Wednesday 22 August 2018

Is it possible to create a football team of players whose initials are also their position?

These players will never have come up against stricter selection criteria than this.

Claude Makelele, Fred and Anthony Martial
Claude Makelele, Fred and Anthony Martial

By Max McLean, Press Association

It’s a question every football fan has surely wrangled with at some point: could a football team ever be filled with players whose initials also represented their position?

Alright, maybe not every football fan, but surely a handful.

With that in mind, the following proves the impossible can indeed be done. From Gabor Kiraly to Claude Makelele, ladies and gentlemen, your Initial XI.

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A graphic showing an XI of footballers whose initials also reflect their position on the pitch

Goalkeeper

Gabor Kiraly

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Former Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly

The tracksuit-bottomed goalie with 108 Hungary caps to his name is the first name on the team sheet. Kiraly played for many an English side, and kept a clean sheet in his national side’s opening Euro 2016 game wearing his famous trousers.

Left-back

Leighton Baines

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Everton left-back Leighton Baines

There could be nobody better suited to this role. Leighton Baines, all long hair and acoustic guitar, settles right into the team at left-back. He can take the free-kicks too.

Centre-back

Carlos Bocanegra

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Carlos Bocanegra and Wayne Rooney at the 2010 World Cup

In the first of two centre-back roles, who better than a former international captain with over 100 caps to his name? Come on down, USA’s Carlos Bocanegra!

Centre-back

Chris Baird

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Former Northern Ireland footballer Chris Baird

This defensive pairing boast almost 200 international caps between them with the inclusion of Chris Baird. The former Northern Ireland defender, who could play all over the back line, slots in next to Bocanegra.

Right-back

Rainer Bonhof

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Former West Germany footballer Rainer Bonhof

Right-back proved to be one of the trickier positions to fill. If only Ryan Bertrand were right-footed…

No matter, as former Germany international footballer and 1974 World Cup-winner Rainer Bonhof comes into the side. Nice to have a bit of tournament experience in the team, eh?

Central midfield

Claude Makelele

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Former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele

He redefined the way modern football thinks about the midfield. Chelsea’s Claude Makelele offers our XI control in the centre of the park.

Central midfield

Claudio Marchisio

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Italy footballer Claudio Marchisio

With loads of trophies, international experience and a box-to-box energy that will make this midfield a difficult one to dominate, Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio takes the other CM role.

Attacking midfield

Aaron Mooy

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Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy

If Lionel Messi didn’t play right-wing/centre-mid this midfield might look very different, but he does, so it doesn’t.

A key cog in the midfield of a Huddersfield side who look as though they might have secured their place in the Premier League next season, Aaron Mooy is the next man in.

Attacking midfield

Anthony Martial

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Manchester United forward Anthony Martial against Tottenham

Operating in behind the strikers, Anthony Martial’s dribbling ability and attacking threat will be key to the team’s endeavours, as it often is at Manchester United.

Forward

Fred

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Brazil footballer Fred

Finding forwards and strikers was hard, alright? A striker perhaps best known for his excellent performances at the 2013 Confederations Cup, where he scored five goals on the way to Brazilian glory, it’s Fred!

Striker

Svetoslav Todorov

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Former Portsmouth footballer Svetoslav Todorov

Teddy Sheringham’s initials were the wrong way around to take a place in this side, but no matter.

Instead, former Bulgaria striker Svetoslav Todorov joins the team, having scored heavily for Portsmouth and FC Litex Lovetch, as well as appearing for West Ham, Charlton and Wigan.

In this team, the name on the back of the shirt is just as important as the badge on the front.

Press Association

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