Friday, December 27, 2019

Barcelona "La Masia" Academy Greatest All-Time team



Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for players who graduated from Barcelona's academy (La Masia, or The Farmhouse).  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Catalonia All-Time Team
Barcelona All-Time Team
Barcelona All-Time Team for Spanish Players
Barcelona Dutch Best XI
Dutch-German Rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Real Madrid Castilla Academy All-Time Team
Sporting CP Academy All-Time Team

La Masia de Can Planes, usually shortened to La Masia (Catalan pronunciation: [lə məˈzi.ə]; English: "The Farmhouse") is a term used for FC Barcelona's youth academy. It has been in operation since 1979 and has graduated numerous footballers into Barcelona’s first team. "The player who has passed through La Masia has something different to the rest, it's a plus that only comes from having competed in a Barcelona shirt from the time you were a child," former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said about the academy.
Carles Puyol and Xavi
Team
GK: Victor Valdes  (Spain)
Victor Valdes spent most of his career with Barcelona. With them, he won three Champions' league title.  He also had a unsuccessful stint with Manchester United. For the national team, he only managed 20 caps due to playing behind Iker Casillas during the prime of his career. He was part of the Spanish squads that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, despite not playing in either tournament.

GK: Pepe Reina (Spain)
Pepe Reina first became a star at Villarreal when he helped the club to reach the Champions' league for the first time in history.  A year later, he joined Liverpool FC. At Liverpool FC, he won three Premier League Golden Glove. He was a part of Spain at the World Cup 2010, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, but served as a backup to Iker Casillas.
Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina 
GK: Salvador Sadurní (Spain)
After one season on loan to neighbours CE Mataró he returned to alma mater FC Barcelona, where he remained for the rest of his 16-year career. He won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy in the 1968–69, 1973–74 and the 1974–75 season.  He was a backup for the national team at both the 1962 FIFA World Cup and 1964 European Nations' Cup tournaments,

RB: Albert Ferrer (Spain)
Ferrer represented the nation in two World Cups and at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning the latter tournament. He was a part of Barcelona's Dream Team in the 1990's. He won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. After Louis van Gaal took over, Barcelona gradually signed more Dutch players and his places were uncertain.  He left for Chelsea. 
Albert Ferrer 
CB/RB: Carles Puyol (Spain)
As an one-club man, Carles Puyol served as the long-time team captain for his only club Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 20 major titles, including  three Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11. He earned 100 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.

CB: Gerard Piqué (Spain)
Gerard Pique left the youth team of Barcelona to join Manchester United's academy in 2004.  He made his debut with the senior side in the same year.  He returned to Barcelona in 2008.  From 2008 to 2018, he earned 102 caps for Spain.  He was a part of the Golden Generation that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Champions.

CB: Manuel Sanchís Martínez (Spain)
Like his son, Manuel Junior, he represented Real Madrid and Spain. They were one of only three father/son pairs to have won the European Cup/Champions League.  He played in 213 La Liga games over the course of ten seasons.  He also represented CD Condal, Real Valladolid and Córdoba CF.  An international during nearly two years, Sanchís appeared with the national team at the 1966 World Cup.

CB: Ferran Olivella  (Spain)
Ferran Olivella was capped 18 times for Spain, but better remembered for being the captain of the Spanish national that won the European Championship in 1964. He was also an unused sub at the World Cup Finals in 1966. For club football, he played his entire career with Barcelona, winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup three times in the 1960's.

LB: Sergi Barjuan (Spain)
Sergi was promoted to Barcelona's first time in 1993. He helped them to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1997.  He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2002.  He played there until retiring in 2005. He was capped 56 times for the Spanish national team. He went to two World Cup Finals (1994 and 1998) and two European Championships (1996 and 2000).
Sergi
DM: Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Known for his dirty style of play, Sergio Busquets was Spain's unsung hero at winning the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012 tournaments. He made his national team debut in 2009.  He has earned 111 caps at the time of writing. At the club lebel, he started his career in 2008 with Barcelona.  He has been an important member of the team ever since.  His father Charles played goalkeeper for Barcelona during the 1990's.

LB: Jordi Alba (Spain)
Alba started his career at Barcelona, but was released after being deemed too small. After joining Cornellà, he moved to Valencia. In 2012 he returned to Barcelona. At the time of writing, he has over 70 caps and was a member of the team that won the Euro 2012. He attended the 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals.

DM: Pep Guardiola (Spain)
At the club level, Pep Guardiola won a Champions' League with Barcelona in 1992. It was Barcelona's first ever European Cup. He was their captain from 1997 to 2001.  He also played for Brescia and Roma in Italy, Al-Ahli in Qatar, and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico. He was capped 47 times for Spain, winning the Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, and later appeared at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000. He also played friendly matches for Catalonia.
Pep Guardiola 
CM: Josep Fuste (Spain)
Josep Fuste played for Barcelona between 1960 and 1972.  He also played for CA Osasuna and Hércules CF.  Fusté also played 8 times for Spain. He got his debut in the 1964 European Championship. He was a part of the team that won it. He also played for Spain at the World Cup in 1966 a

AM./CM: Xavi (Spain)
Xavi was perhaps one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football.  Xavi has won 31 trophies, only surpassed by Andrés Iniesta as the most successful Spanish player in history.  For the national team, he had 133 caps and was a part of  the team that won the  2010 World Cup and two European Championship in between.  He was named Euro 2008's player of the tournament. He was finished third at the Ballon d'Or in 2010 and 2011.

CM: Guillermo Amor (Spain)
Amor was a product of FC Barcelona's youth ranks, and made his first-team debuts in the 1988–89 season. He was a part Johan Cruyff's Dream Team that the 1992 European Cup. Amor left Barça in 1998, whet he was among the leader in appearance for the club.  He then played for Fiorentina and Villarreal CF. At the international level, he earned 37 caps. He appeared in Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup Finals.

CM:  Luis Suarez Miramontes (Spain)
Luis Suarez Miramontes was considered to be Spain's greatest player until 1970's, Luis Suarez won Ballon d'Or in 1960.  In 1964, he led La Roja in winning the European Championship.  For club football,  he played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, CD España Industrial, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and Sampdoria. He was a member of "Grande Inter" and won two consecutive European Cups.

Luis Suarez Miramontes 

RW: Carlos Rexach (Spain)
From 1965 to 1980, Carlos Rexach played for Barcelona.  He won the Pichichi Trophy in 1971.  He also won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1979.  He was also known for his partnership with Johan Cruyff at Barcelona.  He won a combined eight titles both capacities combined, including the La Liga championship in the 1973–74 season and the 1979 Cup Winners' Cup.  For the national team, he was capped 15 times. He went to the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, but only appeared once in the Finals.

RW: Lobo Carrasco (Spain)
Between 1978 and 1989, Lobo played for Barcelona FC.   He held the record with most Cup Winners' Cup titles. He then spent three seasons with Ligue 1 club FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. He retired after a short stint with UE Figueres. He had 35 caps with Spain between 1979 and 1988, and attended the Euro 1980 and 1984 and the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. 

LM/CM/AM: Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Andres Iniesta scored the World Cup winning goal in 2010 that gave Spain its first ever World Cup title. At Euro 2012, Iniesta led Spain to their second consecutive continental crown, again being chosen as the Man of the Match of the final against Italy, and was named the Player of the Tournament. He also won Champion' league trophies with Barcelona. He had over 130 caps for Spain from 2006 to 2018.
Andres Iniesta 
LW/AM: Luis Garcia (Spain)
At the club level, Luis Garcia played for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before moving to Liverpool in 2004. He won the 2005 Champions' League under Rafael Benitez after going down 3-0 at half time against AC Milan. It was marked as one of the greatest comeback in history.  He played in Greece and Mexico. He was capped 20 times for Spain between 2005 and 2008. He went to the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.

AM/SS: Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Cesc was lured to play for Arsenal's academy in 2003 from Barcelona FC.  He made his first time debut as a teenager. he helped Arsenal to reach the Champions' league Final in 2005.  He retuned to Spain in 2011 with Barcelona, but returned to England in 2014, joining Chelsea.  He was a part of Spain that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships.

RW/FW:  Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Born and raised in central Argentina, Lionel Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona. At time of writing, he won 4 World Player of the Year and 5 Ballon d'Or.  For Argentina, he has played over 130 times.  At the time of writing, he has not won an international trophy for the national team, but reached three Finals in his career.
Lionel Messi 
ST: Eduardo Manchón (Spain)
Between 1950 and 1957 he played for Barcelona, where he belonged to the legendary "Five Cups-Barça" side, which won all five possible trophies in 1952. During his time with the club, he won La Liga twice, the Spanish Cup four times, the Copa Eva Duarte twice, and even the Latin Cup.  He earned a single cap for Spain in 1954.

ST: Pedro (Spain)
From 2008 to 2015, Pedro played for Barcelona FC. During the 2009–10 season, he became the first player in history to score in six different official club competitions in one season.  In 2015, he joined Chelsea.  Since 2010, he has earned over 65 caps for Spain. He was a part of the team that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.  

ST:  Paulino Alcántara (Spain)
Born in the Philippines of a half-Spanish, half-Filipino, he made his debut for Barcelona at the age of 15 and remains the youngest player to play or score for the club. He also scored 100 goals in 69 matches, making him the club's highest goalscorer He was selected for the Philippine national football team in 1917 and represented his country at the Far Eastern Championship Games.  In 1921. he was selected to play for Spain.  He scored 6 goals in 5 games for Spain.

Honorable Mention
Jordi Cruyff, Fernando Navarro, Ramón Calderé, Albert Luque, Mikel Arteta, Thiago Motta, Ivan De La Pena, Gerard López, Thiago, Martí Vergés, Gonzalvo III, Justo Tejada, Antonio Olmo, Francisco Carrasco, Tente Sánchez, Oleguer Presas, Bojan Krkić.

Squad Explanation
-- The criteria is about the senior and overall careers of the players.  Their performance as a player for Barcelona is not the main factor, but I do look for it as a minor factor.  
--Victor Valdes, Albert Ferrer, Carlos Puyol,  Ferran Olivella, Sergi Barjuan, Pep Guardiola. Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Paulino Alcántara are on my Barcelona All-Time Team.  They formed the backbone of this team.
-- SD España Industrial served as Barcelona reserve team before 1956 when they became independent from Barcelona.  In 1970, it merged with  Atlètic Catalunya to become Barcelona B team.  So any player who played for them before 1956 should be considered a part of Barcelona's academy player.  Luis Suarez Miramontes and Manuel Sanchís Martínez became eligible because of that connection.
-- Pep Guardiola’s side from 2008 to 2012 was considered Barcelona's greatest period.  The side was also filled with homegrown players.  Xavi, Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquest, Jordi Alba and Pedro were selected.  Cesc Fabregas also belonged to this generation, but he was selected for his career with Spain and Arsenal.  As mentioned, the overall career is the main criteria.
-- There ain't many goalkeepers eligible. Victor Valdes was the obvious choices and followed by Salvador Sadurní.  Then, I took Pepe Reina who had a remarkable career with Liverpool FC.
-- Manuel Sanchís Martínez? Yes, he was an all-time great who played for Real Madrid "Ye-ye" team.  Not many people knew of his connection to Barcelona FC. He never got his chance with Barcelona and was assigned to SD España Industrial(Condal).  He beat out Antonio Olmo and Fernando Navarro for a spot on the team.  The rest of the defenders are obvious choices.  Antonio Olmo was the only defender who was seriously considered, but failed to find a spot.
-- Gerard López, Thiago, Martí Vergés, Gonzalvo III and Thiago lost out because of too many midfielders.
-- I selected Luis Suarez Miramontes, not Luis Suarez Diaz of Uruguay.  He was the greatest player for Barcelona before Johan Cruyff joined the team.  He actually played for Deportivo La Coruna's senior team before he moved to play for SD España Industrial, which served as Barcelona's reserve team.  After careful consideration, I decided that he was eligible.
-- Both Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique also left Barcelona's youth team and joined the youth team of Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.  I still considered them as a part of La Masia's alumni. Gerard Piqué also included on my Manchester United's academy.  Most of his youth career was spent here.  
-- Most of my all-time teams are loaded with strikers, but I struggled to find eligible strikers.  I almost selected Albert Luque who had a good career with Deportivo La Coruna.  Anyway, Lionel Messi played on the center of attack.  So I do not need too many center forwards(strikers).

Formation
-- Lionel Messi must play in the center.  I also pushed Andreas Iniesta up front so that I could play both Luis Suarez Miramontes and Xavi.  Pep Guardiola was a much better passer than Sergio Busquets, but te team might need Busquets' defensive presence.




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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Manchester United Academy Greatest All-Time Team

Manchester United FA Youth Cup winners 1992
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Manchester United All-Time Team
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Alex. 
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Busby
Manchester United All-Time team for British isles (excluding England)
Manchester United All-Time Team for English Players 
Manchester United All-Time Team for Foreign Players
Barcelona "La Masia" Academy Greatest All-Time team
Real Madrid Castilla Academy All-Time Team
Sporting CP Academy All-Time Team

Manchester United F.C. Reserves and Academy is also known as Manchester United Football Club Under-23s.  Over the years, youth football in England has been reorganised.  Many names have been used for the academy's team due to rule changes.  For this blog, I would call it the "reserve" or "youth" team.

Manchester United's academy is one of the best in Europe.  Over the years, it has produced all-timers such as Duncan Edwards, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Nobby Stiles, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Johnny Giles.  Manchester United won the European Cup in 1968 with a team consisted with members of Busby Bables and George Best.   They again won the 1999 Champions' League, including players from the 1992 FA Youth Cup winners.
Busby Babes 1957
Team
GK: Mark Bosnich (Australia)
Bosnich was voted as Oceania Goalkeeper of the Century.  He was known for his career with Aston Villa.   He earned himself a transfer back to Manchester United in 1999, but his career started to fall apart over there.  He also played for Chelsea. He also played in Australia for Sydney United, Central Coast Mariners and Sydney Olympic. For the national team, he only earned 17 caps due to club's commitment.

GK: Jimmy Rimmer (England)
Rimmer is considered to be the greatest Aston Villa goalkeeper. He won two European Cup medals: 1968 with Manchester United and 1982 with Aston Villa.  He was Alex Stepney's understudy in the 1968 Final.  In 1982, he only played 9 minutes before getting an injury. He played 3 seasons with Arsenal, where he was their player of the year in 1975. He was capped once in 1976.


GK: Jack Crompton (England)
Jack Crompton was born in 1921 in Manchester.  He was a goalkeeper for Manchester United between 1944 and 1956. He was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 1948. It was Sir Matt Busby's first trophy at Old Trafford. He also won the league title in 1952. During the Second World War, he played as a guest for Stockport County.  He was also a long time coach at Manchester United.

RB: Gary Neville (England)
Along with his brother Philip, David Beckham, Paul Scoles, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt, Gary Neville captained the Manchester United academy team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1991.  They all became fixtures for the senior team throughout the 1990's.  Gary Neville remained the team until 2011 and was the second, longest serving player.  For England, he was the most capped rightback in history.
Phil and Gary Neville 
RB/LB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland)  
He was also a dual internationalist, playing for and captaining both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI. In 1949, he was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year and in the same year captained the FAI XI that defeated England, becoming the first non-UK team to beat England at home.  As a player Carey spent most of his career at Manchester United, where he was team captain from 1946 until he retired as a player in 1953.

CB: Gerard Piqué (Spain)
Gerard Pique left the youth team of Barcelona to join Manchester United's academy in 2004.  He made his debut with the senior side in the same year.  He returned to Barcelona in 2008.  From 2008 to 2018, he earned 102 caps for Spain.  He was a part of the Golden Generation that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Champions.

CB: Phil Neville (England)
After 10 years as a professional with Manchester United, during which time he won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups, three FA Charity Shields, the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League, he joined Everton in 2005, where he spent the final eight years of his playing career. Neville also played for England 59 times between 1996 and 2007, representing the nation at three European Championships.

CB: Jackie Blanchflower (Northern Ireland)
Along with his brother Danny, Jackie Blanchflower helped Northern Ireland to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 1958. He was a member of Manchester United's "Busby Babes". He helped the club win the league title in 1956 and again in 1957. He survived the Munich Air Disaster, but his career was cut short. He retired in 1959 at the age of 24. He only had 12 caps between 1954 and 1958. He missed the 1958 World Cup Finals because of Munich.

CB: Bill Foulkes (England)
Bill Foulkes was a one club man.  played for Manchester United in the Busby Babes teams of the 1950s, and also in the 1960s. His favoured position was centre-half. For Manchester United, he played 688 games which places him at number 4 on the all-time list of appearances. He was a part of the 1968 European Cup winning team. He was capped once by England.
Bill Foulkes 
LB:  Roger Byrne (England)
Roger Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes from the 1955–56 season onwards.  With Manchester United, he won the league title in 1952, 1956 and 1957. He earned 33 caps with England while playing in every England's fixtures in that period, a record for England.  This remains a record.  Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster. 

LB: John Aston Sr (England)
John Aston Sr's made his debut for Manchester United in 1946. He was a one club player.  He played in the 1948 FA Cup Final triumph over Blackpool at Wembley Stadium. He left the club in 1954 after scoring 30 goals in 284 appearances.He won 17 England caps between 1948 and 1950, all at left-back, and featured in the 1950 FIFA World Cup. His son John Aston Jr also played for Manchester United.

CM: Duncan Edwards (England)
Duncan Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United.  He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He was the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 21.  Many people considered him to be  England's greatest player.  He was a dominating central midfielder of his time. For the English national team, he was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.
Duncan Edwards 

DM: Nobby Stiles (England)
Stiles played for England for five years, winning 28 caps and scoring 1 goal. He played every minute of England's victorious 1966 FIFA World Cup campaign.  Stiles played the majority of his club career for Manchester United, spending eleven years at Old Trafford.  He won the European Cup in 1968. After retirement, he was famously known for the youth coach for Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholas, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.

DM: Nicky Butt (England)
Butt spent 12 years with Manchester United, before moving to Newcastle United in 2004. He spent one season on loan to Birmingham City in 2005–06. He finished his career abroad, playing for South China where he won the Hong Kong League Cup. Butt earned 39 caps for England between 1997 and 2004. He was chosen for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2004.


CM: Paul Pogba (France)
Pogba began his senior career with Manchester United, but after only 3 appearance in a season and half, he moved to Juventus.  In Turin, he became a megastar.  He won the Golden Boy Award for the best player under-21 playing in Europe.  He also led Juventus to the Final of the 2015 Champions' League Final.  In the summer of 2016, Manchester United broke the all-time transfer fees to sign Pogba.  At the time of writing, he was capped 43 times.  He led France to reach the Final of Euro 2016 and to win the World Cupo in 2018.
 

Paul Pogba
CM/AM: Johnny Giles (Ireland)
Giles started with Manchester United in 1957.  After winning an FA Cup winner's medal under Matt Busby, he moved to Leeds United in 1963 where he played in midfield alongside Billy Bremner under Manager Don Revie. He also played for West Bromwich Albion, where he was the player-manager. He was voted as Ireland's greatest player at the UEFA Jubilee Awards in 2004.  He was capped 59 times.  From 1973 onward, he served as their player-manager.

AM/CM: Paul Scholas (England)
Scholas was a member of Manchester United's Class of 1992.  He spent 20 years with Manchester United's first team.  He won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals.  He earned 66 caps for England before he retired from the Three Lions in 2004. His cap total was limited because of playing the same generation with Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard.

AM: Sir Bobby Charlton (England)
Sir Bobby was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time.  He was capped 106 times by England and led England to World Cup victory in 1966.  He is also England's all-time leading scorer and all-time cap leader at the time of his retirement.  He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970). For club career,  he almost played his entire career with Manchester United.  He was the hero of Manchester United's the first ever European Cup trophy in 1968. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.
Bobby Charlton 
RW: David Beckham (England)
Beckham is the greatest ever icon to play the game. He started his career with Manchester United where he was a part of the famous team that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup. For the senior side, he won 6 Premiership titles and the 1999 Champions' League.  In 2003, he joined Real Madrid for the well-publicized "Galacticos" signing.  In 2007, he moved to LA Galaxy, where he kickstarted a soccer fever in the United States.  For England, he earned 115 caps and was a key part of the national team throughout his career.
David Beckham
FW/CM: Sammy McIlroy  (Northern Ireland)
Sammy McIlroy joined Manchester United in 1969, becoming Matt Busby's last signing at the club.  He stayed there until 1982.  At one point, Manchester United dropped to the 2nd divsion, where he helped them to grain promotion. He joined Stoke as their record signing.  He played in both Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986.  He was the captain of the 1986 World Cup side.

FW/CM Norman Whiteside  (North Ireland)
In 1982, Norman Whiteside  became the youngest player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he made his debut with Manchester United as a 16 years old in 1982.  He became a starter in the 1982-1983 season as a teenager.  However, his career was marked with injury problems. He moved to Everton in 1989, which was then a more successful club than Manchester United at the time.  He retired in 1991.

LW: Ryan Giggs (Wales)
Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014.  He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales.  He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.
Ryan Giggs

LW/RW: George Best (N.Ireland)
George Best was considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game.  He was voted #19 as the greatest European player by the UEFA Jublilee Poll. He was known for his "pop star" lifestyle. He was one of the "United's Trinity" that helped Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968.  He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.

ST: Mark Hughes (Wales)
Mark Hughes was best remembered for his spells with Manchester United.   He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991. Hughes also played for  Barcelona, Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.  He had 72 caps for Wales. 

ST: Dennis Viollet (England)
Dennis Viollet came through the junior ranks at Manchester United and turned professional in 1950. His first game for the club came against arch-rivals Newcastle United on 11 April 1953. He was a striker, along with Tommy Taylor for the Busby Babes of the 1950s. He was a survivor of the Munich air disaster. He played twice for England, debuting in 1960 against Hungary.
Dennis Viollet, Bobby Charlton and Johnny Giles

Honorable Mention
John O' Shea, Lee Sharpe, Danny Drinkwater, Keith Gillespie, Adnan Januzaj, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Wes Brown, Wilf McGuinness, Giuseppe Rossi, Robbie Savage, Darren Fletcher, Eddie Colman, Geoff Bent,  Mark Jones, David Pegg, Billy Whelan. 

Squad Explanation
-- Ryan Giggs, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton are considered to be Manchester United's greatest youth product.  David Beckham, Gary Neville, Johnny Giles and Mark Hughes should belong to the list too.
--The criteria is based upon the senior careers of the players.  Their performance as a player for Manchester United is not a main factor, but I do look into individual player for their contributions to Manchester United as a minor factor.  For example, David Platt only managed a honorable mention because he never played for Manchester United's senior team.
-- Busby Babe was the name given to a group of young players in the 1960's.  Unfortunately, many of them died in the Munich Air Disaster.  I honoured all of the decreased on the honourable mention.  Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards, Bill Foulkes, Riger Byrne, Jackie Blanchflower and Dennis Viollet made this all-time team.
-- Fergie's Fledglings were a group of youth players trained under Brian Kidd and Eric Harrison who progressed to the first team to play for Sir Alex.
-- Manchester United won the FA Youth Cup in 1992. The team is known as the Class of  1992.  David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are selected onto the team.
-- Robbie Savage also played on the 1992 Youth team.  He was a striker on that team.  He never played for Manchester United's senior side, but he had a wonderful career in the Premiership with Leicester, Blackburn Rovers, etc.  Keith Gillespie also had a decent career in the Preimership after playing in the senior side with Manchester United. 
-- I wanted to take John O'Shea because he could play in multi-position.  The same applied to Darren Fletcher.
-- People forgot that David Platt started with Manchester United.  He joined Crewe Alexandra FC for free and began his professional career there.  Basically, he was not selected for this all-time team because Manchester United had many good midfielders.  He got Duncan Edwards, Paul Pogba, Paul Scholas, Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, etc ahead of him.  I also factored that he never played for Manchester United senior team.  Nobby Stiles is more defensive than Platt and the team needs an extra defensive midfielder.  He was also famously known for the youth coach for Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholas, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.  Did Stiles' career as a youth coach affect his status on this team? Probably not, but my heart did tell me to consider his relationship with the academy even through it should not be a factor.  
-- Paul Pogba's career has stalled with Manchester United.  His relationship with the club has been poor.  As mentioned, the main criteria is not about the senior career with Manchester United.  It is about the overall career of the players involved.  Pogba was selected because he had won a World Cup for France as a key player.  At the time of writing, only Bobby Charlton could claim to have won the World Cup as a key player.  Nobby Stiles and Pique are the other World Cup winners.  
-- Both Mark Bosnich and Jimmy Rimmer made their names with Aston Villa.  Bosnich's senior career with Manchester United was not as strong, but the criteria here for this team is the overall career.  Bosnich had done well elsewhere.
-- Rightback Johnny Carey edged out Mike Duxbury.
-- Gerad Pique only played briefly with the academy, but he is still a graduate of the academy.  He achieved many things with Spain and Barcelona.
-- Tommy Taylor was not from Manchester United's academy.
-- Norman Whiteside made his debut as a 17 years old.  With only a handful of appearance at the senior side, he was called up for North Ireland in the 1982 World Cup Finals.

Formation
Paul Scholas played in the deep role at the end of his career, but he was more effective up front.  However, Bobby Charlton occupied that position.  David Beckham probably should start, but I have George Best on the right.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Eintracht Frankfurt Greatest All-Time team

1980 UEFA Cup

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Bayern MunichBorussia Dortmund,
Borussia MönchengladbachSchalke 04Werder Bremen,
Hamburger SVKaiserslauternBayer Leverkusen
FC KolnVfB Stuttgart

Eintracht Frankfurt was founded in 1899 and have won one German championship, five DFB-Pokals and one UEFA Cup. Since 1925, their stadium has been the Waldstadion, which was renamed Commerzbank-Arena in 2005.

The origins of the side go back to a pair of football clubs founded in 1899: Frankfurter Fußball-Club Viktoria von 1899 – regarded as the "original" football side in the club's history – and Frankfurter Fußball-Club Kickers von 1899. Both clubs were founding members of the new Nordkreis-Liga in 1909. These two teams merged in May 1911 to become Frankfurter Fußball Verein (Kickers-Viktoria), an instant success, taking three league titles from 1912 to 1914 in the Nordkreis-Liga and qualifying for the Southern German championship in each of those seasons. In turn, Frankfurter FV joined the gymnastics club Frankfurter Turngemeinde von 1861 to form TuS Eintracht Frankfurt von 1861 in 1920. (The German word Eintracht means 'harmony, concord,' and Eintracht X is the equivalent of X United in English in the names of sports teams.
1960 European Cup Final
Team  
GK: Egon Loy (Germany)
Egon Loy started with local side  TSV 04 Schwabach.  From 1954 to 1967, he played for Eintracht Frankfurt.  In 1960, his club reached the Final of the European Cup, in which they lost to Real Madrid.  The game was known to be the greatest match ever played.  In the semi-final, they destroyed Rangers with the score of 6-1 and 6-3.  On 30 May 1954 Loy played for the Germany national amateur football team in Longwy against France. It was the only amateur international match in 1954, ending 0–0.

GK: Uli Stein (Germany)
Stein began his career in 1978 with Arminia Bielefeld. After two years, he moved to Hamburger SV where he played from 1980 to 1987. He also played for Eintracht Frankfurt. The highlight of his career was winning the European Cup (UEFA Champions League) in 1983, with Hamburger SV. He also went on to win the DFB-Pokal with Eintracht Frankfurt in 1988. He represented the West German national team 6 times between 1983 and 1986. He went Mexico 1986.

GK: Andreas Köpke (Germany)
Köpke began his club career at Holstein Kiel in 1979, he retired  at 1. FC Nürnberg at the end of the 2000–01 2. Bundesliga season. He also played at Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha Berlin, Charlottenburg and Olympique Marseille.  He earned 59 caps for Germany, winning the Euro 1996 as the starting keeper.  He also went to both 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals. He was German Player of the Year in 1993.
Andreas Köpke 
RB: Friedel Lutz (Germany) 
From 1957 to 1963, Lutz played for Eintracht Frankfurt.  In 1960, he was a member of the team that lost to Real Madrid in the European Cup Final.  From 1966 to 1967, he played for 1860 Munich.  Then, he returnd to Frankfrut and played until 1973. He played 12 times for West Germany.  He went to the 1966 World Cup Finals.

RB/CB: Thomas Berthold (Germany)
Thomas Berthold began his career in 1982 with Eintracht Frankfurt. In Italy, he played for Hellas Verona  for two seasons, and another two for A.S. Roma.  He later played for FC Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart and Turkey's Adanaspor.  With 62 caps, he went to the 1986, 1990 and 1994 World Cup  Finals, winning the 1990 edition.  He also played in the 1988 European Championship.

CB: Karl-Heinz Körbel (Germany)
Karl-Heinz Körbel is chiefly associated with spending his entire playing career at Eintracht Frankfurt from 1972 to 1991. He currently holds the record for most Bundesliga appearances at 602.  With Eintracht Frankfurt, he was a part of the team that won the 1980 UEFA Cup.  He also won 4 DFB-Pokal cups. From 1974 to 1975, he played 6 times for West Germany.
Karl-Heinz Körbel 
SW: Manfred Binz (Germany)
From 1985 to 1996, Binz played for Eintracht Frankfurt.  in 1996, he moved to Italy and played for Brescia, helping the club to grain promotion.  From 1998 to 1999, he played for Borussia Dortmund.  With the German national team, he earned 14 caps.  He was a member of the 1992 European Championship team.

CB: Uwe Bindewald (Germany)
Uwe Bindewald's career began at FSV Dorheim. He also played for SG Melbach-Södel and Kickers Offenbach before he moved in 1986 to Eintracht Frankfurt.  In 2004, he moved to 1. FC Eschborn.  Bindewald is regarded a very fair player, having only received one red card in the entirety of his career.  He was uncapped.

CB/SW: Bruno Pezzey (Austria)
Bruno Pezzey is regarded as one of Austria's greatest defenders of all time.  He played 84 times for Austria between 1975 and 1990 He was a participant at the 1978 World Cup and 1982 World Cup Finals.  At the club football level, he was best known for his stints with FC Wacker Innsbruck and Eintracht Frankfurt.   He won the 1979-1980 UEFA Cup withh Frankfurt. He also played for Werder Bremen between 1983 and 1987. He died at the age of 39.
Bruno Pezzey 
LM/LB: Willi Neuberger (Germany)
Neuberger played from 1966 until 1983 in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen, Wuppertaler SV and Eintracht Frankfurt. With Eintracht he won the DFB-Pokal in 1975 and 1981 and UEFA Cup in 1980. With his 520 Bundesliga appearances he was the record player for a long time before he was overtaken by team mate Karl-Heinz Körbel. He won two caps for West Germany in 1968.

RB/LB: Fahrudin Jusufi (Yugoslavia)
Fahrudin Jusufi was the greatest fullback in Yugoslavian football history.  He played at the 1962 FIFA World Cup and at the 1960 Summer Olympics, where his team won the gold medal.   During his career, he played for FK Partizan, Eintracht Frankfurt, Germania Wiesbaden and FC Dornbirn, retiring in 1972. He was part of the Partizan squad when they became vice-champions of Europe after losing the 1966 European Cup Final against Real Madrid.
Fahrudin Jusufi
DM: Ralf Falkenmayer (Germany)
Falkenmayer made 385 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. With Eintracht he won the DFB-Pokal in 1981 and with Bayer Leverkusen the UEFA Cup in 1988, despite missing his penalty in the shootout in the final.  Between 1984 and 1986, he earned 4 caps for West Germany.  He took part with West Germany at the Euro 1984 in France.

LW/CM: Hans Weilbächer (Germany)
Weilbächer joined Eintracht Frankfrut in 1952.  He was a member of the team that played against Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup Final.  His job was to mark Alfredo di Stefano.  For the national team, he had played for the amateur national side as well as B national team.  For the senior side, He only made a single appearance against Ireland in 1955 largely because Horst Szymaniak occupied his position.

CM: Uwe Bein  (Germany)
Uwe Bein's career began in 1978 with Kickers Offenbach, before he moved to 1. FC Köln, Hamburger SV and Eintracht Frankfurt. He also helped Köln to the 1986 UEFA Cup Final. In 1994, he moved to Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds in 1996. In 1997, he made appearances for VfB Gießen.  From 1989 to 1993, he played 17 times for Germany.  He played 4 games at the 1990 World Cup Finals as Germany won the World Cup.
Uwe Bein  
CM/RM: Rudolf Gramlich (Germany)
Gramlich played his entire career with Eintracht Frankfrut, but his career was interrupted by the Second World War.  Gramlich made 22 international appearances for Germany between 1931 and 1936,achieving third place at the 1934 World Cup in Italy. He was the captain of the German team at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

AM/RW: Jurgen Grabowski (Germany)
Jurgen Grabowski played his entire career with Eintracht Frankfrut. With this team he won the German Cup in 1974 and 1975 and the UEFA Cup in 1980.He was capped 44 times.  He had 44 caps for West Germany.  He went to three World Cup Finals: 1966, 1970 and 1974.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, the  World Cup two years later in 1974.  

Jurgen Grabowski
LW/AM: Bernd Nickel (Germany)
Nickel began his career in 1957 at SV Eisemroth. In 1966 he was signed by Eintracht Frankfurt, where he was one of their all-time leading scorer.  His biggest success was the victory of the UEFA Cup in 1980. Nickel stayed until 1983 at the Eintracht. He joined BSC Young Boys from Switzerland for the 1983–84 season.  Nickel was capped once for West Germany in 1974.

AM: Andreas Moeller (Germany)
Moeller played for Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, and Schalke 04. He won the UEFA Cup with Juventus in 1993, beating Borussia Dortmund 6–1 on aggregate. He then won the Champions League with Dortmund in 1997, beating his former team, Juventus, 3–1.  With the Germany, Möller won the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96.  He was capped 85 times, scoring 29 goals. He also played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, as well as Euro 92. 

AM: Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)
Jay-Jay Okocha is widely considered to be one of Nigeria's greatest footballers. In 2007 Jay-Jay Okocha was voted number 12 on the greatest African footballers of the past 50 years by CAF.  He was Nigeria Player of the Year in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.  He played in three World Cup Finals(1994, 1998, 2002) and won an Olympic Gold medal in 1996.  At the club level, he played for Fenerbahçe, Eintracht Frankfurt, PSG, Bolton Wanderers and Hull City.
Jay-Jay Okocha 
AM/SS: Alfred Pfaff (Germany)
Pfaff club was Eintracht Frankfurt with whom he won the 1959 German Championship, and in 1960 reached the finals of Champion's Cup against Real Madrid. Pfaff was capped seven times between 1953 and 1956 for West Germany.  He was a aprt of the team that won the 1954 World Cup.  He scored a goal against Hungary in the preliminary round.

RW/FW: Bernd Hölzenbein (Germany)
Holz debuted for Eintracht Frankfurt in 1967.  Hölzenbein won the UEFA Cup with Frankfurt in 1980. He is their all-time leading scoring.  Later, he became a teammate of Gerd Müller at Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the United States.  He earned 40 caps for West Germany.  He was a member of the 1974 World Cup winning team.  He also went to the 1978 World Cup and 1976 European Championship.

FW: Karl Ehmer (Germany)
Ehmer played for Eintracht Frankfurt from 1927 to 1938.  He played in 130 league games and scored 138 goals. In the 1931-32 season he scored 55 goals in 38 competitive matches (33 goals in 19 league matches) and to this day still holds the season record for Eintracht Frankfurt.   

ST: Anthony Yeboah (Ghana)
Anthony Yeboah enjoyed a successful career in Europe and was one of the best African players in the 1990's.  His most successful period was spent with Eintracht Frankfrut where he was the Bundesliga back-to-back top scorers twice in five seasons. He also played for Leeds United. He earned 59 caps, Despite playing with Abedi Pele, Ghana failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals. He is the third highest goalscoring total in the nation's history behind Abedi Pele and Asamoah Gyan.
Anthony Yeboah 
RW/ST: Richard Kress (Germany)
Kress played for Eintracht Frankfurt from 1953 until 1964 as a typical right winger. He won the German championship in 1959 and played in the European Cup final in 1960 against Real Madrid. He scored the first goal of the match. He was capped nine times for Germany between 1954 and 1961 contributing two goals. Kress still is the oldest player to give his debut in the Bundesliga.

ST:  Cha Bum Kun 차범근 (South Korea)
Cha Bum Kun is probably the greatest Asian player in the modern era.  He won two UEFA Cups, one each for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. he also played for Air Force in South Korea and SV Darmstadt 98. He was widely considered one of the best forwards in the Bundesliga throughout his career. He became the third-highest-paid footballer in Germany while playing there. For the national team, he had 135 caps and went to Mexico 1986.
Cha Bum Kun 

Honorable Mention
Wilhelm Gmelin (Germany)Maurizio Gaudino (Germany), Manfred Binz (Germany), Wilhelm Huberts (Austria), Hugo Mantel (Germany), Peter Reichel (Germany), Rudolf Bommer (Germany), Ronald Borchers (Germany), Jürgen Pahl (Germany), Hermann Höfer (Germany), Ralf Weber (Germany), Dieter Stinka (Germany), Wolfgang Kraus (Germany), Hans Weilbächer (Germany).

Squad Explanation
-- In 1960, Eintracht Frankfurt reached the Final of the European Cup against Real Madrid.  Real Madrid featuring  Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskás and Francisco Gento were considered the greatest club team of all-time.  The match in Hampden Park that day is widely considered the greatest match ever played.   I selected the following players from that game: 
Egon Loy, Friedel Lutz, and Richard Kress, 
-- They won the 1980 UEFA Cup by beating Borussia Mönchengladbach, a side that featured a 19 years old Lothar Matthäus.  From that team, I selected Bernd Hölzenbein, Bruno Pezzey, Karl-Heinz Körbel, Cha Bum Kun and Willi Neuberger.  
-- For goalkeepers, Egon Loy and Uli Stein are probably the obvious choice.  Jürgen Pahl won the UEFA Cup for the team in 1980, but I took Andreas Köpke because he was more famous than Pahl.  He was playing for Eintracht Frankfurt when he won the Euro 1996 with Germany.
-- Karl-Heinz Körbel played his entire career here.  He olds the record for the most appearances in the Bundesliga with 602 games.
-- I know that Adolf Bechtold was a hero of the club in the 1940's, but I do not know much about him.  He was a defender, but playing where in the defence.  He was still with the team at the time of the 1960 European Cup Final, but he was no longer a starter.
-- Thomas Berthold was a home grown player.  He spent 5 seasons here.  I needed him to play both as a backup rightback and the centerback.  He edged out rightback/centerback Hans-Walter Eigenbrodt from the 1960 European Cup team and rightback Peter Reichel.  He was also very famous during his prime due to the fact that he played for the German national team.
-- I need a defensive midfielder.  So I nearly took Alexander Schur who was a fan favorite.  In the end, I took Ralf Falkenmayer who had been capped by West Germany.
-- When the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, Wilhelm Huberts was one of four foreigners in the league.  He was the only Austrian.  He only made honorable mention.
--  The big question mark is the attack midfielder position.  They had too many great players.  Alfred Pfaff who was the center of attack at the 1960 European Cup Final is often identified as one of Frankfrut's greatest player.   Bernd Nickel, Jay-Jay Okacha and Andreas Moller all made strong cases to be on the team.  Nickel is their second all-time leading scorer and in appearance record.  He could play as a left winger.Jay-Jay Okacha and Andreas Möller were famous internationally. Möller was homegrown.  In the end, I took all three.  I could not find space for Ronald Borchers.  Yes, I do not need so many players on the same position and this would leave the team unbalance.
-- Jürgen Grabowski also played as an attack midfielder, but he could also play on the right wing.  Besides, he is probably their greatest ever player. 
-- Bernd Hölzenbein is their all-time leading scorer.
-- Tomny Yeoboah was the Bundesliga top scorer twicer (1992–93, 1993–94).  He was on the Team of the Year on the same two seasons.  He spent a total of 6 seasons with the club.
-- Cha Bum Kun became the top goalscorer of Frankfurt in three consecutive seasons. (1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83) as well as winning the UEFA Cup.
-- Karl Ehmer scored 138 goals in 130 games for them.

Formation