Ideal Soccer Lineup

By Will Caraccio 

*Disclaimer: This lineup includes soccer players across generations, not solely individuals who are currently playing. 

This line up follows a 4-3-3 formation, with two center backs, two full backs, three center midfielders, one striker, one left forward, and one right forward. 

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon 

Center Back: Carles Puyol 

  • The legendary defender and Captain of FC Barcelona during the legendary Pep Guardiola era, Carles Puyol takes the spot for center back for his incredible skill and inspirational leadership. 

Center Back: Paolo Maldini

  • With 5 Champions League titles during his time at AC Milan and regarded as one of the best center backs to ever grace the sport, Paolo Maldini claims the other center back position on my list. 

Right Back: Dani Alves

  • Accumulating the most trophies of any soccer player ever (39), Dani Alves provides the technical skill, defensive versatility, and playmaking vision to the right back position. 

Left Back: Alphonso Davies

  • A rising star in the football world, Alphonso Davies’ potential is unmatched by any other player in world football. Having already won two Bundesliga titles and one Champions League title at only 19 years of age, there’s no telling how good this young left back will become. 

Center Midfield: Andres Iniesta 

  • One of the all-time midfield greats, Andres Iniesta possesses the skill and playmaking ability to dominate the Central Attacking Midfielder role. Instrumental in Barcelona’s unbeatable squad in the early 2010’s, and a key player in the Champions League winning 2014/2015 Barcelona team, Iniesta has earned his spot on this list. 

Center Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne 

  • Undoubtedly the best player in the Premier League today, Kevin De Bruyne has it all–deadly pace, accurate and powerful shooting, and most notably, incredibly passing and playmaking ability. With two Premiere League titles and the Player of the Season Award (2019/20) under his belt, KDB takes a spot alongside Iniesta in the upper midfield. 

Defensive Midfielder: Xabi Alonso 

  • In a midfield packed with offensive superstars, Xabi Alonso provides the center field with a more defensive and tactical presence. Proving his immense value at Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munchen, where he earned two Champions League titles and a handful of Bundesliga and La Liga titles, Xabi Alonso earns his place as a holding midfielder. 

Striker: Ronaldo Nazário

  • Though hampered by injury, at his prime Ronaldo was considered one of football’s all-time legends, alongside Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, and Maradona. Ronaldo’s speed, power, and composure in front of goal makes him the best striker in history and earns him a spot on my list. 

Right Forward: Lionel Messi

  • Lionel Messi, the greatest soccer player of all time. What can be said to encapsulate the magic of this magisterial player? Perhaps the most versatile player to ever play the game, Messi shines as a false 9, on the wings, and as a central playmaker. He can simply do things that other players cannot; with 34 trophies accumulated, including four Champions League and 10 La Liga titles, and over 700 career goals, Messi is the only choice for right forward. 

Left Forward: Ronaldinho Gaúcho

  • A Barcelona legend and a football icon, Ronaldinho takes the spot of left forward. An extremely technical and intelligent player, Ronaldinho (much like Messi) turns football into art–and scores countless goals while doing so.