Chelsea Greatest XI vs Barcelona Greatest XI - Who Wins?

Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge tonight, and a resurgent Chelsea are looking to halt the Catalans scintillating form.. But who would win if their greatest elevens faced off?
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Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge tonight, and a resurgent Chelsea are looking to halt the Catalans scintillating form.. But who would win if their greatest elevens faced off?

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Chelsea’s Greatest XI by Laurence Ettridge

GK: Petr Cech

In my opinion still the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. Granted he has spent most of his time working behind one of Chelsea’s best defences but he has consistently pulled off superb saves when called upon – not to mention coming back as good as ever after that horrific head injury. 9

LB: Ashley Cole

Despite perhaps being one of the most hated men in football, Cole’s contributions down the left have been outstanding for Chelsea. Reliable in defence and always making strides to get forward – he probably puts in a harder shift than any other player. 8

CB: John Terry

Captain and talisman. What JT maybe lacks in agility these days he makes up for with his experience and reading of the game. A great presence on the pitch and has successfully marshalled one of the best defences the Premier League has seen to three league titles. 8

CB: Marcel Desailly

Often known as “the rock” Desailly provided a formidable strong presence in the heart of the Blues defence for six years and won an FA Cup in the process. 8

RB: Ron “Chopper” Harris

Just a little before my time but the recommendations of my dad have been duly noted to include a few Chelsea legends. Chopper appeared just shy of 800 times for the club, which is obviously a great service. He was often noted for his physical approach – particularly in the FA Cup final in 1970. 8

Chopper appeared just shy of 800 times for the club, which is obviously a great service. He was often noted for his physical approach…

CM: Claude Makelele

He made the defensive role his own under Mourinho. In recent years the formation with a holding midfielder has by far worked the best for Chelsea and none have taken on the role as well as Makelele. He rarely ventured forward of the halfway line but achieved a 100% shots to goals ratio in the 06-07 season (one shot, one goal). 10

LM: Gianfranco Zola

Not many will ever look as good in a Chelsea shirt as Gianfranco Zola. Anchored by Makelele I can see him cutting in from the left at will, both creating and scoring in my hypothetical mang*sm of a team. An absolute boyhood hero, he was incredible – on the ball, from set-pieces, everywhere. The best.  10

CM: Dennis Wise

An almost purely nostalgic choice here. Wise was a little terrier of a player who Sir Alex Ferguson once described as being able to start a fight in an empty house. But seeing Dennis lift the FA Cup in 1997 as captain is a joy of a childhood memory. 8

RM: Alan Hudson

Another dad recommendation here. Hudson was an Osgood-era playmaker and played in every game in the lead up to the final in 1970 – in this diamond formation no doubt he would have been able to create great service to the front. 9

ST: Peter Osgood It doesn’t even take my old man to point me in the direction of this Chelsea legend. Peter Osgood – “The King of Stamford Bridge” and the only player to have a statue erected at the ground, he won the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup and scored over 150 goals for the club. 10

ST: Jimmy Greaves Yes, Torres has just missed the cut – would you believe it? I’ve decided to complete my 11 with another Chelsea legend. Although he won no trophies in his time at the Bridge he still holds the club record for the most goals scored in a season with 41. 9

Chelsea Total: 97

BARCELONA

GK: Andoni Zubizarreta – The Basque goalkeeper spent eight years at the Camp Nou, and was the number one when Barca won their first ever European Cup in 1992. 8

RB: Carles Puyol – The leader and Captain of the current Barca side, his wholehearted commitment and strength is invaluable and an inspiration to his team mates. The Catalan hero is 32 but few would bet against him lifting even more trophies before he retires. 8

CB: Miguel Angel Nadal – Nadal like Puyol was as tough as they come hence his nickname ‘The Beast’. Played just under 500 games for Barca and would certainly relish the opportunity of looking after the flair players. 8

CB: Ronald Koeman – Prior to the recent triumphs in 2006 and 2009, Barca’s finest achievement was on a balmy night at Wembley in 1992 when they finally got their hands on the European Cup. It was the Dutchman who scored the only goal of the game with a trademark free-kick. Added craft to Nadal’s guile in the heart of defence. 8

LB: Sergi Barjuan– The attacking full-back was a regular for nearly a decade winning three La Liga medals in the process. 8

RM: Johann Cruyff – In his first season led Barcelona to their first league title since 1960 , scoring in the famous 5-0 victory over their arch enemy at the Bernabeau along the way. That, aside from a Copa Del Rey triumph in 1978, was the only honour he won at Barca, but his spell as player saw him win the hearts of the Barca faithful. 10

LM: Lionel Messi – Finally a true heir to Diego Maradona’s throne, a genius number 10. Only 23 but has done so much already – unbelievable. 10

Finally a true heir to Diego Maradona’s throne, a genius number 10. Only 23 but has done so much already – unbelievable

CM: DiegoMaradona – Diego’s time at Barca may well have been brief, but then the best ever player to play the game is an automatic choice in any side. 10

CM: MichaelLaudrup – The conductor of the dream team managed by Johan Cruyff in the early 90s. Would create something out of nothing and feed the likes of Stoichkov and Romario, the latter calling him the best player he ever played with. He was so good he can just, but only just, be excused for moving to Real Madrid 9

ST: Ronaldo – Sadly now known as the ‘fat Ronaldo’. ‘El Fenomeno’ is a more appropriate moniker and whilst he only spent one season at the Camp Nou but it was an unbelievable season for the lightning quick goal machine. 10

CF: Romario – Recently described himself as the best ever Brazilian player with the exception of Pele. Whilst Garrincha or Zico may not agree, the diminutive and temperamental striker could certainly stake a claim. One-on-one he’s had few peers.9

Total 98

Final Score: Chelsea 97 - 98 Barcelona

Barcelona pinch it, with sheer goalscoring prowess. Chelsea are solid in defence, and Cech does remarkably well, but you can only stop Messi, Ronaldo, Cruyff, Romario and Maradona for so long. Laudrup conducts the midfield, and the rest of the pitch is a blur of audacious dribbling, and neat, technical football.

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