Steve McManaman finds room for only TWO Real Madrid players in his combined Champions League final XI as the Spanish giants and Liverpool get prepared to face off in Paris
- Steve McManaman names Liverpool’s entire back five in the starting XI
- No place in the team for any Real Madrid midfielder other than Luka Modric
- Karim Benzema, naturally, is selected in a forward line also containing Mo Salah
- Real Madrid and Liverpool face off in Paris on Saturday in the final of the Champions League
Steve McManaman has named his combined Liverpool and Real Madrid XI ahead of this Saturday’s Champions League final.
McManaman, who played for both clubs across a storied career, scored for Real Madrid in the 2000 Champions League final against Valencia that was also held at the Stade de France.
Speaking to Betway’s YouTube channel, McManaman only found room for two Real Madrid players in his team, that lines up in a 4-3-3 formation, while also not naming Thiago Alcantara on account of choosing Luka Modric ahead of the player.
Steve McManaman naturally found room for Karim Benzema in his combined XI
The Red’s back line dominated the former Real Madrid and Liverpool winger’s XI
Liverpool dominate Steve McManaman’s combined XI ahead of Saturday’s final
He said: ‘Thibaut Courtois has had a good season. He’s had his critics. But unfortunately I’m going to go for Alisson.’
Meanwhile, in his four-man defence, McManaman found no room for any Madrid players, sticking with Liverpool’s established back four.
‘I’m going to go for Trent Alexander-Arnold [and] Virgil Van Dijk.’
The ex-England international then said that he would pick Ibrahima Konate or Joel Matip over any of Real Madrid’s centre backs, including Eder Militao and David Alaba.
‘Alaba’s had a good first season I must admit, but he’s played in a number of positions so it just takes it away,’ he said.
Steve McManaman referred to Jordan Henderson (c) as Mr Reliable – and said he would be in his combined team
Meanwhile, Andrew Robertson was picked by McManaman to play at right-back.
Perhaps where much of the debate lies, McManaman’s midfield is not short of controversy.
‘I’m going to go for Luka Modric, the first Real Madrid player I’ve got into my team. [My] defensive midfielder [is going to be] Fabinho.
‘My other midfielder would be Jordan Henderson, the skipper, mr. reliable. We don’t need Thiago if we’ve got Luka Modric in,’ he said.
Luka Modric’s selection meant McManaman could find no room or need for Thiago Alcantara
Steve McManaman scores against Valencia in Paris in the 2000 Champions League final
In his forward line, perhaps unsurprisingly McManaman selected Sadio Mane, Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah to complete his XI.
However, he said that Vinicius Junior was unlucky to miss out.
‘Vinicius Junior is a very unlucky person to miss out,’ he said. ‘But the fact that he’s playing against Sadio Mane, who’s in great form at the moment, he’s just won the African [Cup of] Nations in January, put them [Senegal] through [to] the World Cup [counts against him].’
On Benzema, McManaman said: ‘Karim’s had the best season he’s ever had. He’s just in that moment at the minute that everything he touches turns to gold.’
McManaman’s team in full: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold; Van Dijk, Konate, Robertson; Modric, Fabinho, Henderson; Mane, Benzema, Salah.
Vinicius Junior was ‘unlucky’ to miss out on his team after an impressive campaign for Madrid