10 Years

Team of the decade: 2011-2021

Jack Gallagher
Some stars of the last decade
Some stars of the last decade / Briony Painter
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It's fair to say that there've been quite a few good footballers who've plied their trade over the last decade, yeah?

Ok good, it's nice that we can agree on something before you inevitably disagree with the rest of this article.

What you'll likely be disagreeing with us on is the team of the decade (2011-2021) that we've selected in order to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the website.

So without further ado, here's the team - feel free to send all complaints regarding the team to me on Twitter.


1. Manuel Neuer (GK)

Manuel Neuer
Neuer is big time / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

There are only a handful of footballers who revolutionised their positions over the last decade, and Manuel Neuer is most certainly one of them.

The original sweeper keeper has changed what it means to be a goalkeeper with his 'he could definitely play in midfield' ability on the ball, his 'he could definitely join a track team' speed off his line, and his 'oh he actually is a top five goalkeeper of all time' ability to save basically every shot that's come his way in the last ten years.

2. Philipp Lahm (RB)

Philipp Lahm
Lahm won it all / Amin Mohammad Jamali/GettyImages

A World Cup-winning captain, and a player hailed as one of the best ever by Pep Guardiola, it's fair to say that Philipp Lahm was pretty damn good at football.

Despite being the only player in this team to not play every year of the decade in question (he retired in 2017), Lahm is more than deserving of making this XI because:

A) As previously stated, he was 'pretty damn good at football'.
B) He captained Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning team.
C) He captained Bayern Munich's treble-winning team.
D) He won absolutely every trophy he could possibly win.
E) We weren't exactly flushed for talent at right-back over the whole decade.

3. Sergio Ramos (CB)

Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos always performed in the biggest games / Michael Campanella/GettyImages

Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Sergio Ramos is one of the defining centre backs of the last century.

He one of the defining centre backs of the last century because he is a winner.

He's won absolutely everything.

World Cup, a million Champions Leagues, La Liga, Club World Cup, Copa del Rey, European Championships, probably even an Academy Award for his mockumentary...we like to think it was a mockumentary anyways.

And he's not just been a squad player who happened to be around when his team were winning everything, Ramos has been a key reason why Spain and Real Madrid have dominated the European game over the last 15 years.

If you need any proof for that statement, check out the last minute goal he scored in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

4. Giorgio Chiellini (CB)

TOPSHOT-FBL-EURO-2020-2021-ITALY
The big man / FABIO FRUSTACI/GettyImages

There were plenty of great candidates for the second spot at the heart of this defence: Virgil van Dijk, Vincent Kompany, Leonardo Bonucci, Raphael Varane etc.

But, honestly, is there a defender in the world that you'd rather have in your team in a must-win game than Giorgio Chiellini?

Of course there isn't.

Chiellini is a calming influence for his teammates, and an unnerving one for opposition.

A perfect, classic, centre-back.

5. Marcelo (LB)

Marcelo
Marcelo at Real Madrid / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Left-back was of the easiest positions to pick.

Sure, Andy Robertson has been great, so has David Alaba, but their CVs just don't compare to Marcelo's.

He is some of said CV (from 2011-2021:

- Three La Liga titles.
- One Copa del Rey.
- Four UEFA Champions Leagues.
- Four FIFA Club World Cups.
- Six FIFPro World XI selections.

*Best Sinead O'Connor impression* Nothing compares to Marcelo.

6. N'Golo Kante (DM)

N'Golo Kante
Kante is very good / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

N'Golo Kante makes every team he ever plays for exponentially better.

He made France a World Cup-winning team in 2018, he made Chelsea a Champions League-winning team in 2021, and he even made Leicester City a Premier League-winning team in 2016.

Yes, the Leicester one is still very hard to believe.

7. Luka Modric (CM)

Luka Modric
Ballon d'Or winner, Luka Modric / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

The only footballer not named 'Cristiano Ronaldo' or 'Lionel Messi' to win the Ballon d'Or over the last decade (although Robert Lewandowski is almost certainly winning it soon), Luka Modric is quite simply one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

A player who has operated at the highest level imaginable for the best part of the last decade, the Croatian finally got his due in 2018 when the world sat up and finally, collectively, said 'jeez your man Modric is amazing'.

What. A. Player.

8. Andres Iniesta (CM)

Barcelona v Sevilla - Spanish Copa del Rey Final
Iniesta was incredible at Barcelona / David Ramos/GettyImages

There were plenty of reasons why Barcelona were mesmerisingly brilliant in the first half of the decade in question.

One was Pep Guardiola, another was Lionel Messi, another was Xavi, but the main one may just have been Andres Iniesta.

And that sounds like a rather controversial statement, but when you consider just how bad Barca have been since Iniesta moved to Japan, it might actually be right.

9. Lionel Messi (RW)

Lionel Messi
Messi is an all-timer / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Of course Lionel Messi is in this team.

He's the third best player of all time (according to, well, me). He's the winner of four Ballons d'Or in the decade in question. He's the winner of five European Golden Shoes since 2011 too.

Of course he is in this team.

No one is football hipster enough to deny that Messi is the best footballer of the last ten years. NO ONE.

10. Robert Lewandowski (ST)

Robert Lewandowski, Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman
The ultimate goalscorer / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

As you can probably guess, this is the position that caused the most debate in the 90min editorial team.

There were plenty of shouts of Luis Suarez, there were a few shouts for Karim Benzema, and even a tentative one for Antoine Griezmann (which was quickly shot down).

In the end, Robert Lewandowski made the cut for a pretty simple reason: no other number nine scored as many goals as he did over the last decade.

He is the best goalscorer in the world today, and will likely be rewarded with a Ballon d'Or at the end of November for his astonishing goalscoring feats.

11. Cristiano Ronaldo (LW)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is back at Man Utd / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

The seventh best footballer of all time (yes, according to me) - and no, don't be weird and think that's an insult, it's quite clearly a compliment.

Along with Messi, CR7 has been the defining footballer of the last decade.


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