I was going to call this my team of favorites, but then I realized it doesn't include my favorite striker of all-time, Gianluca Vialli. I would've called it the best team ever, but no way does a Fabio Grosso make that list. So it truly is a dream team -- the team I'd most like to put together composed of favorites & all-time greats, in some cases both.
GK -- Gigi Buffon. As much as I love Peter Schmeichel and everything he did for Man Utd, I just like Gigi's style a lot more. The guy is fearless, quick, big and unlike a lot of pro athletes seems like a sincerely nice guy. Plus he's this good and he smokes. Imagine if he quit....
CB -- Paolo Maldini -- The greatest defender I have ever seen play, bar none. Even though he plays for Milan.
CB -- Steve Bruce -- The class of the early United teams I watched. Any defender capable of scoring that many goals is truly one of a kind. Probably the most un-athletic looking star footballer I've seen. He looked like some fan that ran onto the field.
RB -- Gary Neville -- I'll be honest, it took me a while to fully appreciate Neville. Last year to be exact. When he went down and Wes Brown stepped in, I realized just how much the little guy contributed.
LB -- Fabio Grosso -- Ok, he's not the greatest LB ever, but his play in the semis and finals of the World Cup not to mention his crazy celebration after winning endeared him to me.
MF -- Roy Keane -- As much as Grosso appeals to my Italian side, Keano does the same for Irish side (the opening round game in 94 between Italy & Ireland made me want to punch my head in...). Roy was such a well-rounded player and so damn fierce that he's about the only guy that can compete with Ryan Giggs as my favorite all-time player. I'm hoping he returns to Old Trafford as coach when Fergie retires.
MF -- Roberto Baggio -- Speaking of the 94 World Cup. That was the single most unfair sporting event I've ever seen. Il Divin Codino was the best player of the tournament and yet FIFA named an overrated and lazy Romario as the best player. In truth Romario wasn't even the best player on Brazil -- Dunga and Bebeto were better. Baggio carried Italy past Nigeria and left his heart on the field in the finals. When he missed the penalty...that was the worst moment in sports for me.
MF -- Ryan Giggs -- I talked about this before, but Giggs is my favorite all-time player. He's not the best United player I've seen, that would be Cantona, but the one I identified the most with. Giggsy hitting the final penalty to win the CL this year sort of made up for Baggio's missed penalty in 94.
MF -- Dejan Savicevic -- I'm surprised I went with TWO Milan players, but Savievic was such a wizard with the ball. I remember watching him play for Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup final against Marseille and just being blown away. His play for Milan was even better and Capello not playing him in the 95 final against Ajax was the biggest mistake the Don ever made.
ST -- Ruud Van Nistelrooy -- The greatest poacher (along with Inzaghi) I've seen play. If we had gotten past Real in 2003, he would've scored 50 with the 2-3 extra games in the CL. I sincerely wish that Fergie and he could've worked it out. If we had him last year, we beat Milan and destroy Pool in the finals.
ST -- Eric Cantona -- The greatest United player ever. People always say, "this guy came on and turned the team around" or "when he entered the game, it turned around" or "he struck fear into the hearts of his opponents" and a lot of time it's BS. It was not with Cantona. You could feel the King not willing the team to win, that would be beneath him as that implies he's urging or begging them to play to his level (which no one could anyway). He pulled those 90s teams to victory. Along with Michael Jordan, he's the single most dominant athlete I've seen. He never won European glory true, but that and his kung-fu kick into a Crystal Palace fan are the only negatives on him.