My Perfect 11

|            |    |_____    CECH    ______|               |            |                              |            |                                                            |            |
|            |______________________________|            |
|                                                                                       |
|                                  PUYOL                                           |
|                                                                                       |
|        CANNAVARO                        CARLOS                        |
|                                                                                       |
|                                                                                       |
|                                                                                       |
|                                  VIERA                                            |
|________________ ___________________________|    
|                                                                                       |
|        KAKA                                        RIISE                       |
|                                                                                        |
|                                 ZIDANE                                        |
|                                                                                        |
|                                                                                        |
|            RONALDO                    RONALDINHO                     |
|                                                                                        |
|                                   BERBATOV                                     |            
|            _____________________________                  |
|            |                                                        |                  |
|            |            _________________          |                  |           |______|_____|_________________|_____|_________|

Bench:    ESSIEN

Dimitir Berbatov, Bulgaria, Tottenham Hotspur, F
The best target man in the world.  Clinical finisher, incredible at holding the ball or flicking on to onrushing teammates, and the star of my favourite club. 

Fabio Cannavaro, Italy, Real Madrid, D
Captain of the World Champions and reigning World Player of the Year.  Lacks height in the central role but has a great commanding presence of any defense.  Would use him on the right side primarily because of the presence of Puyol but could move him inside in a 3 or 4 man back line. 

Roberto Carlos, Brazil, Fenerbache, D
About 6-8 years ago there was no doubt that this man was the best left back in the world.  Now at 34 and stepping away from Real Madrid to join Fenerbache in Turkey he is well past that prime.  However, I really can?t come up with who would be better so?

Peter Cech, Czech Republic, Chelsea, GK
Young goalkeeper with excellent length and quickness.  One of the best in the game right now and at his age, 24?, is well younger than any other keepers in that league.  

Michel Essien, Ghana, Chelsea, MF
Versatile Midfielder than can effectively play any position in the midfield or defense.  The heir to the aging Viera?s spot in the defensive midfield.  A great player that will put his head down and do anything a manger asks for club or country. 

Rio Ferdinand, England, Manchester United, D
Tall and athletic central defender.  The last man to make the squad and does so more because he best fills that role as a tall, imposing force than especially earning my favor. 

Stephen Gerrard, England, Liverpool, D
Versatile midfielder, can play anywhere as an attacking midfielder or holding midfielder or can run down the flanks.  Fantastic passing ability and great range and accuracy on goal and on crosses into the box.  Great leadership, especially for Liverpool. 

Thiery Henry, France, Arsenal, F
Possibly the best footballer on the planet right now, when healthy.  Fast and quick, great passing skills, can make the ball do things on a dribble that defies physics, and willing to work the whole field and terrorize defenders from side line to sideline and well back into midfield. 

Kaka, Brazil, AC Milan, MF
The closest in ability on the ball to Maradona since, well, Maradona.  Great use of pace to cut straight through defenses.  Is at his best when attacking defenses with the ball at his feet and moving at people.  Still relatively young at only ?

Carlos Puyol, Spain, FC Barcelona, D
Captain of Barcelona and heart and soul of the team.  Fantastic defender who can command defense and cover anyone in his territory. 

Frank Ribery, France, Olympique Marseille, MF
Is sometimes called the next Zidane.  Can come in and play down either flank, or up front, or from the center.  Fantastic control of the ball and great ability to hold off defenders. 

John Arne Riise, Norway, MF, Liverpool
Most wicked left foot in all of football.  Can swing in lefts with such force and power and an imposing threat down the left.  I would use him a little more withdrawn to open up more space for Ronaldinho and support the defense a bit more and allow him to track back on Cole?s overlapping runs.  Can play left back as well when Cole needs a rest

Ronaldinho, Brazil, FC Barcelona, F
Bad form in the last year but before that would easily be called the best player on the planet.  Embodies the joy for the beautiful game that the game deserves.  Still relatively young and an amazing talent.  Has been at his best in the role of a second striker on the left side at Barcelona and that?s where I would play him but could also move back into attacking midfield role. 

Christano Ronaldo, Portugal, Manchester United, F
If he wasn?t a diver he would be my favorite player.  Best dribbler on the planet, fantastic in the air, can play either side and is still very young, only ?

Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine, Chelsea, F
One of the better passers up front, great power and accuracy on shots and deadly with either foot.  Great finisher but has seen bad form as of late.  Include him here more for what he was able to accomplish with AC Milan in year?s past than this present year with Chelsea, but still feel that when he finds his form he?ll be clinical. 

Patrick Viera, France, Inter Milan, MF
I really like the idea of diamond midfields with a player on either flank and one who?s role is primarily as an attacking midfielder and the other tracking back primarily on defense.  I can think of no one who better embodies the defense aspect of this than Viera.  Getting older but seemingly ageless is playing some of his best football now.  Tall and strong, able to win balls in the midfield before the defense is even threatened which will be critical against a 3 man back line.  Can distibute the balls he wins well and can track forward to threaten the goal when he sees the openings.  Very smart player and would wear the captains armband after Zidane.  

Zinedane Zidane, France, Retired, MF
The best player of this present generation.  With him, France won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, a double that?s never been done otherwise.  Without him they couldn?t get out of their group in the 2002 World Cup.  With him they beat England in Euro 2004 on two of his own last minute goals but were unlucky to get eliminated by a plucky Greece team that would go on and take the title.  Without him they weren?t going to quality for the World Cup in 2006, but when he returned to the team, they not only qualified but rode his talents all the way to the final.   Even though he is recently retired, I wouldn?t dare post a Perfect 11 without him in the attacking midfield role and wearing the captain?s armband. 

This is a squad built around attack.  A 3 man back line with help from Viera should be enough to work the ball up to the forwards, but with players like Henry and Ribery who aren?t afraid to move all the way back to support without possession I think the defense will be fine.  The offense will center around possession and moving the ball in tight spaces, holding up with the forwards, who are all excellent passers and dropping off to  men running on from the midfield.  I can easily use this group to change tactics to a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 depending on the needs of the day.  I could even venture into a 4-5-1, putting Ribery or Ronaldo on the right and Zidane and Kaka in attacking midfield roles, or moving Ronaldinho back into one, and Henry alone up front as he prefers. 
France fields 4 players, the most of any country.  England is in the second place tie with 2, but I doubt Ferdinand will be there long.  I am just waiting for a central defender to step up and bump him.  The USA and Newcastle?s Oguchi Onyewu and Serbia & Montenegro and Manchester United?s Nemanja Vidic are both pressing.  I feel a need for a tall, imposing central defender and Ferdinand makes the most sense right now but is on the list due to his ability to best fit that need rather than any individual talent that impresses me, though he is a talented player, no doubt about that.  2 players also represent Brazil and the other countries have only one.  It shows my love of French football, if only the United States could develop some world class talent, watch out for Onyewu, they would receive some home field advantage in selection, but alas.  
So while the nations are faithfully represented along the lines of countires I cheer for, on the club front it is another story altogether.  Chelsea leads the numbers with 3 players, and I can?t stand Chelski.  And Arsenal pulls in with 1, even though they are the archrivals of my adopted club, Tottenham Hotspur.  Manchester United, the Yankees of world football, also have 2, as do Liverpool and FC Barcelona, the first two teams to appear on the list that I actually support.  Then there is Real Madrid and Inter Milan, two more clubs I actively cheer against showing up as well. 
Other players pressing on this list would be Dimitir Berbatov of Bulgaria and Tottenham Hotspur, Adriano of Brazil and Inter Milan, Gigliani Buffon of Italy and Juventus, and Samuel Eto?o of Cameroon and FC Barcelona.