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Coral writers pick Europe v Rest of the World starting XIs

| 01.03.2015

It has been reported that there were serious plans in place for a lucrative annual end-of-season All-Star friendly between the best players from Europe and Rest of the World, but clubs eventually rejected the idea.

Each participant was apparently to earn up to $1m for taking part in an NBA All-Star style match, but instead it seems we will just have to keep on dreaming and debating who would win.

Coral writers, though, have provided our very own set of starting teams that would have been picked for the occasion, that was reportedly planned to have taken place at the Amsterdam Arena.

Do you agree, and if not who would you pick?

Europe XI
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
World Cup winner with Germany and has claimed multiple trophies with club Bayern Munich (3/1 Champions League chances), Neuer is arguably the greatest keeper of the last decade.

Right back: Philipp Lahm (Germany)
Another modern Die Mannschaft legend, Lahm skippered his nation to victory and is seen as one of the best ever full backs.

Centre back: Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Ramos is one of the most rounded defenders in the world, and is a born winner, having claimed so much silverware for both Real Madrid and Spain.

Centre back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
He may have been a bite victim of Luis Suarez at the World Cup, but Juventus’ Chiellini continues to be a rock at the back.

Left back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain)
Jose Mourinho had so much faith in the young Spaniard that he replaced hero Ashley Cole with the usual right back, and he has stayed there ever since where he continues to highly impress.

Central midfield: Toni Kroos (Germany)
His stand-out performances for Germany at the World Cup earned him a move to Real Madrid, where Kroos has been a revelation.

Central midfield: Paul Pogba (France)
Sir Alex Ferguson may not have had faith in the young Frenchman at the time, but Pogba continues to prove the Scot wrong at Juve and is one of the most sought-after stars in the world.

Attacking midfield: Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Belgium currently have a Golden Generation of players, and Chelsea’s Hazard is the brightest star of them all. His goals and assists have been vital for his team this season so far, and the Blues are 13/2 to win the Champions League.

Right wing: Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
The Dutchman may be into his 30s, but has managed a mammoth 16 goals in 18 appearances for Bundesliga giants Bayern this term.

Left wing: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
With 29 strikes in 21 La Liga games this term so far, the Ballon d’Or winner is still showing why he is the best player in the world right now, despite a brief drought.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
The entertaining Swede seems to get better and better with age, and gets into to our Europe XI just ahead of Brazilian-born Diego Costa.

Rest of the World XI
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Chile)
Chilean Bravo was one of the best keepers of the World Cup in Brazil, and his performances earned him a move to Catalan giants Barcelona in the summer. He has certainly stepped into Victor Valdes’ boots.

Right back: Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina)
Mr Dependable is a cult hero at 10/3 Premier League title chances Manchester City, and the Argentine easily gets in this team.

Centre back: Thiago Silva (Brazil)
The Brazilian is quite simply one of the best defenders of his generation, and his absence in the World Cup semi-final against Germany was clearly a massive hindrance to the Samba Boys, who were a shambles in that 7-1 humiliation.

Centre back: Diego Godin (Uruguay)
Godin was a crucial part of Atletico Madrid’s highly successful 2013/14 season, where they won La Liga as well as reaching the Champions League final against all the odds.

Left back: Marcelo (Brazil)
It is hard to believe that the player is still just 26, but he has been a regular for Real Madrid and Brazil for years.

Central midfield: Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
If it weren’t for his unrewarded position, former Liverpool star Mascherano would be hailed far more. He was such an important part of his nation’s run to the World Cup final.

Central midfield: Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
Toure is the only non-South American to make this team, but he helped his Elephants finally win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in over 20 years.

Attacking midfield: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
As one of the best players in the history of the game, Messi would get into any team. The majestic attacker is still just 27, and has 37 goals already this season.

Right wing: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
Barca made a risky decision to sell the star forward to Arsenal in the summer, and he has showed them what they are missing by still firing in the goals in a more difficult league.

Left wing: Neymar (Brazil)
The Brazilian is in the shadow of Messi at Barcelona, but is his nation’s star player and has still managed to net an impressive 24 times this term.

Striker: Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
Manchester City were without the world class striker earlier this season due to injury, and his absence showed as they slipped behind Chelsea. But his return has brought them back into contention.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.