As ‘Dream XI’s’ go, Carlos Tevez’s isn’t too shabby at all.
The former Manchester United and City striker is currently plying his trade in his homeland of Argentina for Boca Juniors following an illustrious nine-year career in Europe – winning five league titles and a Champions League crown.
And when he was posed the question by Argentinian radio station Radio La Red as to what his ideal XI would look like for a potential ‘farewell match’ following his retirement, the lineup he conjured up was quite special – humbly naming himself among the substitutes.
While there was room for seven former United stars and a trio of Juventus teammates, no City players feature; meaning Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all miss out of Tevez’s XI.
And thus, here’s the side the Argentine selected…
Sure, Edwin van der Sar was pretty great, but Gianluigi Buffon is arguably the finest shot-stopper to ever grace the game.
The Italian icon was an ever-present between the Juventus sticks during Tevez’s two-year stint in Turin.
Boca Juniors’ only representation in the XI, Hugo Ibarra is someone who wouldn’t have gained much attention from European audiences during his heyday, but he was nonetheless a bit of a legend in his homeland.
Tevez only played alongside Ibarra for one season (2002/03), but the Argentine full-back played over 200 times for Boca across three spells, winning 15 titles.
A defender who’d later go on to be a rival following Tevez’s switch across to the blue side of Manchester in 2009, Ferdinand was a teammate of the Argentine for two successful seasons.
With the sturdy Ferdinand – Nemanja Vidic partnership at the back and Tevez being just a mere third of a deadly front three, the Red Devils secured two Premier League titles and reached back-to-back Champions League finals – beating Chelsea in 2008 on penalties.
Maybe just a wee bit of Argentine bias added with a bit of City bitterness sees Heinze in Tevez’s side at the expense of Kompany, but the versatile Heinze was nonetheless a top defender during his pomp.
Although Heinze had departed Old Trafford by the time Tevez arrived in 2007, they lined-up alongside one another on several occasions for an often underperforming national team between 2004 and 2010.
Another player in the conversation for being the best at their position in the Premier League era, Evra was not only Tevez’s teammate at United but five years later at Juve as well.
The pair struck up a great relationship during the Argentine’s two years on the red side of Manchester and their friendship continued to blossom in Turin. The Frenchman even remained close with Tevez following the latter’s move to City, much to the dismay of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The epitome of a footbaling genius, Tevez once said this of the suave Italian: “Playing with Pirlo is such a pleasure, one day I’ll be able to say: ‘I played with Pirlo’.”
The bullish forward established an effective on-field relationship with Juve’s regista during his relatively short stay in Turin, as he scored 39 times in 66 Serie A appearances, winning two Scudetti and reaching the Champions League final in 2015.
In that same interview in which he described playing with Pirlo as a ‘pleasure’, Tevez ensured he let the people know Paul Scholes was the best he’s ever played with.
And that’s a bit weird considering he’s a ‘fraud’ and ‘levels below’ Stevie G and Frank in the eyes of Twitter experts.
While the Pirlo – Tevez combination was potent, the relationship between Pogba and the Argentine was almost telepathic.
The generational Frenchman’s form during Antonio Conte’s final season at the Old Lady in 2013/14 was so imperative for a side that notched over 100 points in Serie A for the first time in history.
If there was ever one man to prevent Tevez from whacking himself in his own XI, it’s Lionel Messi.
While Carlitos never ventured off to Catalonia to team up with the great one at a club level, they played alongside one another at two World Cups for La Albiceleste. The pair never forged a great personal relationship, but Tevez just couldn’t leave Messi out of his side.
Tevez’s arrival at Old Trafford coincided with a new dawn for Fergie’s United. Gone were the days of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s individuality and poaching and along came a harmonious front three; a triumvirate whose versatility and interchangeability often overwhelmed opponents.
These two crafty forwards just loved playing with one another, wreaking havoc between opposition lines.
The final third of that front three at Old Trafford, Ronaldo had emerged into the superstar he’d show off throughout the 2010s during Tevez’s spell at the Red Devils.
It appears the Argentine’s potential retirement match may be a prime opportunity to catch both Messi and Ronaldo on the same side. One can dream, okay.