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Former Liverpool and Chelsea man Bolo Zenden picks an XI of his greatest teammates – putting Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield with Xavi

Liverpool and Chelsea star Bolo Zenden's Perfect XI: Steven Gerrard (L) and Boudewijn Zenden of Liverpool warm up during the Liverpool training session prior to the UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium on May 22, 2007 in Athens, Greece.
(Image credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Former Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona player Bolo Zenden has picked both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in a Perfect XI of his former teammates. 

The Dutchman came through the ranks at PSV before moving to Camp Nou – later completing Premier League spells for both the Blues and the Reds either side of a stint at Middlesbrough. Having played with some world-class stars in his time, he wasn't short of options for a potential team… though completely omitted full-backs. 

FourFourTwo sat down with him to ask what a team of his best ever team-mates would look like. 

Zenden XI

(Image credit: Future)

Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina

“A fantastic personality, a real winner and a penalty specialist. I met Pepe as a young lad at Barcelona, and later we played in the 2007 Champions League Final for Liverpool against Milan – but unfortunately we lost.”

Centre-back: Michael Reiziger

“When I played for PSV against Ajax, I often encountered Michael. He was an annoying opponent – very smart and really quick. So, I was pleased to have him on my side with the Dutch team, Barça and Middlesbrough.”

Centre-back: Marcel Desailly

“Marcel was the leader at Chelsea – he was called ‘The Rock’ for a reason! He also won everything there was to win for his country, although I remember him saying they were happy they didn’t have to face the Dutch at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. France rated our team even higher than Brazil and Italy at that time.”

Centre-back: John Terry

“A real Chelsea legend – John always played the game with such passion. On numerous occasions I’d see him lying on the grass, but then instinctively throwing himself head-first in front of a shot, in an ultimate attempt to prevent a goal.”

Defensive midfield: Phillip Cocu

“In addition to being a terrific player, Phillip is still a good friend of mine – we were room-mates at PSV and Barça, and a few years ago I went to his wedding. He could operate in defence, midfield or attack; very few guys were as versatile as him at the highest level.”

Central midfield: Xavi

“I always saw him as the natural successor to Pep Guardiola, in the No.4 position within Barça’s system. He was a good person with a lot of humour, read the game like no other and was calm under pressure. Xavi was the perfect player for switching between defence and attack.”

Central midfield: Steven Gerrard

“A great captain. He wasn’t a man of many words, but above all of deeds. If necessary, Stevie would put in a tackle to ignite the fire in a game. Once a year, that tackle was over the edge – but he was our guy for important goals at Liverpool.”

Attacking midfield: Frank Lampard

“He had tremendous drive. I can’t remember another midfielder who has scored so many goals. As his team-mate, and later as Rafael Benitez’s assistant at Chelsea, I regularly saw Frank carrying a bag of balls after training for some extra shooting practice. Those hours of work really paid off.”

Right-wing: Luis Figo

“In the Netherlands, memories of matches against Portugal and Figo aren’t particularly good! But as a team-mate, he was great. He didn’t look that fast, but he was. His crosses were amazing, just like his free-kicks. During our time together at Barça, he invited me to the Algarve where I paid him a visit.”

Striker: Ronaldo

“I got to know him when he came to PSV as a 17-year-old. He had recently won the 1994 World Cup and was already phenomenal. We both stayed in the same apartment complex, with me in a small apartment and him up in the penthouse! I took him to my birthplace of Maastricht one time, where the best yearly carnival in the Netherlands is celebrated. He wore a clown outfit and a wig, and I painted his face, but people still recognised him. His smile, with that typical gap between his front teeth, revealed his true identity.”

Left-winger: Rivaldo

“Rivaldo had a perfect left foot. He often played on the left wing at Barça, so I was left-back most of the time. At one team meeting, he told Louis van Gaal that he no longer wanted to play on the wing, but in the centre instead. For the next game, Rivaldo was on the bench! It didn’t work out between him and Louis after that.”

Manager: Louis van Gaal

“Louis really wanted to get to know you as both a player and a person. In terms of training and how he prepared his teams, he was unmatched. Nothing ever happened that he didn’t predict.”


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Gianfranco Zola

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