The Ultimate World 5-a-side Team

Inspired by the FA Umbro Fives competition (with a final at Wembley), I’ve picked the ultimate 5-a-side team. The only criteria is that the players must be currently active, regardless of which league they are playing in.

Have a look through my selection below, and then share your own in the comments.

Selection Criteria

1. 1 goalkeeper, 4 outfield players, 2 substitutes and 1 manager.
2. Pick players that would be most suited to / thrive in 5-a-side football. A player with great aerial ability isn’t necessarily made-for 5-a-side football. Technical ability, speed, low center of gravity, accuracy, consistency and the ability to play multiple roles in a team are the key factors. Don’t go for things like long-range shooting – really, how far do you need to shoot in a 5-a-side game?
3. You can’t pick more than 2 players from the same club team. Otherwise people will have half of the Barcelona team lined up here, and where’s the fun in that?


You need the best shot-stopper in the world, someone who can make lightening fast saves, stop those low drives, and cause despair in opposition players just by stepping on the pitch. There are plenty of quality keepers around, but Iker Casillas is easily the best amongst them, and he would shine in a 5-a-side team (let’s face it, the Madrid defence have given him plenty of practice in one-on-one saves).


A libero the style of Beckenbauer is needed, but there are few defenders today who are comfortable on the ball. Strength is a good criteria to have but above all you need immaculate positioning, sharp tackling and great passing ability, with shooting a bonus. My shortlist here was Gerard Pique, Ashley Cole and Daniel Alves, and you could play any of these three in defence without hesitation. Ultimately though, it’s about ball-skills, and while that may be the perfect stage for Ashley Cole to shine, my 5-a-side team has Daniel Alves in it.

Yes, you don’t always have to pick a central defender here.


Defensive ability is less of a concern than creativity, ability to score and a willingness to track back. It’s tempted to put in two creative midfielders but that would put a lot of pressure on the defender. The ideal option would be to have an all-action central midfielder (with great ball-skills, of course) and play two forwards-cum-midfielders instead.

And I’ve done exactly that – picked a central midfielder and placed two players in the ‘Attack’ section, although both of them are perfectly capable of playing on the wings, through the middle, up front, and are easily the two fastest and most-skilled footballers around today (you’ve already guessed, haven’t you?).

Any way, back to the midfield – who can we pick here? The shortlist was a lengthy one, but it came down to Fabregas and Xavi. It’s tough to find two players as complete as these two (there are other, all-action midfielders but their ball skills aren’t in the same park as these two), and it’s tough to pick one of them. Eventually, I went with Fabregas because of the 2-per-team rule.

Phillip Lahm makes the subs bench. He can play in defence (allowing Dani Alves to push upfront), he can also sit in midfield and pass the ball, and he’s got quick feet. Above all he’s a team man.


This one is simple to pick – as mentioned earlier, I decided to pick two players in attack who could basically play anywhere in the forward line, and in a 5-a-side game, they’d wreak havok on the opposition. Excellent ball skills, so fast cameras have trouble keeping up and the ability to win games on their own.

Take a bow, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It’s true that I could have picked more ‘traditional’ strikers – Drogba (ball-skills?), Villa, Torres, Van Persie, Rooney, Forlan, etc etc. But I’m building a team, and these two complement the ‘total football’ nature of this 5-a-side team.

The subs choice came down to Gourcuff, Robben, Jovetic and Sneijder. Ultimately I went with Stevan Jovetic for the pace / finishing, as his inclusion would mean one of the two attacking players dropping deeper into the midfield.

World 5-a-side

Manager: Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid) – no prepares for matches better than him.

GK: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
DF: Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
MF: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
ATT: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Subs: Phillip Lahm (Bayern Munich) and Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina)

Ok, that’s my choice for the ultimate world 5-a-side team. Do you agree/disagree with my picks? Let’s hear your suggestions…

Brought to you by the FA Umbro Fives

FA Umbro FivesThe FA Umbro Fives is the national 5-a-side competition organised by the English FA. The final will be played at Wembley, with participating teams going through the same experience as teams playing a real cup final and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to score / win a title at Wembley.

The website has all the details on how to sign up, plus highlights from previous finals, tips on 5-a-side football from Umbro. You also have the chance to win TEN tickets to an England match throug the FA Umbro Fives’ Facebook page, so check that out too.

Here’s the tournament preview video:

This article was written by Ahmed Bilal of Soccerlens. You can follow him on Twitter.


  1. Ahmed Umair September 17, 2010
    • Leks September 17, 2010
  2. M Emanuel September 17, 2010
  3. TheSoccerSage September 17, 2010
  4. Matt September 17, 2010
  5. T Bogard September 17, 2010
  6. ChrisWest September 17, 2010
  7. ish September 18, 2010

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