If Each Major European Soccer League Had An All-Star Team, What Players Would You Choose?

As a follow up to my article about forming national teams from players in the Premier League, I then thought of the idea of forming teams based on the best players from each of the major leagues.  Following this thought, the same exact subject was mentioned on The Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast this past Thursday.

Ultimately I decided it was really only worth covering five leagues — England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. And even amongst those I lack some knowledge, so suggestions and comments are really appreciated.  Some teams, such as Spain, really seem to assemble themselves, while England could probably present four or five different squads and whatever is chosen will lead to disagreement.

So with all that said here we go…

Premier League All-Stars

GK: Lloris
LB: Cole
CB: Vertonghen
CB: Kompany
RB: Zabaleta
MF: Cazorla
MF: Toure
MF: Özil
FWD: Rooney
FWD: Van Persie
FWD: Suarez

As mentioned this squad could go any number of ways.  Some positions fill naturally with numerous players. Some are weaker but still have a lot of candidates.

To accommodate the players I wanted, I formed a very attacking 4-3-1-2 formation. Goalkeeper and defense positions present something of a challenge. It’s hard to identify truly world class defenders in the Premier League. Goalkeepers, though, is an area of strength with so many candidates such as De Gea, Begovic, Cech and Mignolet all strong, but in the end I went with Hugo Lloris.

Across the back is a tougher call.  I slotted Ashley Cole in at left back. At right back, I used last year’s statistical leader, Pablo Zabaleta. I looked for solid center backs rather than ball players but skills in both area are a great benefit. so I went with Jan Vertonghen and an uninjured Vincent Kompany.

My rather attack-minded midfield three is centered by the incomparable Yaya Toure.  n the right. I went with Mesut Özil.  The left side of the pitch presented more of a challenge due to the many strong candidates who were available, but in the end I went with the creativity of Santi Cazorla.

My supporting forward is Wayne Rooney. His tireless effort helping out midfield and defense plus his creativity earns him this spot. Up front there were three major choices and it was hard to decide who to go with between Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez or Sergio Agüero. Ultimately, based on their differing playing styles, and some statistics, I went for Suarez and van Persie.

As I said, you could probably slot alternatives in at many positions but ultimately this looks like a strong team.


France All-Stars

GK: Ruffier
LB: Digne
CB: Silva
CB: Nkoulou
RB: Clerc
MF: Motta
MF: Moutinho
MF: Veratti
FWD: Falcao
FWD: Cavani
FWD: Ibrahimovic

I cannot spend as much time on the details of the League 1 players but clearly the strength lies at PSG and Monaco. There are lots of attacking options but more unknowns in defense and midfield.

In goal, I selected Stephane Ruffier of Saint-Etienne. He’s a great keeper but this is partly due to trying to offer some variety in the clubs.

At left back, we’ll take 20 year old Lucas Digne from PSG, already established and yet so young. Right back is much harder to fill with no clear standout player at this position. Based on his selection in last year’s team of the season, the spot is filled by François Clerc of Saint-Etienne/France. Center backs are a simpler choice with Thiago Silva from PSG and Cameroon’s Nicolas Nkoulou from Marseille filling the slots.

Once again, playing a very attacking three in midfield (to compliment our three strong attackers), we start with Joao Moutinho from Monaco, assisted by the PSG pair of “The new Pirlo” Marco Veratti, and Thiago Motta. PSG and Monaco offer a plethora of options in midfield and Javier Pastore cannot get in the PSG team, never mind this one.  The powerhouse forward line basically picks itself but can they play together? Ibrahimovic and Cavani from PSG and Falcao of Monaco

A surprisingly strong team with questions over their team ethic and defensive strength.


Italy All-Stars

GK: Marchetti
RB: Abate
CB: Chiellini
CB: Bonucci
LB: Pasqual
MF: Pogba
MF: Pirlo
MF: De Rossi
MF: Hernanes
CF: Gomez
CF: Higuain

Serie A is the league I know the least about and, it seems, a league that features relatively few non-Italian players.

In goal Buffon has now been surpassed by Federico Marchetti of Lazio. Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus is a must start in defense but beyond that we struggle a little.  Club partner Leonardo Bonucci slots in alongside him. Milan’s Ignazio Abate covers the right back slot. Manuel Pasqual of Fiorentina adds some club variety in the left back position.

Midfield, as with forwards, presents challenges in both formations and youth vs age, specifically in the Pogba vs Pirlo argument.  I decided to solve that conumdrum by playing them both. Daniele De Rossi of Roma adds some power and will wrap up our four man midfield with the creativity and energy of Lazio’s Hernanes.

Up front there are plenty of choices though, arguably Serie A offers no A+ players at this point.  The difficult choice comes down to Balotelli, Gomez, Higuain, Tevez and Di Natale. But looking for some variety in my players, I opted for Gomez of Fiorentina and Higuain from Napoli.


Germany All-Stars

GK: Neuer
RB: Lahm
CB: Hummels
CB: Dante
LB: Alaba
MID: Martinez
MID: Gundogan
MID: Gotze
MID: Arango
MID: Blaszczykowski
FWD: Lewandowski

Limited knowledge and excessive team strength makes it obvious to not look much further than Bayern Munich and Dortmund in Germany but I started this lineup with an open mind.

In goal we go with the obvious choice in Manuel Neuer from Bayern joined at right and left back by Philip Lahm and David Alaba. Mats Hummels breaks the Munich stronghold and Dante rounds things out.

With so many players to choose from, formation is the big problem for this team. Switching sequence, it’s easy to slot Robert Lewandowski up front leaving room for a five man midfield. Ilkay Gundogan and Javi Martinez provide a powerhouse defensive pairing. Juan Arango, Mario Gotze and Jakub Blaszczykowski provide the attacking options.

There are lots of reasons to include Toni Kroos or Bastien Schweinsteiger, but I feel this is still a pretty strong line up even without them.


Spain All-Stars

GK: Valdez
LB:  Luis
DEF: Varane
DEF: Miranda
RB: Alves
MID: Iniesta
MID: Fabregas
MID: Busquets
FWD: Ronaldo
FWD: Messi
FWD: Neymar

In certain positions this team picks itself. In others, you are spoiled for options, but then there’s defense.

The goalkeeper position is always a coin toss but with Casillas injured, I selected Victor Valdez (who does so well behind such a leaky defense).

It’s difficult to come up with a strong La Liga defense so I came up with the choices made by Sid Lowe on The Guardian podcast. In truth, despite the jokes, this set is still pretty strong. Dani Alves, Frenchman Raphael Varane and Joao Miranda (of Atletico).  Sid suggested Gareth Bale at left back but with plenty of choices, I went with Atletico’s Felipe Luis, mainly just to be different.

With only three midfield slots, there are choices to be made. Alonso, Xavi or Fabregas, Iniesta etc. etc.  In the end I chose a Barcelona set but even that isn’t a clear choice with Fabregas currently looking fresher than Xavi, Iniesta a must start and Busquets for some strength and power.

Up front, what can you do? Neymar, Ronaldo, and Messi pick themselves. Can they all play together? Who knows, but wouldn’t we all like to see them try?  When your team has no room for Diego Costa or Gareth Bale, you know you’re in trouble!


The above list of all-star teams are far more interesting than what the actual national teams make available. I’d love to see a serious tournament of league powers (though I can’t see it happening) and I honestly couldn’t predict who would win. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

17 thoughts on “If Each Major European Soccer League Had An All-Star Team, What Players Would You Choose?”

  1. Fun exercise I appreciate the effort. Are you picking players based on this years performance or general ability over a few years. If it’s this years performance it’s hard to leave off a Ramsey and others are outplaying Rooney though Rooney is overall a top 3 forward

  2. Interesting. Like every All-Star team in every sport there are players who make the list because of reputation rather than current form.

    Can you send 150 or so punch cards so I can vote? I promise no chads.

  3. Yeah the Seria A one is quite a bit off, heres mine

    GK- Buffon

    RCB- Campagnaro CB- Benatia LCB- Chiellini

    CDM- De Rossi CDM- Pirlo
    RCM- Pjanic CM Vidal LCM- Strootman

    ST- Cerci ST- Totti

    just keep in mind this is based on the current ongoing season.

    1. Yes, criminal omission… However, it is to be expected as the writers only seriously cover English football on this site.

      1. That’s an unfair comment. In addition to the Premier League, we have weekly columns on Serie A and La Liga, including coverage of Bundesliga, and cover many other leagues and competitions from around the world.

        1. I have to agree with Borrusia DortMAN.
          The Bundesliga Coverage here (Bundesliga Tap) is miniimal. EPL articles vs Bundesliga 10 to 1 for EPL.

          But it’s not only this site, Fox Soccer was biased against the Bundesliga too. Even when it came to Champions League. During first round (group) up until the Quarters, they would typically show Bundesliga teams at 2 am unless the game was against an English Club. Fox Sports continue to do that for Champions League, showing German teams only on Fox Soccer to go. They didn’t show any of the Dortmund 2 CL games on TV.

          For those that might remember, the Bundesliga was the top international league covered and shown on TV in the mid 70’s and 80’s. Thanks to PBS Soccer Made in Germany.

          1. We have a few stories on the Bundesliga that are scheduled to run this week. But the fact of the matter is that (1) the Bundesliga isn’t that big in the United States, (2) the Bundesliga is not a very accessible league for TV viewers in the United States; it’s only shown on GolTV and many major TV providers don’t carry GolTV on their sports package any longer, and (3) to be completely honest, it’s very difficult to find good Bundesliga writers.

            Having said that, we’ve written more about the Bundesliga the past few weeks than we have in a very long time. Our Bundesliga coverage can be found at http://worldsoccertalk.com/category/leagues-bundesliga/

            Speaking of Soccer Made In Germany, here’s our interview with Toby Charles if you missed it – http://worldsoccertalk.com/podcasts/2007/epl-talk-toby-charles-34813/

  4. German All stars.
    I consider only fit player, or at least players who has performed this season for more than 1-2 matches:

    GK: Neuer (obviously)
    LB: Alaba
    CB: Hummels
    CB: Boateng
    RB: Lahm (maybe atm the best player of the world)
    DM: Bair ( check how smart he plays for Augsburg)
    DM: Lars Bender
    LM: Ribery
    OM: Draxler
    RM: Reus
    ST: Max Kruse

    dunno why you chose Kuba (who is really not playing a good season , and hardly played in the starting 11 ) though you have on his position: Reus,Sidney Sam,Müller,Robben,etc. more surprised I am about Arrango, though there are better Players this Season ( Draxler, Boateng, Müller,Robben) even it is possible to choose Gonzalo Castro and move Draxler to the wings and let him play as Central MF.
    But ok you already mentioned it, you are not following it so much.
    Kruse I chose, cause he’s scoring almost in every match, and started the season as he ended the last one.

    1. The question I have is: is the all-star team suppose to be only national (i.e. Germans) or any player playing in the League?

      If any player, than this would be my Bundesliga All-Star Team:

      GK – Neuer (not a fan of but don’t think Ter-Stegen is ready)
      LB – Schmelzer
      CB – Hummels
      CB- Westermann
      LB – Lahm
      MF – Reus
      MF – Guendogan
      MF – Ribery
      MF – Schweinsteiger
      FWD – Levandowski
      FWD – Max Kruse

      L. Bender

      Coach: Klopp

  5. My Premier League All Stars~~~~~without picking a left or right or holding mid or that kind of thing….I believe these guys could play left or right do it really doesnt matter.

    GK – Lloris
    D – Baines
    D – Enrique
    D – Kompany
    D – Ivanovic
    M – Ozil
    M – Toure
    M – Oscar
    F – Rooney
    F – Suarez
    F – Aguero

    GK- Cech
    D – Terry
    M – Michu
    F – Lukaku

    This would be my dream team anyways.

    1. Enrique is a really odd choice. Oscar a bit iffy considering the options in that spot but otherwise a good line up.

  6. Even tougher would be a world all-star squad….really tough to choose so I picked a whole squad including bench players. Of course this would be if they were all healthy as of today.

    GK – Valdez, Casillas
    D – Kompany, Alves, Lahm, Ivanovich, Chiellini, Baines
    M – Ozil, DeRossi, Iniesta, Toure, Fabregas, Ribery
    F – Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Ibrahimovich, Falcao

    Top that !

    1. Casillas isn’t even starting for Real and Baines not for England. LOL

      No Xavi, No Van Persie.

      I realize it’s impossible :)

      1. Casillas isn’t starting because of the manager…and how’s that working out for him?? I still think he’s the best penalty stopper in the world. Van Persie has not impressed me at all this year. I’ll take the 5 I chose all day long over him. Now if this was last year, maybe is feel different. As for Baines, I can’t help it if Hodgson can’t coach! Lol! Year in and year out, he outperforms Cole. Just check the last few years stats. Did you see Baines 2 goals against West Ham earlier this year?? The guy has a deadly shot!
        But yeah, it’s very tough to pick a team. So many great players.

  7. Any Prem league lineup without Aaron Ramsey is a fraud.

    He does it on both fronts. He’s among the leaders in tackles, and goals scored. A true box-to-box midfielder playing at an extraordinary high level right now.

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