All-Star Madrid Derby XI – Las Estrellas
Derbies are common place in Madrid these days but even so, this is getting ridiculous. Tonight’s quarter-final 2nd at the Santiago Bernebeu is the 8th game between the sides this season – yes, eighth!
Atletico have yet to be beaten in those eight games and despite the fact they are La Liga champions, they are still seen as the lesser lights of the pair. In an all-Madrid XI, how would they fare?
Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak
Anyone but Iker Casillas, basically. It’s sad to say but the Real Madrid legend’s best days are well behind him. A shell of the once greatest keeper in the world he used to be, both Atleti’s keepers are far more reliable these days, particularly the big Slovenian, Oblak.
Right Back: Dani Carvajal
The 23-year-old Spanish international has made the spot his own these past two seasons with some incredible performances. Renowned for his tenacity, pace and skill, Carvajal can defend and bomb forward in equal measure.
Left Back: Marcelo
Had this been a season earlier Felipe Luis – now at Chelsea – would have made the cut but this spot goes to Marcelo. The Brazilian was practically a winger in his earlier Madrid days but over the last two years, has transformed into a more modern fullback, capable of defending as well as attacking.
Centre back: Diego Godin
The big Uruguayan is a must here. A world class defender, his leadership qualities are second to none and he loves a big set-piece goal.
Centre Back: Sergio Ramos
It’s difficult to break up what has become the most fearsome defence in world football but what goes for Diego Godin goes for Sergio Ramos. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but his qualities are undeniable. When going to war, Ramos is a man you want on your side.
Midfield: Luka Modric
The Croatian Schemer is a must here at the base of the midfield. Not exactly a defensive lynchpin, his role is still crucial as a deep-lying playmaker, keeping the ball ticking over for the stars ahead of him.
The 23-year-old Koke has excelled under Diego Simeone to the point where he is now viewed as one of the best central midfielders in the world. A creative spark, the La Roja star is also extremely tenacious with box-to-box ability and incredible technique.
Midfield: Arda Turan
As the third midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation, we’ve decided to plump for Turkish international Arda Turan. The Atleti star has become an incredibly important focal point for Simeone’s side with his tireless running, crucial goals and inventive playmaking a must for this all-star XI.
RWF: Cristiano Ronaldo
It’s Ronaldo, right – we can’t leave him out. Enough said.
LWF: Antoine Griezmann
The French international has had a superlative year for the Rojiblancos after his big money move from Sociedad. The 24-year-old has managed 23 goals already this season with some iconic performances.
Striker: Karim Benzema
In the striking role, there was really only one choice. Despite Mario Mandzuckic’s decent haul of goals this season for Atleti, Benzema brings far more to the plate. His link up play is superb and he provides goals as well as assists for everyone around him.