Sunday, December 19, 2021

Extremadura All-Time Best XI

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Fernando Morientes

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

This is my selection of All-time Best XI team for Extremadura.  
Located in the central-western part of the Iberian Peninsula, Extremadura is crossed from east to west by the Tagus and Guadiana rivers. The autonomous community is formed by the two largest provinces of Spain: Cáceres and Badajoz. Extremadura is bordered by Portugal to the west and by the autonomous communities of Castile and León (north), Castilla–La Mancha (east) and Andalusia (south).

Founded in 1924, CF Extremadura was the region's major football team, but it folded in 2010.  Extremadura Unión Deportiva is the only major club left.  It was founded in 2007.  At the time of writing,  it never reached the  Primera División, the top tier of the Spanish league.  José Antonio Reyes played for them for a few games before he passed away.

Joaquín Vázquez was the first player born in Extremadura capped by Spain.  He competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics, where Spain win a silver medal.  Rafael Gordillo is the most capped player born here.  Extremadura autonomous football team (Selección de fútbol de Extremadura) played a few games in 2007 and 2008.

In 20 La Liga seasons, César Sánchez played 401 games, with Valladolid, Real Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia and Villarreal, being first choice in three of those clubs and winning seven major titles with the second, including the 2002 Champions League.  He started five out of nine UEFA Champions League matches during the capital side's victorious campaign, He also appeared once for Spain in 2000 when Spain played against Germany.
César Sánchez
RB: Francisco Melo  
In 1964, Francisco Melo started with Real Valladolid where he would play for four seasons.  He played for Atlético de Madrid between 1968 and 1976, winning the Spanish League in 1970 and 1973, and the Intercontinental Cup in 1975. He played in the 1974 European Cup Final, which Atlético lost.  Paco Melo played two games with the Spanish national team, was called up in another five games.

Pedro José's career was closely associated with CF Extremadura, and he only played with teams from his native region in 25 years as a senior. He represented his main club in all four major levels of Spanish football, helping it promote twice to La Liga, in 1996 and in 1998, and appearing in more than 600 competitive matches during his spell (72 goals).  He left the side in 2004 at almost 37, and played a further six years in amateur football, with Mérida UD and Imperio de Mérida CP.

Alejo began his career with Barcelona, but never made an appearance for the first team. He then became a member of the legendary Figueres team that almost earned promotion to La Liga in 1991–92, playing alongside players such as Toni, Luis Cembranos, Pere Gratacós, Tab Ramos and Tintín Márquez. He joined Celta Vigo in late 1992, and made 158 top flight appearances during four and a half seasons with the club. Alejo then played for Elche.  

LB/LW:  Rafael Gordillo 
Rafael Gordillo was known as the greatest left wingback in Spanish history.  He played at the same time as Camacho for both club and country.  Both players started on the left side.  Camacho supported him defensively.  He was a legend at both Real Betis and Real Madrid. He was voted the Best Player in Spain for 1979-1980 season.  He played with the great Real Madrid side of the 1980's, winning 5 La Liga titles and an UEFA Cup. He appeared in nearly 80 matches for Spain and representing the nation in five international tournaments.
Rafael Gordillo
DM/CM: Roberto Marina 
Marina started his professional career with Atlético Madrid, being definitely promoted to the first team for the 1982–83 season.  He scored the 3,000th league goal for the club.  Marina finished his 15-year career with spells with RCD Mallorca and CD Toledo (the latter in the second division), retiring at the age of nearly 34. He earned his first (and only) cap for Spain: on 26 May 1985 he played six minutes in a friendly with the Republic of Ireland, in Cork.

CM: Adelardo Rodriguez 
Adelardo spent 17 years with Atletico Madrid.  He held the appearance record for the club.  He played over 550 matches for the club from 1959 to 1976. During his spell, the club won three La Liga titles (65–66, 69–70 and 72–73), five Copa del Reys (1960, 1961, 1965, 1972 and 1976), the 1962 European Cup Winners' Cup, the 1974 Intercontinental Cup. He earned 14 caps for Spain between 1962 and 1970.  He went to the World Cup in 1962 and 1966.
Adelardo Rodriguez 

CM: Ito
Ito started playing professionally with local CF Extremadura.  He spent a season with Celta before joining Real Betis in 1998.  He joined Espanyol in 2004.  With Espanyol, Ito won the 2006 edition of the Copa del Rey and, although a reserve in the Catalan team's 2006–07 league campaign.   Ito earned his sole cap for Spain on 23 September 1998, appearing in the last two minutes of a 1–0 friendly win over Russia.

Nicknamed Paquete, Higuera started with Mallocra in 1982.  In summer 1988, Higuera signed with Real Zaragoza, being instrumental in their 1995 triumph in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, all this while often partnered offensively with Juan Esnáider, Miguel Pardeza and Gustavo Poyet.  Higuera joined Mexico's Puebla FC in 1997, being accompanied by Pardeza in the adventure.  He played 6 times for Spain between 1992 and 1995.
 Francisco Higuera 
Morientes started with Albacete.  He later signed with Zaragoza in 1995.  Between 1997 and 2005, he played for Real Madrid, winning three Champions' League titles.  He was a starter until the signing of Ronaldo in 2002.  Then, he had a loan stint with AS Monaco FC.  He also played with Liverpool, Valencia, etc.  Morientes earned 47 caps for the Spain national team, representing the country in two World Cups (totalling five goals) and Euro 2004.

Manolo played local CP Cacereño and CE Sabadell FC before he moved to Real Murcia.  In 1988, Manolo signed with Atlético Madrid, where he knew his most successful years, forming a formidable attacking partnership with Paulo Futre.  He was crowned top scorer in 1991–92 with 27 goals.  He went on to total 28 caps and nine goals, representing the nation in the 1990 World Cup finals where he only appeared in the first group stage game against Uruguay (0–0).

Honorable Mention
Victor, David Cortés,  Fernando Pacheco, Edu Moya, Iván Cuéllar, Casto, Pedro Porro, Diego Lozano, Ciriaco Cano, Joaquín Vázquez, Ito, Ernesto Valverde, Ángel Cuéllar.

Squad Explanation
-- At the time of writing, sixteen players born have played for Spain.  So the pool is very limited.  I only have the resource to build an All-Time Best XI.  
-- Adelardo Rodríguez was the first player from Extremadura who played in a World Cup match.  He went to the 1962 World Cup in Chile.  Rafael Gordillo is the most capped player born here. 
-- Extremadura autonomous football team (Selección de fútbol de Extremadura) played a few games in 2007 and 2008.  Ciriaco Cano and Manolo also coached the Extremadura national team. This is their starting lineup against Peru in 2008.  Casto, Edu Moya, Sergio Rodríguez, José María Cidoncha, Sergio Benito, "Ito", "Javito", Jesús Rueda, Enrique, Rocha y Troteiro. Jugaron también: Samir, "Teté", Agustín Fernández, Parra, Guzmán, Carballo, David Generelo, "Chirri", Sabino y Rai.  
-- In 2020, Marca created an All-time Best XI for Extremadura.  The team was as followed: César Sánchez; David Cortes, Roberto Marina, Rafael Gordillo; Ernesto Valverde, Adelardo Rodríguez, Ángel Cuéllar, Victor; Francisco Higuera, Fernando Morientes, Manolo (3-4-3).  My team is different from them.
-- César Sánchez was an easy choice for goalkeeper.  The creation of Extremadura autonomous football team was proposed by him.  I gave him credit for that.  Furthermore, he spent a long career in La Liga, including starting most of Real Madrid's games during its Champions' league winning year in 2002.  He was also capped once for Spain. Fernando Pacheco who spent many seasons in La Liga could be an alternative.
-- César Sánchez actually started ahead Iker Casillas in Real Madrid, but Casillas was a teenager at the time.
-- For rightback, I took Francisco Melo over Pedro Porro.  At the time of writing, Pedro Porro is only 22 years old.  His career was still ahead of him.  He is the most recent player from Extremadura capped by Spain.  David Cortés was selected by Marca as Extremadura's greatest ever rightback. He was liked a journeyman who moved from clubs to clubs throughout his career.  I preferred Melo.
-- Marca did not select any natural central defender.  Roberto Marina played as a central defender for them.  I did not know if he ever played in that position.   From my research, he was a defensive midfielder. For my team, I selected Pedro José and Alejo Indias.  Both players were uncapped player born here.  Pedro Jose was a club legend for CF Extremadura.  He played over 600 games for them.  I awarded him for being a local hero.  Alejo Indias spent many years in La Liga.  He was the only central defender whom I founded have played so long at the highest level in Spain.
-- Rafael Gordillo was one of the best left-sided player from Spain.  Rafael Gordillo was the obvious choice for one of the leftbacks.  He is an Andalusian, but born in Extremadura.  I also selected him on my Andalusia All-Time Team.  He was better known as a left wingback, but in Real Madrid, he was often used as a left wing in front of Camacho.  For this team, I  put him as a leftback so that I could start an extra midfielder.  I did not know if Diego Lozano was also a leftback.  Lozano spent many seasons with Atlético Aviación, which is now Atletico Madrid.  He played 5 times for Spain in 1949.  He started his career as a left winger, but played mainly as a defender.  I also believed Miguel Ángel Ochoa was a leftback.  He competed in the men's tournament at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
-- For midfield, I first took Adelardo Rodríguez who would serve as mu box-to-box midfielder.  He currently holds the appearance record for Atletico Madrid.  Then, I selected Francisco Higuera who had a good career with Zaragoza.  Then, I had to choose between Roberto Marina and Ito.  I could have selected Marina as a central defender and dropped either Pedro José and Alejo Indias.  Marina definitely had a better career than the two defenders. Marca selected him as a central defender, but I did not have any information about his career as a central defender.  
-- Ito played for CF Extremadura, but Roberto Marina played for a better club side.  Since Marca selected him as one of their Best XI, I copied their ideas.  As mentioned, they used him as a central defender, but I took him as a midfielder.
-- Ito is much better known players than the players selected.  I took Pedro Jose and Alejo Indias because of their playing position. But should I take Ito?  In the end, I decided to select Ito over left wing Ángel Cuéllar.  I do believe Angel Cueller's peak was greater than Ito, but Ángel Cuéllar's career was limited due to the injuries.  He spent a long period of his career in the lower division while Ito had a longer career.   Then, I would put Francisco Higuera as a side forward in a 4-3-3 formation.  
-- Ángel Cuéllar made his debut for Real Betis' first team aged 18 in 1990.  In June 1995, Cuéllar signed a five-year deal with league powerhouse FC Barcelona, but suffered 2 years of injury-riddled career there.  He made a return to Real Betis in 1997, but was not a regular starter.  He stayed there until 2004.  He played in the lower division until retirement. He played twice for Spain in 1994 and 1995.  He had represented Spain at the youth level.
-- Fernando Morientes was the all-time leading scorer from Extremadura for the Spanish national team.  He had remarkable career with Real Madrid.  His credentials were well-known. Manolo won the Pichichi Trophy in the 1991–92 season for being the top scorer in La Liga.  Then, I put Francisco Higuera on the left side.  He was mainly an attack midfield, but he had played as a forward.
-- Victor and Ernesto Valverde made honorable mention.  Over 18 seasons, Victor appeared in 561 matches both major levels of Spanish football combined, scoring 167 goals (342 games and 93 goals in La Liga). He played nine years with Valladolid (two spells), and four with Villarreal.Ernesto Valverde was best remembered for coaching career in Barcelona. He played for six teams in a 14-year professional career, including Espanyol, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao.
-- Joaquín Vázquez was the first player from Extremadura capped by Spain, but I only out him on honorable mention.