Building the ultimate World Cup player: including Pele, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane
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The World Cup Finals are a chance for the great and the good of world football to showcase their talents in front of a global audience.
Since the first tournament was held in Uruguay in 1930, some of the game’s greatest ever players have made their mark and created lifelong memories. From Pele bursting on to the scene as a 17-year-old in 1958 to Diego Maradona’s wonder goal against England 28 years later, the icons of the game always come to the fore.
So we, much like Dr. Frankenstein, thought it would be a reasonable idea to try and put together the ‘Perfect World Cup Player’ comprosing of the qualities and abilities of some of the stars that have shone at the tournament during the years.
Here is the monster we have created. It’s alive...it’s alive!
Left foot - Roberto Carlos
Possibly the greatest left foot see in the history of the game! Along with fellow Brazil star Cafu, Carlos changed the way full-backs were viewed as the duo became an integral part of attacking play for the Selecao. Rarely has such power been witnessed in a left foot on any player.
Right foot - David Beckham
How could we not put Becks in here? Of course, the flashbulb memory World Cup moment may well be that kick out at Diego Simeone, but the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star had already made his mark at France 98 with a stunning free-kick against Colombia.
Pace - Kylian Mbappe
It’s safe to say we are already looking at the new generational talent in Mbappe. Already a World Cup winner, already a world superstar, the France international’s pace and power will be a real feature of the upcoming tournament in Qatar. It would not be a surprise to see Mbappe lead the French to their third World Cup win and the second of his career.
Head - Zinedine Zidane
Ok, so stick with us here, because we know when it comes to using his head, Zidane’s shocking headbutt on Marco Materazzi is what springs to mind. But the former France international did score two headed goals in the 1998 final as he led his side to a 3-0 win over Brazil - so we prefer to stick to those memories rather than his final act in a World Cup.
Brain - Lionel Messi
For all of his pace, trickery, finishing ability, right foot quality, left foot quality and so on, Messi really is one of the most intelligent players to have graced a pitch. Of course, it’s often thrown at him that he is yet to win a World Cup and this upcoming tournament will be his final attempt to right that wrong. But we had to put one of the true legends of the game in this list.
Leadership qualities - Bobby Moore
The West Ham United legend remains the only England player to lift a World Cup after leading the Three Lions to their triumph on home soil in 1966. Cool, calm, collected and classy, Moore is an understandably revered figure and was a true leader in every sense of the word.
Power - Pele
The man many regard as the greatest player of all-time and his record certainly backs up his claim to that title. A two-time winner, a member of what some consider to be the best Brazil side in the history of the competition and just a force of nature in the game. Also scored an unbelievable overhead kick with a broken arm…although that wasn’t in a World Cup.
Skill - Diego Maradona
Yes, his World Cup exploits as a player may have ended in disgrace when he was sent home from the USA 94 tournament but we should not forget the more positive qualities Maradona possesses. An ability to run with pace, avoid even the most brutal of challenges and send defenders in all directions, Maradona remains one of football’s true icons. And no, we aren’t mentioning his first goal against England in 1986.
Finishing - Ronaldo
There are players that have scored more goals at the World Cup and there are players that have won the tournament more than the Brazilian. But for injury, he would have been up there alongside Pele, Maradona and Messi as the greatest players we have witnessed. He just had everything and his 15 goals in 19 finals appearances could have been so much more impressive if his career hadn’t been blighted by serious injury. What a player and what a finisher!
Defensive ability - Paolo Maldini
He never actually won the World Cup but it’s hard to look beyond Maldini in any conversation regarding defenders. A legend of the game and a master in defence at both domestic and international level. A beaten finalist in 1994, a member of the Italy squad that finished in third place four years earlier, Maldini had retired by the time the Italians won the World Cup in 2006. He made 23 appearances in the finals and is correctly regarded as one of the best defenders in history.