmatism, this team is all about poetry. 9

Final Score: Brazil 105 - 106 Argentina...Argentina edge it!

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