New Delhi: Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo opted to not include back-to-back Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in his UEFA Champions League dream team. The team, however, has the Real Madrid front-man's eternal rival Lionel Messi, leading the attack.
Besides the Portuguese goal-machine, the metronome also ignored legends like Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Del Piero, Raul and of course the original Ronaldo.
Pirlo, 35, selected a team of eleven players in the traditional formation of one goal-keeper, a back-four defence, three-man midfield and a trio of attackers. The Mail reported the Italian having Gianluigi Buffon; Philipp Lahm, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Cafu; Paul Scholes, Gennaro Gattuso and Xavi; and Kaka, Lionel Messi and Filippo Inzaghi in his dream team.
While selecting the team, the Italian world cup winner provided his verdict of each of the selected players, replete with praise.
According to him, Buffon makes saves that no other goalkeeper in the world can make, Lahm hardly makes mistakes while Maldini could read the game like nobody else. He continued that Cannavaro is a true leader that didn’t need to ask for respect, but naturally got it, and Cafu is the first truly great attacking full back.
For him, Paul Scholes is truly great English midfield player of the generation, and Gattuso – opposition's real nightmare, while Xavi is a player who doesn't need to spend the whole time running but would control so many games.
The Juventus stalwart reserved his best praise for Messi. He said, that everybody knows the Argentine is one of the greatest ever already and will continue to achieve much more.
Talking about Kaka and Inzaghi, Pirlo said there was a point when teams just had no idea how to stop the Brazilian while the Italian was the perfect goal scorer.
In a well-decorated career, Pirlo has won two Champions League titles with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007; five Serie A titles, two with Milan and three with Juventus. He is often regarded as one of the best playmakers of the game with an unrivalled sense of ball possession and pin-point delivery accuracy.