Manchester United Greatest XI Vs Real Madrid Greatest XI: Which Heavyweight Wins?

Manchester United have drawn Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. But if you can't wait for that, have a read of our match up of the greatest XI's from the two heavyweights...
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Manchester United Greatest XI Vs Real Madrid Greatest XI


GK: Peter Schmeichel – Signed as a virtual unknown in 1991, his size, prodigious throwing and mammoth kicks immediately marked him down as something very different. As much the first point of attack as last line of defence. After an early roughing up from Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang he quickly toughened up and went on to become Manchester United’s greatest ever. “Prone to the odd error” critics may point out, but when he saved as many games as he did during a season, who cares? 9

RB: Roger Byrne – Local lad who was captain and elder statesman of the incomparable Busby Babes. Perhaps not the best technically but more than made up for any deficiency with his reading of the game. An England regular, fatefully he never made it to the 1958 World Cup. 7

CB: Martin Buchan – “The Fonz is cool but Buchan is cooler” ran the Stretford End’s chant, summing up the ice-cool nature of Manchester United’s best ever defender. Having just the one FA Cup to show for his time at Old Trafford is a criminal return for a player who was almost as integral to the team in the ‘70s as Robson was in the ‘80s. 8

LB: Denis Irwin – Incredibly underrated player who, after a somewhat inauspicious start after his arrival from Oldham, went on to become the club’s most consistent and decorated player of the 1990s. Also weighed in with more than his fair share of goals. 7

RM: Cristiano Ronaldo – From 2006–2009 he was as dominant a presence in United’s team as any of his predecessors. His goals dragged the side to a hat-trick of titles and successive European Cup finals – he was well worthy of the 2008 Ballon d’Or. Probably the first player on whom United supporters could legitimately bestow the title “best player in the world”. 9

CM: Duncan Edwards – Many young players are hyped up beyond justification, yet anyone wondering whether the recognition Edwards received is truly justified for a player who died when only 21 years old only has to consider the range and knowledge of those within the game who cite him as one of the game’s true greats.10

CM: Bryan Robson – The rock on which Atkinson’s United was built, his absences to injury were the reason Ron’s team so often failed. The phrase ‘one-man team’ is self-evidently an exaggeration when applied in a team sport, but with Robson it was as close to reality as it could come. 8

CM: Roy Keane – The driving force behind Ferguson’s greatest side, he continually set the tone for the team, whether through his metronomic passing, fearsome tackling, lung-busting effort or never-say-die determination. A winner amongst winners, the rock on which the 1999 Treble was won. 8

LM: George Best – The one, the only. Playing alongside both him and Ronaldo would probably have had Charlton tearing out what little remained of his once-flowing blonde locks but it would’ve been worth it. There’d probably have to be two balls on the pitch, mind. 10

CF: Bobby Charlton – Still holds the record for the most starts and goals of any United player. No ‘rests’ for this stalwart despite countless battles on the bogs that passed for pitches in the 1950s and ‘60s. As two-footed as they come, he could play anywhere in midfield or attack. Officially acknowledged as the continent’s best player in 1966, he’s one of only three Englishmen to win the European and World Cups. 10

CF: Denis Law – Often the overlooked member of United’s Holy Trinity but back in the day was the Stretford End’s favourite, its very own King. And with good reason. Fearless, brave and aggressive, he played as the fans would like to. Scored every sort of goal, from 20-yard headers to acrobatic overhead kicks to six yard tap-ins. Ballon d’Or winner in 1964, he regularly topped the scoring charts before injuries started to take their toll on his slender frame. 10

Manager: Matt Busby – Built the club up from nothing. Twice. To do it the first time was special, to repeat the feat after the pain, devastation and his own near-death at Munich was almost unbelievable. Never compromised on his ideals, be it for attacking football or anything else. 9

Total Score: 105


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GK: Iker Casillas – Made his debut at 18 and has been No. 1 ever since. From his vantage point between the sticks Casillas has played behind some true greats but the World Cup winner can now rightly consider himself their equal. 8

RB: Miguel Porlan Noguera – Chendo spent 16 years at Madrid, the right-back was an integral part of the Real Madrid side that won 5 straight titles in the late 80’s. 7

CB: Fernando Hierro – The central-defender/ defensive midfielder was as good at the back as he was going forward scoring over 100 goals during his time at the club, helping the side to win just the three Champions League titles. 8

CB: Jose Santamaria – The Uruguayan was the rock at the back of the all conquering Madrid side in the late 50s. The likes of Di Stefano and Puskas could bomb forward knowing that Sanatamaria and co would hold the fort. 8

LB: Jose Antonio Camacho – The tough left-back played over 600 games for Madrid. Miles better than the massively over rated free kick ‘specialist’ Roberto Carlos. 8

RM: Francisco “Paco” Gento – The only player to win six European Cups. Enough said. 9

CM: Zinedine Zidane – Arguably the best player of his generation. His outrageous volley in the 2002 Champions League final was a snapshot of the unbelievable skill the Frenchman possessed. 9

CM: Alfredo di Stefano – The Argentine (who later also played for Spain) was on the verge of joining Barcelona before Franco intervened and he signed for Madrid. Pele once described him as the ‘best player ever’ 10

LM: Raul – Like Di Stefano history could’ve been so different if the Atletico Madrid youth side he was with wasn’t scrapped by notorious chairman Jesus Gil. As it was he spent 16 years becoming record league appearance holder and scoring goals for fun. 8

CF: Cristiano Ronaldo – Whatever you think about Ronaldo the man, when Cristiano has the ball at his feet they are few more entertaining players in the current game. If only he had a little humility and didn’t roll around like massive twat he could go on to be one of the all-time greats. 8

ST: Ferenc Puskas –Arrived at Real Madrid overweight, but soon won over the fans with a mercurial left foot. The only player to score a hat-trick in two different European Cup finals. 9

Manager: Miguel Munoz – Won the European Cup as a player three year before becoming the Manger and steering them to a further two European Cups. As if that wasn’t enough led them to nine La Liga titles winning five on the trot between 1960-65. 9

Total Score: 101

So Manchester United pip it with a score of 105 to Real Madrid's 101, Madrid's 8/10's across the defence costing them victory against the Red Devils. Do you agree with our outcome? Tell us in the comments. One thing we can all agree on is when these two meet next year in the Champions League last 16 it's sure to be a cracker.

Here's how we reckon it would've played out.

Real Madrid 4: Ronaldo (21), Puskas (49, 70), Di Stefano (80)

Manchester United 5 (aet): Best (35, 40), Ronaldo (83), Schmeichel (90 +5), Law (110). Roy Keane s/o ('1)