Written by James Kimber
Inspired by the Audi connect campaign which saw the FC Bayern Munich stars battle it out #pickingteams on the streets of NYC to find the best teammates for a one-off game, we have put together our ultimate five aside team of all time.
In fact not just that, we’ve also listed our ultimate Legends and Bayern team. Who would you have in yours?
Ultimate playing 5-a-side team
As we all know, formations in 5-a-side usually go out the window as soon as the ref blows his whistle. Goals win games, therefore it seemed reasonable to go for an unorthodox 1-2-1 formation, to squeeze as much attacking talent as possible into this dream team.
Goalkeeper: Mauel Neuer
What would be your ideal goalkeeper in a 5-a-side game – a giant of a shotstopper, who’s also as comfortable as a midfielder with the ball at their feet? Bayern Munich and Germany’s Manuel Neuer is your man; he’s won everything at club level, and has a World Cup winner’s medal in his closet. A shoe-in for this dream 5-a-side team.
Defender: Thiago Silva
Arguably the best centre-back in the world, whose huge influence on the Brazil team was most evident in the 2014 World Cup. The momentous collapse of their defence when he was suspended for the semi-final against Germany was plain to see.
Midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo
If you were to design a human being to play football, what you’d come up with would be pretty close to CR7. Quick as a flash, strong as an ox, and incredible shooting ability with both feet. Plus, with 5-a-side pitches being so small, who needs to pass anyway?
Midfield: Lionel Messi
The polar opposite of Ronaldo – despite his diminutive size, widely lauded as the greatest player in the world. Absolute wizardry on the ball, can beat any defender with the ball at his feet, and a deadly finisher. First name on the team sheet.
Centre-Forward: Sergio Agüero
The ball drops loose on the edge of the box – who do you want to be there to stick it away? Despite his 3-game ban this season, he’s still joint-top of the goalscoring charts this season, with a staggering average of 70 minutes per goal so far this season. Edges out Suarez/Neymar/Lewandowski purely for his longevity of scoring goals at the highest level
Ultimate legends 5-a-side team
History shows us that the players who are generally most well-remembered are attackers, goalscorers and the like. To accommodate such incredible talent, we’ve gone for a single defender, with an all-action midfielder to bring balance behind a devastating attacking duo.
Goalkeeper: Gordon Banks
Legendary for ‘that save’ against Pelé in the 1970 World Cup, Gordon Banks looks like he will hold the title as England’s only World Cup winning goalkeeper for a good while yet. Not quite as an impressive club career, but he gets the gloves for his consistent performances at the highest level on the international stage.
Defender: Franco Baresi
Italy are renowned for developing great defenders, and Baresi is perhaps the best of their long list of genuinely world class centre-halves. He won six Serie A titles, three European Cups, and won the 1982 World Cup with Italy with whom he was capped 81 times. The rock at the base of this team that will hold them together.
Midfielder: Zinedine Zidane
It would be a great shame if Zidane were only to be remembered for his headbutt in the final of the 2006 World Cup, which France went on to lose to Italy. He was the driving force behind their run to the final of that tournament, as well as when they won the home tournament in 1998. Elegant and capable of true wizardry on the ball, was capable of changing and winning games all by himself.
Striker: Diego Maradona
The talisman behind Argentina’s World Cup win in Mexico 1986, winning the Golden Ball and lifting the trophy as captain, Maradona was in a class of his own.
Known during his career as ‘The King of Football’, it’s impossible to leave Pelé out of this side. With three World Cups to his name, and status as perhaps the most legendary footballer of all time, there needs little explanation but let’s look at his career stats:
Club games played (goals scored): 694 (650)
International games played (goals scored): 91 (77)
Ultimate Bayern Munich 5-a-side team
Bayern Munich are undoubtedly Germany’s current number one side – Bundesliga champions for the past four seasons, and Champions League victors in 2013, they are undoubtedly also one of the top sides in the world. Who do you think would make their current dream 5-a-side team?
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
The number 1. Not only arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, but Bayern’s first choice for as long as he remains at the club. Combines cat-like agility with his enormous wingspan like few others – the ultimate goalkeeper.
Defender: Jerome Boateng
The rock at the centre of an at-times impenetrable defence. Quick, strong, comfortable on the ball, and has a penchant for miraculous goal-line clearances. Boateng is one of the world’s best defenders and it shows.
Midfielder: Arturo Vidal
The engine room that keeps the Bayern steam train ticking over – very little gets past him and his workrate is second-to-none. May not have the same passing ability of Xabi Alonso, but his ability to retain possession and still use it effectively is what gets the Chilean into this side.
Striker: Thomas Müller
Many pundits and fans alike have struggled to explain why, but Thomas Muller’s brilliance is best seen through his statistics – at the age of just 27 he has scored 10 goals in 2 World Cups, meaning he has a good chance of threatening Miroslav Klose’s World Cup record of 16 goals. Inexplicably pops up unmarked whenever there’s a loose ball – the definition of fox-in-the-box.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski
Bayern’s main man at the moment, and with 52 goals in 68 appearances in total it’s hard to argue with him. Predatory in front of goal, and deceptively fast with his huge strong frame, a complete striker.