Cole's all-time WC XI
With the clock ticking to the big kick-off in Brazil, Andy Cole steps into the dugout to select his dream World Cup XI. On the whole it's a South American affair, but Cole still has room to find a place for a former Manchester United team-mate...
Last Updated: 06/06/14 12:14pm
With less than a week to go until World Cup fever reaches its crescendo in Rio, former Manchester United and England striker Andy Cole has been charged by bwin to select his greatest ever World Cup XI.
It's a debate that has troubled some of the world's greatest minds since the dawn of time, with Isaac Newton no less once said to have been in an absolute rage at Stephen Hawking's selection of Paul Breitner at left-back over Paolo Maldini.
Cole has been no less controversial in his selection. Eschewing the usual Englishman's predilection to shoehorn '66 hero Geoff Hurst into any select XI, it's an all-South American affair up top as old sparring partners Pele and Diego Maradona form a handy front line.
Flanked either side, Brazil and Argentina are represented again on the wings with the inclusion of Garrincha and Mario Kempes respectively, with Cole conceding an appreciation of the latter's flowing locks.
There's a nod to Manchester United too, with Cole - who made 195 appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson - adamant in his belief that there is no-one he'd rather have bossing his midfield than the 'Ginger Prince' Paul Scholes.
Zinedine Zidane once said of Scholes: "One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career." Well, courtesy of Cole, Zidane can now channel the spirit of compatriot Edith Piaf to declare 'je regrette rien'. The sublime Frenchman makes Cole's cut at No.10.
There's a Samba feel to Cole's back four as buccaneering Brazilians Roberto Carlos and Cafu - two forefathers of what is the modern day full-back - add as much attacking verve as they do defensive cover in flanking Bobby Moore and Claudio Gentile.
If Moore was a gentleman centre-half, a Rolls Royce of a defender, Gentile was his polar opposite. The Italian, a mainstay of the Azzurri side that lifted the trophy in '82, is perhaps best known for an impeccable (if at times roguish) man-marking job he did on Maradona en route to Italy's triumph. His quip 'football is not for ballerinas' was said in jest but Diego never did see the funny side...
Dino Zoff, the oldest ever winner of the World Cup, when he captained Italy to glory in Spain '82 at the age of 40, completes Cole's selection in goal.
ANDY COLE'S WORLD CUP DREAM XI
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