Catalonia, the autonomous community in the northeast of Spain with Barcelona serving as the capital and largest city, has advocated for its independence since the Spanish Civil War. With some political and cultural autonomy, as well as prevalent use of the Catalan language, it has also followed suite that the region has its own national football team.
However, Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA, disqualifying them from participating in the World Cup or European Championship.
The UEFA Team of the Year shortlist has been released. Most of the usual suspects are there (Manuel Neuer is a rather glaring omission). Lionel Messi is there. Neymar is there. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale are there.
And, um, so is Joe Allen.
Yes that Joe Allen.
Give me hope Joe Allen pic.twitter.com/8HumWPwaNg
There have been a litany of awesome players in the UEFA Champions League down the years, so much so that creating an Ultimate XI is a task that could, in theory, drive one to madness.
Having represented Spain 100 times and having appeared for Barcelona in almost 600 matches, center back Carles Puyol squared off against some of the world’s greatest players in a senior career that ran from 1999 to 2014.
The three-time UEFA Champions League winner and 2010 FIFA World Cup champion was himself on UEFA’s Team of the Year on six different occasions, so there’s probably no better judge of talent than Puyol himself.
Twenty-two players will take the pitch at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on April 17 with the same objective: to defeat their club’s fiercest rival.
The so-called Old Firm derby--Celtic v. Rangers--may be one of the footballing world’s most noted--and notorious--rivalries, known just as much for what happens off the pitch as on it. However, some great players have suited up for each of the Glasgow giants. Here’s a “best XI” of players who have made their mark in the memorable match-ups between the two clubs.
The FIFA FIFPro World XI has just been announced, and as expected it is full of Real Madrid and Barcelona players.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Dani Alves (Barcelona)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Rafa Benitez is one of the first names you think of when you think of successful managers in Europe. Valencia, Inter, Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid are the big name clubs he’s had the luxury of managing, and he has led these teams to many trophies in his time with them.
Ronaldinho picked his dream 5-on-5 team and, as one would expect, it's a doozy.
Ronaldinho revealed his squad in a Goal.com article. He picked Messi, Ronaldo (Nazario), Denilson and Neymar, who he described as "happy people with amazing dribbling skills."
Barcelona have won the treble with possibly the deadliest front three in the modern game, and there is simply no stopping them. As Messi, Suarez and Neymar (MSN) now fight against each other in the Copa America, Luis Enrique is busy behind his desk in Spain creating the next squad that can sustain the current reputation. Which, let's be honest, is as hot as the Hindenburg right before it exploded.
Here are some of the possible line-ups Luis Enrique could use to ensure back-to-back championships:
Option 1 – Play Messi Wide, Send In Pogba As Reinforcement