Still the only Asean player and goalkeeper to be nominated for the Asian Footballer of the Year award, former Singapore No. 1 Lionel Lewis picks a Perfect XI of the best players he's gone up against.
GK: Pepe Reina
He has good technique, he’s one of the better keepers to have played in the EPL before leaving Liverpool for Napoli. I think he’s definitely one of the best I’ve played with on a football pitch before.
RB: Rafael da Silva
Played against him when the Brazil U23s were in town. He’s fast, has good technique and he can give you attacking options on the right.
CB: Sami Hyypiä
I played my first game for Singapore against Liverpool in 2001. It was a big game for me and at that point of time, Hyypia was one of the best centre backs around. Strong and commanding in defence, there were few better.
CB: Fabio Cannavaro
I just recently played against him in the Tiger 5s. He’s still got it! Tiny guy, but great reading of the game and so strong he’s difficult to go past. I think he’ll match well with Hyypia.
LB: Philipp Lahm
Adidas gave me the opportunity to fly up to Spain and play some games when they were still endorsing me. Lahm’s small but he’s tiny and fast and has a good reading of the game. Everything you’d expect from a left back.
RM: David Beckham
It has to be him! His crosses and set piece deliveries are pin point, superb for any striker playing with him. Thankfully, he didn’t get much of a chance to aim any at my penalty box when Man United were in town, because everything was coming through the middle!
CM: Zinedine Zidane
I played with Zidane in a charity game in Chiang Mai. He was in a different class, definitely the best player I’ve ever played against. He’s so composed and his touches are top notch - he can play the perfect pass to runners on his left and right without anyone having to call for it.
Ronaldinho came down to Singapore at the same time as Rafael, he was in his prime back then. Skills wise, he’s untouchable and you could tell why he was once the World Footballer of the Year. He’s an attacking player like Zidane, but I think if you don’t attack, you don’t score and you don’t win games.
LM: Ryan Giggs
To be able to start out young at that age and win trophies for his club even till this day is amazing. He’s fast, he’s tricky and even though he’s a bit slower these days, you can still see the tricks he has in his repertoire from time to time.
CF: Fernando Torres
Back when he was in town with Liverpool, he was at the top of his game. He was strong in the air and fast on his feet, able to get to through balls before anyone else. He’s one of the top strikers out there, even until today I think!
CF: Harry Kewell
Many people will ask me why, but I think the last spot has to go to Harry Kewell! When Australia played in Singapore, he was one of the players who gave me a lot of trouble! He had many chances on the day and just couldn’t score, but from that game I could see he was actually a very good player.
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
Is there anyone else? Fergie maintains control of the dressing room and his players. No player is allowed to challenge his authority.
GK: Fabian Barthez
Because he’s crazy!
CF: Djibril Cisse
Strong, and also crazy.
CM: Samir Nasri
Not so crazy, was much quieter than the others in Spain but he can get the job done.
DF: Micah Richards
From my time training with Manchester City, a crazy defender as well – he will tackle anything!
CM: Datsakorn Thonglao
Every time the Thais play us, he’s the one giving all the good balls from midfield.