Football Features

The ultimate assist-maker combined XI vs the ultimate goalscorer combined XI

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 13:43, 29 March 2020 | Updated: 17:14, 30 March 2020

Creating a fantasy team based on certain traits is always fun to do.

So, we’ve looked back across the last three seasons (including this one) and queried what a team of creators and goalscorers would look like.

There are a few ground rules. Firstly, these respective XIs are made of individuals who dominate their position in terms of goals or assists, if there’s a tie then whoever played the fewest matches since the 2017/18 season gets the nod.

Also, there is a cut-off point, to be even considered they must have made at least 50 appearances. Now we’ve got that out of the way, these are our findings.

Assist-maker XI

Even with modern football being dominated by more and more teams playing from the back, you’d still think a creative goalkeeper wouldn’t exist, but that is not the case. In fact, since the 2017/18 season began, there has been a handful of ‘keepers across Europe’s big five leagues to have created a goal. From that number, three incredibly produced more than one, including Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-André ter Stegen, with both of his efforts coming this season.

But he’s not between our sticks as we’ve opted for Jonas Lössl, as the Dane has played the fewest games. In front of him is more straightforward. Liverpool‘s marauding full-backs take up their usual spots. Both, who enjoy an intra-team rivalry, have produced 25 and 23 assists respectively with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold leading the way this campaign though Andrew Robertson is not far behind.

Sitting between them are Rafael Tolói of Atalanta and Bayern Munich’s centre-back Jérôme Boateng. Both couldn’t ask for two better sitting midfielders in the guise of the metronomic João Moutinho and Paul Pogba, their exemplary passing only complements Kevin De Bruyne to wield his magic wand as the Belgian playmaker operates in the space behind Luis Suárez, who has Barça teammate Lionel Messi and former Camp Nou colleague Neymar either side of him, thus reforming ‘MSN’.

Goalscorer XI

What is rarer than a goal-creating ‘keeper? A goalscoring one. Although an oxymoron, given their job is to prevent goals from being scored, there have been numerous examples of the team’s last line of defence popping up with an effort (some coming in bizarre fashion). Incredibly, since August 2017, across Europe’s major top-flight leagues, there has only been one goalie celebrating an effort and that was Alberto Brignoli when he scored in the 90th minute for Benevento against AC Milan in December 2017.

It’s more simple across the backline. AS Roma left-back Aleksandar Kolarov, back on the goal trail under Paulo Fonseca, impressively netted 16 times in this period. His opposite number Kenny Lala, at Lens before joining Strasbourg, has a modest 10 but eclipses any right-back around. At the heart of the defence are two accomplished central defenders in Sergio Ramos and Stefan de Vrij, with the former slamming home an impressive 15 strikes albeit many of those coming from 12 yards.

The same can be said of Crystal Palace‘s defensive midfielder Luka Milivojevic, but that is taking nothing away from him as we know penalties are not guaranteed to be converted. Alongside him is Valencia skipper Daniel Parejo who provides that leadership role and can allow Marco Reus — in the hole — and company to run amok. This XI also features Lionel Messi, because he’s Messi, but unlike Suarez, we get to see him work in tandem with Europe’s premier number nine, Robert Lewandowski, with Neymar again proving to be a consistent threat from the left flank.