Gerard Pique's dream team has no place for Ronaldo
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has picked his world dream team – and there is no place for his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in a star-studded line-up.
Spanish soccer politics may have influenced a selection a team that is led by his Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, while the former United defender also included his ex-team-mate Wayne Rooney on the bench.
The World Cup winner offered a glowing tribute to Rooney, as he suggested he is one of the greatest English players of all time.
“He’s a fantastic lad. When I was there at United, he was really young and I was really young too and he helped me a lot,” stated Pique.
“He involved me in the team, helped me to learn English. He was the joker in the dressing room. I have great memories.
“He’s not as quick as he was, maybe, but he will always score goals – he scored a hat-trick against Brugge, he scored against CSKA (Moscow). He has kept scoring.
“It’s true he’s getting older, we all have to accept that, but he has the ability to play for a long time. And, you know, when you don’t score sometimes it is not because of you. Sometimes it’s maybe the team is not creating chances for you. He is one of the best English players in history.”
Real Madrid star Ronaldo is a bench warmer in Pique’s dream-team, which also includes the surprise selection of Everton defender John Stone in his defensive line, confirming the impact made by the English youngster in recent months.
“Rio Ferdinand and John Terry were the two main central defenders in England. Top-level,” he says, in quotes appearing in the Telegraph.
“Now I think John Stones is a really, really, good player. He will have a good career. He’s like Rio, a bit. He’s young and alongside him they probably need one who is more experienced.”
Pique also made the intriguing suggestion that Barcelona and Real Madrid would struggle if they were parachuted into the Premier League, as he suggested the top two in Spain would struggle to cope with the demands of English football.
“I think that if Barcelona or Real Madrid goes to the Premier League then the first year of playing there, there is no chance of winning it,” he stated.
“If you go to Stoke, or other types of teams, then it will be really tough. It’s a debate – we could spend hours on it. If Manchester United or Chelsea go to Spain then the same. No chance to win the league.”
GERARD PIQUE'S DREAM TEAM (we assume he had to pick himself!)
David De Gea
Subs: Iker Casillas, Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, David Silva, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo.