Steve McManaman: Perfect XI

Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman picks his Perfect XI for FourFourTwo back in March 2011.

Goalkeeper
Neville Southall

I won't pick Iker Casillas because he's the King of Spain as it is, so it has to be the Binman in goal! I was a mad Everton fan as a kid and when I played against Nev in my early career, he was great.

Right-back
Rob Jones

Rob was a brilliant right-back when I played with him at Liverpool. Sadly his career was cut down by injury, but he played almost 200 games for us and I thought he was a great defender.

Centre-back
Fernando Hierro

A leader and a fantastic ball-playing defender. I played with him for the whole four years I was at Real Madrid. I also faced him in midfield for England in '96, but he'd have to go at centre-back.

Centre-back
Alan Hansen

Hierro's partner at centre-half is difficult to choose as I played with so many good ones at Liverpool. But I'll go with Alan, who was a key member of the team in the early part of my career.

Left-back
Roberto Carlos

I'm really spoilt for choice picking this side, but left-back is definitely Roberto Carlos. At Real Madrid he was just an absolute machine going forward down the line.

Right midfield
Luis Figo

Luis was a great right-winger whose physical strength gave him the ability to beat opponents with real ease. He was very professional at Madrid and a really nice guy off the field.

Centre midfield
Zinedine Zidane

The best player of our generation in my opinion. People talk about the likes of Maradona and Pele, but they were a long time ago and I think Zidane is certainly up there with them.

Centre midfield
Paul Gascoigne

Gazza was very unlucky in how his career was curtailed by injury, but he was still a wonderful talent. I've no idea exactly where these midfielders would play, but I'd want them all in there.

Left midfield
John Barnes

I thought he was an absolute genius when I was growing up. I thought the same when I cleaned his boots, and the same later on when I played with him and he became a friend. So underrated.

Centre-forward
Ronaldo

He could have been one of the greatest ever, and it's a pity he wasn't, but his World Cup goals tally speaks for itself. He was exceptional at Real Madrid and for a global star he was a really nice guy.

Centre-forward
Robbie Fowler

The greatest goalscorer of all time, 'Growler' was fantastic at putting the ball in the net. Like others here, he's had his knocks along the way, which stopped him becoming even better.

Substitutes

David James
The subs bench needs a goalkeeper and he was an absolute psychopath!

Paolo Maldini
What a defender. The day I went up against him, he was just fantastic.

Cristiano Ronaldo
I faced him at Man City and even then you could see the potential.

Xavi
An excellent player for Barça when I was in Spain, and he's still excellent now.

Rivaldo
I could pick so many subs, but I'll take Rivaldo for what he could do on his day.

Manager

Roy Evans
Very underrated. If he was at Anfield now Liverpool would be in the Champions League every year.

Interview: Iain Liddle. From the March 2011 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!


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