Reports have surfaced on the continent that UEFA will float the idea of contesting an ‘all-star’ game, similar to that which causes such a stir in the NBA.
The match will see the finest assets plying their trade in the Premier League, Bundesliga, Eredivisie and Russian Premier League, collectively dubbed ‘Northern Europe’ take on their ‘Southern’ counterparts, comprised of players hailing from La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
These polar divides are meant to mirror the cash-cow equivalent that annually captivates basketball fans across the globe, which sees the Eastern and Western Conferences’ smoothest operators do battle in a one-off exhibition.
Such is our excitement regarding the prospect of this concept transcending into the soccersphere that we decided to paint a picture of what the two teams might look like if the game was played tomorrow.
Other rules upon which the NBA All-Star affair is built include the coach of each team (himself a successful, headline-grabbing, silverware magnet) being prevented from picking any of his own players, and that the five starters of the game are predetermined by fan votes.
Obviously we couldn’t strictly adhere to all of those regulations, with 11 players taking the field at the start of a football game, as opposed to five tipping off a basketball duel.
We’ve gone with five voted in stars and the coaches picking the other six and conjured up two line ups containing players from all eight named leagues who would be fit to grace such a game.
With Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal steering the Northern Europe ship, he’d be prevented from selecting Wayne Rooney and David de Gea, but as the respective captain and best player of one of the biggest club’s in world football, they’re popular enough to earn public recognition.
Same applies for World Cup winning pair Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze, while few playmakers based in the divisions in question have savoured a better campaign than Philippe Coutinho.
Dutch winger Memphis Depay has forever been linked with a move to Man Utd at the end of this season so Van Gaal wouldn’t hesitate to select him, while Kevin De Bruyne’s exploits of 14 goals and 22 assists across all competitions this term makes him hard to leave out.
Van Gaal gets the nod over talented tacticians Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho on account of his experience at international level, where he has managed several squads compiled of the best players from a pre-defined pool.
Moving onto their Southern adversaries and, as the joint-most successful coach of all time in the Champions League, it was a no-brainer to select Real Madrid supremo Carlo Ancelotti to man the rudder.
Many of his Los Blancos superstars, along with those of Barcelona, had to be omitted in the interest of fair representation of the other nations, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would undoubtedly be voted into the side.
Porto right-back Danilo’s pending move to the Bernabeu has increased his popularity, while Paul Pogba is another who the masses are sure to select and, as the recent FIFA Team of the Year results indicate, nobody can get enough of Paris Saint-Germain’s David Luiz.
A highly creative midfield of Atletico Madrid maestro Koke and Lyon prodigy Nabil Fekir is guaranteed to cause the Northerners problems, while the guile, pace and trickery of Lazio speedster Felipe Anderson has devastated Serie A backlines since Christmas.