Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Basque Greatest All-time 23 member team

Ignacio Kortabarria and José Ángel Iribar 1976 showing the Basque flag in 1976

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

The Basque country is the homeland of the Basque people.  It consists areas that are parts of Spain and France.  The Basque footballers have been capped by many countries. Athletic Bilbao is the symbol of Basque nationalism.  It is one of the most successful clubs in Spain.  It has an unwritten rule that the club only fields Basque players.  This is my All-Time 23 member team for the Basque people.  I am including Basque players who were capped by other countries.  

I have also created all-time teams for

Athletic BilbaoReal Sociedad,
Spain. 
BasqueCataloniaCastile without Madrid playersMadrid CommunityAndalusiaValencian Community
Basque National Team
Team 
GK: Andoni Zubizarreta (Spain)
Andoni Zubizarreta represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He started with Athletic Bilboa.  He also played for Barcelona and Valencia.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.  After the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, where Barcelona lost 0–4 to A.C. Milan in the final, Zubizarreta was deemed surplus to requirements.

GK: José Ángel Iribar (Spain)
José Ángel Iribor spent his entire career with Athletic Bibao from 1962 to 1980, except a season at the club's feeder club, CD Basconia.  He played over 600 games in a 18 year career.  For the national team, he played 49 times for Spain between 1964 and 1976. He was Spain's starting keeper at the 1964 European Championship as Spain won their first ever major trophy. He was also Spain's starting keeper at the World Cup Finals in 1966.

GK: Luis Arconada (Spain)
Luis Arconada  played his entire career with Real Sociedad, capturing back-to-back La liga titles from 1980 to 1982.  He was capped 68 times, helping Spain to reach the Euro 1984 Final.  His blunder, however, in the Final caused Spain to lose in that Final against France. He also went to the 1978 and 1982 World Cups as well as Euro 1980. 


RB: José Orue (Spain)
José Orue was a long-time footballer for Atletic Bilboa during the 1950's.  At the time of writing, he is their fourth most appearance record for the club. He won one league and three Copa del Rey trophies in the 50's, including the double in the 1955–56 campaign.  He earned 3 caps for Spain.

RB/CB: Jose Nasazzi (Uruguay)
He was the captain of Uruguay's legendary team that won the World Cup in 1930.   He is regarded by many as Uruguay's greatest ever football player. He was known as "El Gran Mariscal" (The Great Marshal) and had already won the gold medal at the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games, as well as the South American Championship in 1923, 1924 and 1926, by the time of the first World Cup.

CB:  Jacinto Quincoces (Spain)
Jacinto Quincoces was one of the greatest defenders of the pre-war era. He played for Deportivo Alavés from 1920 to 1931.  From 1931 to 1942, he played for Real Madrid.  He won the first ever title for Real Madrid in 1930.  He was widely considered one of the first soccer idols in Spain.  He played 25 times for Spain between 1928 and 1936.  He made his international debut in 1928 against Mexico.   He went to the World Cup Finals in 1934.
Jacinto Quincoces 
CB:  Andoni Goikoetxea (Spain)
Nicknamed "The Butcher" for his style of play, Goikoetxea played mainly for Atletic Bilboa, but also with Atletico Madrid.  He was a part of Javier Clemente's Bilboa team that won back-to-back league title from 1982 to 1984.  However, he was best remembered for almost ending Diego Maradona's career with a tackle in 1983.  A year later, he became the focal point of the infamous brawl between Barcelona and Atletic Bilboa at the Final of Copa del Rey.  

CB:  Jesús Garay (Spain)
Rated among the best ever centre-back to be capped for Spain, Garay went to the WC Finals in 1962.  He spent 10 seasons with Athletic Bilboa and then, Barcelona for another 5 seasons. He won five major titles with Athletic Bilboa. He also played a single season with CD Málaga. He had 29 caps. He was part of the squad that competed at the 1962 World Cup. 

LB:  Bixente Lizarazu (France)
Bixente Lizarazu was the leftback for the all-conquering French team of 1990's and early 2000's.  He won the World Cup in 1998 and European Championship in 2000. He had 97 caps. Lizarazu began his professional career with Girondins de Bordeaux, but better known for playing with Bayern Munich for 9 seasons. He won the Champions' League in 2001. He is a Basque and he also played for Atletico Bilbao. 

Bixente Lizarazu 
DM/LB: Jose Maria Zarraga (Spain)
From 1951 to 1961, he played for Real Madrid.  He won 11 major trophies, including 5 straight European Cups– he played in all the finals, and totalled 31 appearances combined in those victorious campaigns.  The 1959-1960 team was considered one of the greatest ever club sides in history. He made 8 appearance with Spain and once as the captain.

LB:  Agustin Aranzabal (Spain)
From 1993 to 2004, he starred for Real Sociedad. He helped the club to finish second during the 2002–03 season. He moved to Zaragoza in 2004, but could not find any successes.   He retired in 2008, but in early 2010, he retired and joined Kitchee SC from Hong Kong, playing along side Albert Celades.  He had 28 caps and went to the World Cuo Finals in 1998.

DM: Ignacio Zoco (Spain)
Ignacio Zoco was best remembered for his 12 seasons with Real Madrid. He was a member of the Ye Ye team of Real Madrid that defined an era in Spanish football.  He won the 1966 European Cup with the club.  He played more than 20 times with Spain, winning the 1964 European Nations' Cup and also representing the nation at the 1966 World Cup.

DM:  Didier Deschamps (France)
Deschamps was only the second player in history to captain his team to lift the three big trophies: the Champions League trophy, the World Cup trophy and the European Championship trophy.  He started his career with Nantes. The prime of his career was spent with Marseille and Juventus, where he won a Champions League for both club.  He earned 103 caps and was the captain of 1998 World Cup winning team for France.

CM: Xabi Alonso  (Spain)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.
Xabi Alonso
AM/RM: Gaizka Mendieta (Spain)
Gaizka Mendieta was a big star while playing for Valencia between 1993 and 2001.  He led them to back-to-back Champions' League Final in 2000 and 2001.  He moved to Lazio in 2001, but he failed to find his form.  Then, he played one season with Barcelona, where the club only finished 6th at the league.  He would also play with Middesbrough FC. He earned 40 caps. He went to Euro 2000 and the World Cup Finals in 2002.

LW: Agustin Gainza (Spain) 
Agustín Gaínza is one of Atletico Bilboa's greatest players.  He spent his entire career with Athletic Bilbao, winning 10 major titles between 1940 and 1959.  When he retired, he was the club's appearance record holder. He won 33 caps and was the captain of Spain in the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil, where they finished 4th.

FW/RW: Joseba Etxeberria (Spain)
Joseba Etxeberria started his career with Real Sociedad, but after a single season, he moved to Athletic Bilbao in 1995, breaking the transfer record for an under 18 player in Spain.  The transfer also broke off formal relationship between the two clubs. He was capped 53 times, representing his country at the 1998 World Cup,  Euro 2000 and Euro 2004.

AM/ST:  Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Diego Forlan's career in Europe started slowly, but his career finally took off after heading to Spain in 2004.  He was two-time European Golden Shoe winner in 2004-2005 and then, 2008-2009.  His best years were with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, winning the UEFA Europa League with the latter. He had 112 caps, leading Uruguay to the 2011 Copa America title as well the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup Finals.  He won the Golden Ball at South Africa 2010.
Diego Forlan
ST: Mundo (Spain)
Edmundo Suárez Trabanco was known as Mundo.  He is the highest scorer in Valencia's history and remained one of the top scorers in La Liga's history.  He started his career with Athletic Bilbao, playing a single game before the Spanish Civil War cut short his stay.  He played for Valencia after the War between 1939 and 1950.  Capped 3 times.

ST: Rafael Moreno Aranzadi "Pichichi" (Spain)
The award for la Liga top-scorer is named after him.  He scored 240 goals in 170 matches for Athletic Bilbao. He won 4 Copa del Rey. In 1920, Pichichi was a member of the very first Spain national team that played at the Summer Olympic Games in Belgium. He earned five senior caps during one month, his debut coming on 28 August in a 1–0 win against Denmark.

ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Born in France of an Argentinian player Jorge Higuain, Gonzalo first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He became a fan's favourite after scoring the winning goal against Espanyol on his debut season.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.
Gonzalo Higuain
ST: Isidro Langara (Spain)
Langara was a star player with Real Oviedo before the start of the Spanish Civil War.  After the War, he became an exile playing for San Lorenzo in Argentina. He scored 110 goals in 121 games.  In 1940, he was the league's joint-top scorer. In 1943, he moved to play for Real Espana in Mexico.  He was the league's top scorer.  In 1946, he returned to Spain and played fro Real Oviedo again.

ST: Telmo Zarra (Spain)
Athletic Bilbao's greatest player.  Zarra signed for Athletic after playing one season for Erandio. He became a prolific goalscorer in his 15 seasons at the club, winning the Pichichi Trophy as the highest scorer in La Liga on six occasions. During his career, Zarra scored a total of 251 league goals, a Spanish record that lasted nearly six decades. His 81 goals in the Copa del Rey remains a record today .He was capped 20 times and scored 20 goals for Spain. He was a member of the 1950 World Cup team.
Telmo Zarra

Honorable Mention:
Ivan Campo, Aitor Karanka, Agustin Aranzabal , Jose Ramon Alexanko, Leonardo Cilaurren, Jose Mari Bakero, Estanisiao Argote, Luis Regueiro, Bata, Javi Martinez, Fernando Llorente, Dani, Urrutti, Juan Alonso, Ignacio Eizaguirre, Jose Eulogio Garate, Julio Salinas, Cesar Azpilicueta. Asier del Horno, Javi Martínez, Aritz Aduriz, René Petit (France), Asier Illarramendi, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, Jose Eulogio Garate, Ander Herrera, Pablo Zanaleta(Argentina), Ezequiel Garay (Argentina), Rafael Alkorta (Spain)

Squad Explanation
-- Andoni Zubizarreta, Telmo Zarra, Andoni Zubizarreta, Xabi Alonso and Jacinto Quincoces are automatic selections.
-- Basque has a strength in keepers. Juan Alonso, Urrutti and Ignacio Eizaguirre were great keepers, but could not make the cut. The three goalkeepers are probably among the greatest in Spain.  I would also keep an eye on Kepa Arrizabalaga who is now with Chelsea at the time of writing.
-- Joseba Etxeberria was selected for his commitment to Atletico Bilboa, which is considered to be liked the real national team of Basque.  
-- Ion Andoni Goikoetxea was a forward. Andoni Goikoetxea was the centerback known for his rivalry with Diego Maradona.
-- I only brought two fullbacks.  I felt Asier del Horno and Cesar Azpilicueta have not done enough.  Instead, I selected Jose Maria Zarraga who was a key member of Real Madrid of the 1950's.  He could play as a left back. Pablo Zanaleta(Argentina) probably deserved a spot too. Jose Nasazzi is probably a centerback in the modern football, but he is often listed as a rightback.
-- Leonardo Cilaurren deserved a spot.
-- Telmo Zarra is probably the best known striker from Basque.
-- Didiner Deschamps, Jose Nasazzi, Diego Forlan and Gonzalo Higuain are of Basque descent. Bixente Lizarazu actually played for Atletico Bilboa.
-- The team consisted two World Cup winning captains, Didiner Deschamps and Jose Nasazzi.
-- Iñaki Williams is born in the Basque Country of Ghanian parents. He is eligible to play for  Athletic Bilbao.  I have yet to decide if I should follow Athletic Bilbao's policy of using non-Basque footballer born or trained in the country.  Williams is a good player, but still a long way before I put serious thought on selecting him.  So I do not have to think deep into the issue. Jonás Ramalho and Yuri Berchiche are two of the more famous non-Basque ethnic footballer playing for the club.  If I imagined Basque is a FIFA-sanctioned national team, the Basque-born players would have played for the Basque national teams(I am assuming that they are entitled to a Basque passport).  
-- Antoine Griezmann learned his football with Real Sociedad. And since Atletico Bilboa allowed non-Basque players who learn football in the Basque region to play for them. He is eligible to play for Atletico Bilboa, but not for the Basque national team.  He is different from the players I mentioned above.  He was not born in Basque. 
-- Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente deserved his chances with the team, but I went with older players.  
-- Diego Forlan is listed as a Basque, but Diego's bloodline came from his mother's side. Pablo Forlan is not a Basque.
-- Jose Nasazzi's mother came from Basque.  I did not learn of it until November, 2019. He should be on this team.  I am sure that I left off many players with maternal side of the family being of Basque background.  I replaced Rafael Alkorta (Spain) with him.  


Starting lineup
Basque has a number of great strikers, but Diego Forlan proved himself at the World Cup Finals, the highest stage in football.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Castile without players from Madrid Greatest All-time member team


Andres Iniesta and Juan Mata
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Spain without Real Madrid and Barcelona players
Spain 
Real MadridAtletico Madrid
Real Madrid Castilla Greatest All-Time
Real Madrid All-Time Team for Foreign Players
Real Madrid All-Time Team for Spanish players
Atletico Madrid All-Time Team for Foreign Players
Atletico Madrid All-Time Team for Spanish Players

Castile is a vaguely defined historical region of Spain. There are different conceptions and definitions of Castile, and since it lacks modern day official recognition. It is mainly considered of Castile and Leon, Castile and La Mancha, Cantabria, La Rioja and Madrid. 


This is my selection of all-time 23 member team for Castile without players from the Community of Madrid.  The all-time blog teams of AndalusiaBasqueValenican Community and Catalonia were based on ethnicity, but this team is based on birth places.  


Castile and Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Cantabria and Madrid has own autonomous football teams. The region is home to Real Valladolid, Albacete Balompie, Salamanca CF, Racing de Santander, Burgos, Mirandés, Numancia and Ponferradina.

Team 
GK: Abel Resino (Castile and La Mancha)
Abel Resino was nicknamed the "Cat".  He came to Atletico Madrid in 1986 from lowly CD Ciempozuelos and stayed there until 1995.  He won back-to-back Cops del rey in 1991 and 1992.  He won the Zamora Trophy in 1990-1991 season. He spent a season playing for Rayo Vallecano at the end of his career.  He earned two caps for Spain in 1991.

GK: José Manzanedo (Castile and Leon)
From 1963 to 1977, Jose Manzanedo played for Burgos. From 1977 to 1985, he played for Valencia CF.  He later played for Real Valladolid, Sabadell and Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa.  He played once for the Spanish national team in 1977 against Switzerland in 2-1 away loss.  He also represented Spain in the 1976 Olympics.

GK: Dani Aranzubia (La Rioja)
Dani Aranzubia is a product of Athletic Bilbao's famed youth academy at Lezama.  From 1996 to 2000, he played for them.  In 2008, Aranzubia joined Deportivo de La Coruña. In 2011,he become the first goalkeeper in La Liga history to score from open play.  He made his only appearance for Spain in 2004, in a friendly match with Andorra.  He was Spain third choice keeper at Euro 2004.

RB: Alvaro Arbeloa (Castile and Leon)
Alvaro Arbeloa started his career with Real Madrid, but he made a name with Liverpool in England before making a return to his mother club in 2009.  He helped Real Madrid to win their 10th European Cup in 2014.  For Spain, he was mainly used as a sub during Spain's glorious run at Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, but he was their starting rightback at the 2012 European Championship.
Alvaro Arbeloa
RB: Feliciano Rivilla (Castile and Leon)
Feliciano Rivilla was an all-time great with Atletico Madrid.  He started playing football with Real Ávila CF, moving to Real Murcia at the age of 17.  In 1954, he joined Atletico Madrid, where he played until 1968. He won the European Championship in 1964 with Spain, and was a part of two WC Finals in 1962 and 1966.

CB: Gregorio Benito (Castile and La Mancha)
Gregorio Benito started as a track and field star. He signed for Real Madrid in the 1963. After two years on loan to neighbouring Rayo Vallecano, he returned to his main club, remaining there for the following 14 seasons and winning six leagues and five Spanish Cups.  He was capped 22 times by Spain.

CB: Marquitos (Cantabria)
Marquitos was a member of Di Stefano's Real Madrid in the 1950's, a team widely considered to be the greatest club side.  They won five straight European Cup titles.  He scored a goal against Stade Reims at the 1956 Final. He also played for Racing de Santander, Hércules CF, Real Murcia, Calvo Sotelo and Toluca de Santander. Capped twice.

CB: Iván Helguera (Cantabria)
Helguera started in the lower division in Spain before joining Roma in 1997.  He then joined Espanyol and made a name there.  In 1999, he joined Real Madrid, where he won two Champions' League titles.  He left Real Madrid in 2007 and played one more season with Valencia.  He was capped 47 times.  He participated at Euro 2000 and 2004, and the 2002 World Cup Finals.

CB: Pablo Ibáñez (Castile and La Mancha) 
Pablo began his career with Albacete, with whom he earned promotion from the Segunda División to La Liga in 2003. A year later, he signed for Atlético Madrid where he made nearly 200 appearances over six seasons.  In 2010 he moved to England where he played for West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.  He had 23 caps and represented his country at the 2006 World Cup.
Pablo Ibáñez
LB: Isacio Calleja (Castile and Leon)
Except for a loan spell with CD Guadalajara in the third division, Isacio Calleja spent his entire 14-year professional career with Atlético Madrid. He won back-to-back Copa del rey from 1959 to 1961.  In 1962, he won the Cup Winners' Cup. He had 13 caps for Spain. Calleja helped the national side to win the 1964 European Nations' Cup on home soil.

LB: Pachín (Cantabria)
Pachín signed for Real Madrid in 1959 from Segunda División club CA Osasuna. Pachín left the Merengues in May 1968, having appeared in 218 competitive games and scored two goals. He won 11 major titles during his spell, including seven national championships and the 1960 and 1966 editions of the European Cup.  He earned 8 caps and played in the World Cup Finals in 1962.

CM: Ruben Baraja (Castile and Leon) 
Baraja started his career with Real Valladolid and moved to Atletico Madrid.  Atletico Madrid relegated after the 1999-2000 season which allowed him to join Valencia and his career took off.  Forming a midfield with David Albelda, Valencia won two La Liga titles and the 2004 UEFA Cup.  He was also a part of the losing side at the Champions' league Final in 2001.  He earned 43 caps.  he played in WC 2002 and Euro 2004.
Ruben Baraja 
CM: Eugenio Leal (Castile and La Mancha)
Eugenio Leal spent most of his 12-year professional career with Atlético Madrid, appearing in more than 230 competitive games and winning two La Liga championships.  He retired at the age of 29 because of an injury. Leal earned the first of his 13 caps for Spain on 16 April 1977.  He went to the 1978 World Cup Finals.

AM/CM: Iván de la Peña (Cantabria)
Nicknamed Pequeño Buddha (Little Buddha), Iván de la Peña  started his career with Barcelona in 1995 playing alongside Ronaldo. He was billed as one of the best young Spanish players in the mid-1990's.  However, injuries limited his career. He left Barcelona in 1998 for Lazio. From 2002 to 2011, he played for Espanyol. For the national team, he was a star of Spain Under-21 in 1996, but he did not make his senior debut until 2005.

AM/CM: Andres Iniesta (Castile and La Mancha)
Andreas 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 for the final against Italy, and was named the Player of the Tournament. He won over 130 caps for Spain. He also won Champion' league trophies with Barcelona.
Andres Iniesta
CM/AM: Juan Mata (Castile and Leon)
Juan Mata was a youth academy player for Real Madrid, but he started with Valencia in 2007.  From 2011 to 2014, he played for Chelsea, where he was a major star for the team.  After a fallout with Jose Mourinho, he moved to Manchester United.  Ironically, they would reunite again at Old Trafford. For Spain, he was a part of the team that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship two years later.

AM/CM: Luis del Sol (Castile and Leon)
Luis del Sol started his career with Real Betis.  He joined Real Madrid in 1960, winning an Intercontinental Cup in his first season with Real Madrid. In 1962, he was lured to play in Italy.  He later played with Juventus and then, Roma.  He was a part of Spain's Euro 1964 winning team. He also played in both 1962 and 1966 World Cup Finals.

LW: Francisco Gento (Cantabria)
Francisco Gento is regarded as one of the greatest left wings in history.  Gento began his career at Racing Santander in 1952 and moved to Real Madrid the following season. He appeared in a joint record eight European Cup finals, winning a record six, as well as winning 12 La Liga titles.  In a 14-year international career, Gento earned 43 caps for Spain, playing at the World Cup in 1962 and 1966.
Francisco Gento vs Argentina

FW: Pedro Munitis (Cantabria)
Pedro Munitis was one of the shortest players in La Liga, and was best known for his fighting spirit. His pcareer was mainly associated with Racing de Santander – he also represented Real Madrid for two years – and he played 447 top flight matches during 17 seasons, scoring 43 goals.  He earned 21 caps for Spain, scoring two goals. He represented the nation at UEFA Euro 2000,

ST: Mariano Martín (Castile and Leon)
Martín joined FC Barcelona in 1939, proceeding to become one of the club's most prolific scorers. During his nine seasons at the Camp Nou, he netted 128 times in only 150 matches, including 30 in 23 contests in his fourth season, although Barça finished in third place. Martín closed out his career in 1952, after playing for Gimnàstic de Tarragona, Real Zaragoza and UE Sant Andreu.  For Spain, he was capped 3 times.

ST: Chus Pereda (Castile and Leon)
Chus Pereda began his career with Bilbao club SD Indautxu, but was rejected by Athletic Bilbao because of his birthplace. He then joined Real Madrid.  He was better known for his career with Barcelona, where he played from 1961 to 1969.   He earned 15 caps. In 1964 he helped Spain win the European Championship,

ST/FW: Cesar Rodriguez (Castile and Leon)
During his career, Cesar played mainly for Barcelona, appearing in 351 official matches and scoring 232 goals, making him the highest goalscorer in the club's history until he was passed by Lionel Messi.  He won the Pichichi Trophy for the 1948–49 season. He won five La Liga championships with the team in a total of 13 major trophies.  At the international level, César had 12 caps. He represented Spain at the 1950 World Cup. 

ST: Carlos Santilana (Cantabria)
Carlos Santilana was a star during the 1970's.  He moved to Real Madrid at the age of 19 in 1971.  He scored 352 goals and played in 778 games, a record until Manuel Sanchis broke it in the 1997-1998 season.  H is the eighth-highest top scorer of all-time in the Spanish first division, with 186 goals. He made 56 appearance for Spain.  He participated in all major tournament from Argentina 1978 to Euro 1984, helping Spain to finish second in 1984.
Carlos Santilana 
Honorable Mention
Eusebio Sacristán (Castile and Leon), Eugenio Leal (Castile and La Mancha), Antonio de la Cruz (Castile and Leon), Goyo Benito (Castile and La Mancha), Javier de Pedro (La Rioja), Jesús Ángel Solana (La Rioja), Felipe Miñambres (Castile and Leon), José Amavisc (Cantabria), Sergio Asenjo (Castile and Leon).

Squad Explanation
-- In 2015, I created this blog.  The team consists of players from Castile and Leon, Castile and La Mancha, Cantabria, La Rioja and Madrid.  In 2020, I created a separated team for Community of Madrid This blog team became the Castile All-Time team without players from Madrid.
--  The all-time teams of Basque and Catalonia were based on ethnicity, but this team is based on birth places.  Frankly speaking, I do not know much the Castilian ethnicity. I tried my best not to select players from other ethnicity, but the criteria is actually more opened here. 
-- I am 100% sure that many Latin American players have ancestors from Castile.  I am overlooking them at this moment. It is impossible to trace the ancestries of every single great footballers.
-- Unlike Basque and Catalonia, Castile is not an official region.  It consists of several official regions in the modern Spain.  They have several autonomous football teams. 
-- Most players played for either Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. César, Ruben Baraja, José Manzanedo and Andreas Iniesta never played for neither them.
-- Pedro Munitis, Francisco Gento,  Ruben Baraja, Pablo Ibáñez and Sergio Asenjo played for local clubs in the region.
-- Castile and Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Cantabria and Madrid have their own autonomous team.  They seemed to be less active than Basque and Catalonia.
-- The autonomous football teams play in the UEFA Region Cup, which is an amateur tournament. But I do not see them playing in friendlies with professional players as much as I saw with Basque and Catalonia.
-- At the time of writing, only 5 players born in La Rioja have played for Spain.  Goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia is the only player selected. Javier de Pedro and Jesús Ángel Solana (La Rioja) are on my honorable mention.
-- I do not have much choice for goalkeepers. Abel Resino (Castile and La Mancha) is relatively well-known.   I took Dani Aranzubia becuase he at least attended a major tournament. There is limited information on José Manzanedo, but I took him over Sergio Asenjo (Castile and Leon). 
-- Santiago Cañizares was born in Madrid but raised in Puertollano, Castile-La Mancha.  In the end, I decided not to consider him.  If I do that for him, I might have to look in the bios of every player on my blog teams to determine their hometowns.
-- Andreas Iniesta and Alvaro Arbeloa are members of the 2010 World Cup winning team.
-- Despite playing for Barcelona FC, Andres Iniesta is from the region. He was born in Fuentealbilla.
-- Iván de la Peña was billed as one of Spain's top young players, but his career was unfulfilled, but he still did enough to earn a place on this team.  He had a good career with Espanyol.
-- Juan Mata came from Real Madrid youth system.  He had a fruitful career in England.
-- Manuel Sanchis Sr was born in Alberique, not in the region.
-- When Carlos Santillana joined Real Madrid, he was projected to be Fenrec Puskas' heir apparent, which was a hard act to follow.  I do not think the younger fans remembered him as well as Puskas, etc.  He is actually the 4th in both goal scoring and appearance record for Real Madrid.
-- César was Barcelona's all-time leading scorer until Lionel Messi broke it.  At the time of writing, Mariano Martín is the 10th top scorer for Barcelona.

Starting lineup







Friday, September 4, 2015

Catalonia Greatest All-time 23 member team



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

The Catalana has been referred to by various names including Selecció Catalana, Selecció de Barcelona and the Catalan XI.

Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship. Other than in certain cases where other nationalities are involved, Catalan players are full Spanish citizens who are eligible to play for Spain.  Catalonia is known for its football teams, Barcelona and Espanyol. This is my selection of an all-time 23 member team for Catalan players.  I excluded guest players who played for Catalan XI.

My all-time teams:
SpainBarcelona Dutch Best XI
Barcelona All-Time Team for Spanish Players
Barcelona All-Time Team for Foreign Players
BarcelonaEspanyol
BasqueCataloniaCastile without Madrid playersMadrid CommunityAndalusiaValencian Community
Spain without Real Madrid and Barcelona players

Team
GK: Ricardo Zamora (Spain)
The first ever star goalkeeper in history.  He is also remembered for a spectacular last minute save he made in the 1936 Copa de España final while playing for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona. The award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, is named in his honour and he was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine. He was also Spain's most capped player for 45 years.

GK: Antoni Ramallets (Spain)
Antoni Ramallets was the starting keepers of Barcelona in the 1950's.  He played alongside with Laszio Kubalal and Luis Suarez.  He won 6 La liga titles in an era that was known to be dominated by Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.  Ramallets played 35 games for Spain during 11 years, making his debut against Chile on 29 June 1950, during the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

GK: Hugo Lloris (France)
Hugo Lloris started his career with Nice.  He moved to Lyon in 2008 to replace Coupet. In 2012, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs.  Tay the time of writing, he has over 80 caps for France.  He is a key player since the World Cup Finals in 2010, participating in every major tournaments.  He was the starting keeper for France at the Euro 2016 and the World Cup Finals in 2018.
Hugo Lorries
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.

CB: Carlos Puyol (Spain)
As an one-club man, Carlos 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.
Carlos Puyol 
CB: Gerard Pique (Spain)
Pique started his career with Barcelona's academy, but left for Manchester Uniued. In England, he was seldom used by the team.  he returned to Spain in 2006 with Zaragoza.  He gradually became a good defender in La Liga.  At the time of writing, he has been capped over 90 times.  His grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is a former vice-president of Barcelona.

CB: Joan Segarra (Spain)
Joan Segarra played for Barcelona from1949 to 1964.  He was a part of the great Barcelona team of the 1950's. He was the captain of the "Barça of the Five Trophies". They finally reached the 1961 European Cup Final, but losing to Benfica.  It would take Barcelona 31 more years before finally winning the Cup.  For the national team, he had 25 caps.

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: Joan Capdevila (Spain)
At the club level, Joan Capedevila started his career with Espanyol in 1998.  He later played for Atletico Madrid, Deportivo la Coruna, Villarreal and Benfica.  The peak of his career was with Deportivo la Coruna and Villarreal. He was capped 60 times for Spain, in a period where Spain won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championship. He was their disputed starting leftback in that era. He was the only starting player in the 2010 Final who was not a member of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Joan Capdevilla 
LB: Sergi (Spain)
Sergio 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).

DM: Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Since 2009, Sergio Busquets had played over 100 times for Spain.  He was known for doing the "dirty work" in the midfield during Spain's glorious run at the World Cup in 2010.  For his club career, he played for Barcelona.  He is probably remembered for his racist against Marcelo during an El Classico game. His father was a goalkeeper who played for Barcelona FC.

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
DM: Marti Verges (Spain)
Marti Verges was a part of Barcelona's great team of the 1950's.  He won three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 1955–58, 1958–60, 1965–66, coincidently in the same years that Real Madrid won the European Cup.  He was capped 12 times between 1957 and 1962.  He was included in the 1962 World Cup squad fro Spain.

CM: Mariano Gonzalvo (Spain)
Gozalvo was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's.  The team was known to be Spain's greatest club side before the emerge of Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.  He won 5 league titles.  For the national team, he was capped 16 times.  Between 1947 and 1955 he also played three times for the Catalan XI. His first game was a 3-1 win against Spain on October 10, 1947.

CM: Gerald Lopez (Spain)
Gerald Lopez was a star for Valencia between 1997 and 2000.  He helped them to reach the Champions' league Final in 2000 against Real Madrid, the first time where two clubs from the same country played in the Final together.  After losing 3-0 to Real Madrid, he joined Barcelona, but injuries cut short his career with the club. His international career was limited a few caps in 2000.

AM: Josep Samitier (Spain)
Josep Samitier played for Barcelona between 1919 and 1932. He is the club's all time third top goalscorer.  He joined Real Madrid in 1932 from Barcelona FC and then played for Nice in France from 1936 to 1939.  In 1920, Samitier was also a member of the first ever Spanish national squad. The squad won the silver medal at the 1920 Olympic Games. He subsequently made 21 appearances and scored 2 goals for Spain.

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.
Xavi
RW: Estanislau Basora (Spain)
Estanislau Basora was considered of the Barcelona's greatest players.  He was a member of Barcelona's team in the 1950's, the greatest Spanish club team before the emerge of Alfred Di Stefano's Real Madrid.   He was capped 22 times for Spain between 1949 and 1957. He went to the World Cup Final in 1950. He also represented Catalonia XI on several occasions.

RW: Carles 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.  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.

LW: 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 Fabregas was lured to play for Arsenal's academy in 2003.  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 to play for Chelsea.  He was a part of Spain that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships.

ST: Raul Tamudo (Spain)
Raul Tamudo was a club legend with Espanyol, where he played from 1997 to 2010.  He captained the side for a decade.  He won two Copa Del Rey with the club as well as reaching the Final of UEFA cup in 2007. He is their all-time leading scorer.  He also played for Real Sociedad, Rayo Vallecano Mexico's C.F. Pachuca and Sabedell FC. He picked up 13 caps for Spain between 2000 and 2007. He was a member of their 2000 silver medal winning team at the Olympics.
Raul Tamudo 
ST/LW: Eduard Manchón (Spain)
Between 1950 and 1957,  Eduard Manchón scored 88 goals in 201 games for Barcelona, where he witnessed one of his most successful periods in his career. Together with László Kubala, César and Estanislau Basora, he formed one of the most dangerous front-lines in the club's history. He belonged to the legendary "Five Cups-Barça" side, which won all five possible trophies in 1952.

ST: Eric Cantona (France)
Before joining Leeds United in 1992, Eric Cantona was known as the bad boy of French football.  He moved to England to restart his career.  In England, he became a huge star.  He won the league title with Leeds United and moved to Manchester United.  At Manchester United, he became one of their best ever players. For the national team, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. 
Eric Cantona

Honorable Mention
José Parra Martínez, Albert Celades, Vicente Piera, Bojan Krkić, Albert Luque, Jordi Cruyff, René Llense, Josep Escolà, Ramón Calderé, Sergio García, Gabri, Jordi Alba, Victor Valdes, Sergio.

Squad Explanation
-- Catalonia has used non-Catalonian guest players such as Johan Cruyff, Hristo Stoichkov, Alfredo Di Stéfano, etc.  However, I only selected ethnic Catalan players for this team. No guest player is considered.
-- It is hard to identify ethnic Catalan footballers.  I probably made mistakes here and there.  It is impossible to look deep into ancestry of every single footballers in the planet.  Catalonia became part of the Spain since King Ferdinand of Aragon married Queen Isabella of Castille in 1469.  I am sure that many Spanish and Latin American footballers have some Catalan ancestry in them after 550 years of being in the same country.  So I am selecting only the obviouys ones.  Gerard Pique, Xavi and Carlos Puyol were well-known Catalan.  And Eric Cantona has been outspoken about his ethnicity.  
-- Lionel Messi supposedly has a Catalan great great grandfather.  I suspected that most Argentine or Latin American footballers have some specific blood ties to a certain region in Spain through a great grandparents, etc.  As mentioned, Catalonia has been a part of Spain for 550 years.  Most of the population must have some blood from everywhere in Spain. So I am leaving him out at this moment.
-- Ricardo Zamora, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Pep Guardiola and Albert Ferrer are on my All-Time Spain Team.
-- Only 5 players selected never played for Barcelona.  Eric Cantona and Hugo Lloris were French whil Raul Tamudo played for Espanyol.
-- Five players here also won the World Cup in Spain in 2010. All of them started in the Final against Holland in South Africa.  They are Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and Joan Capedevila.  
-- At the time of writing, I still selected Sergi over Jordi Alba.
-- Jordi Cruyff's mother is from Catalonia. So he is eligible. he made honourable mention.
-- I do not know the ethnic background of Paulino Alcántara (Spain/the Philippines).  He was all-time great with Barcelona.
-- Eric Cantona's mother is Catalonian. His grandfather fought in the Spanish Civil War. He has been outspoken for the Catalonian nationalism in recent years
-- Luis Suarez Miramontes and Andres Iniesta are not Catalans, despite being all-time greats with Barcelona FC.  They had played for the Catalonia national team as guest players.
-- Eric Cantona was only footballer selected who was never played for Spain. After the 2018 World Cup Finals, Hugo Lloris replaced Victor Valdes. There are a estimated of 430,000 Catalans living in France.
-- René Llense of France made honourable mention.
-- Sergei Milinkovuic-Savic was born in Lleida when his father played professional football there.  At the time of writing, I am undecided if he is eligible for this team. I have been looking at ethnic Catalonian player for now.
-- Vicente Engonga was the first Spanish-born black player to play for the Spanish national team. He was born in Catalonia  of Equatorial Guinean descent, but not an ethnic Catalan. During his career, he also represented the unofficial Cantabria autonomous team.  
-- Sergio Garcia has played more times for Catalonia than any player since 2002. He also scored more goals.

Starting lineup