Which United legend is in the Ballon d'Or all-time XI?
France Football have revealed their Ballon d’Or ‘Dream Team’ – an all-time world XI - and it contains a former Manchester United forward.
With the sport’s most prestigious individual prize cancelled for the first time in its 64-year history, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the respected French magazine instead asked 140 journalists to come up with an all-time XI.
The end result? A star-studded 3-4-3 line-up, with Cristiano Ronaldo included up front, alongside his great Ballon d'Or rival Lionel Messi and Brazilian namesake Ronaldo.
Of course, Portugal's Ronaldo made his name at Old Trafford, after joining from Sporting Lisbon in 2003. He scored 118 goals in 292 games and helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to win three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008.
The latter triumph was a big reason behind Cristiano winning his first Ballon d’Or and he has since added a further four, after netting a barely believable 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid and guiding Los Merengues to European Cup wins in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Now 35, age is showing no signs of slowing Cristiano down – he recently made it on to the scoresheet for the 750th time in his illustrious career and is Juventus’s main man as they aim for a 10th consecutive Italian title.
Commenting on Twitter after the line-up was announced, CR7 said: “I’m very honoured to be part of France Football’s All-Time 11. What an amazing Dream Team... They all deserve my respect and admiration and I’m obviously proud to be amongst such extraordinary players. Thank you!”
The two Ronaldos and Messi are joined by a duo many believe to be the two greatest footballers of all time, in Pele and the late Diego Maradona, in what on paper is a potent attacking line-up.
Xavi and Lothar Matthaus patrol this theoretical team’s midfield, while Cafu, Franz Beckenbauer and Paolo Maldini are there to keep things tight at the back, in front of the only goalkeeper ever to win the Ballon d’Or, Lev Yashin.
With football history littered with so many great names, France Football also named second and third XIs, and another United icon is included in the latter.
George Best, who claimed the individual prize after the Reds’ first European Cup win, in 1968, joins the likes of Thierry Henry, Sergio Ramos and Michel Platini in another all-star line-up.
FRANCE FOOTBALL'S DREAM TEAMS
First XI: Lev Yashin; Cafu, Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini; Xavi, Lothar Matthaus, Diego Maradona, Pele; Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo.
Second XI: Gianluigi Buffon; Carlos Alberto, Franco Baresi, Roberto Carlos; Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Rijkaard, Alfredo Di Stefano; Garrincha, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho.
Third XI: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Paul Breitner; Michel Platini, Johan Neeskens, Didi, Andres Iniesta; George Best, Marco van Basten, Thierry Henry.