There are some mighty fine players who are due to appear at the World Cup in Brazil this summer, many of whom carry astronomical price tags.
Here we pick our Most Valuable World XI of the players likely to feature in the tournament based on current estimated market value.
As you can see, there is not a single English player amongst them! Don’t worry though, we’ve got James Milner.
Manuel Neuer, Germany, Goalkeeper – £30.8m
Germany’s stopper is as assured as they come. The 28-year-old has played at Bayern Munich since 2011 and has worked his way up the German ranks from under 18s, under 19s, under 20s and under 21s before making his full international debut in 2009.
As good at distribution as he is at shot-stopping, Neuer can turn defence into attack in an instant.
Philipp Lahm, Germany, Right Wing Back – £26.4m
Philipp Lahm represents the poise and assuredness that comes from more than 250 appearances for Bayern and over 100 for his country.
In a highly attacking line-up, he might just save this side’s bacon if it came to the crunch and provides plenty of intelligent leadership.
Gerard Pique, Spain, Centre Back – £31.7m
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We’re going with three centre backs for this team, which seems only fair as we have four strikers and no midfield, and there are few better defenders than Pique.
He reads the game superbly but is also as strong as an ox and faster than most, good in the air and, a requirement for this crazy team, can play a bit too.
Thiago Silva, Brazil, Centre Back – £35.2m
The centre back trio looks as solid as any in our opinion, with Brazil’s Paris Saint-Germain star Thiago Silva making up one third of it.
He is set to earn his 50th cap at the World Cup and his captain’s confidence is likely to rub off on some of the mavericks in the side (we hope).
Sergio Ramos, Spain, Centre Back – £35.2m
Like Lahm, this fine, experienced and well-equipped defender has a knack of being in the right place at the right time to get his team out of trouble.
He’ll need to here with little cover ahead of him, but with nearly 300 games for Real Madrid and well over 100 for the national side, we’re confident he’ll snuff out any opposition attacks with the minimum of fuss.
Andres Iniesta, Spain, Centre Midfield – £48.4m
The man who’s been pulling the strings at the heart of the Spanish and Barcelona midfields for years makes our side here, and few players would be more welcome.
With an unerring ability to play the right pass almost every time, and the vision and clarity of thought to know when to up the tempo in the middle of the park, the likes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will clearly thrive off his service. He might struggle by himself in the centre of the park but that will teach him for being so damn good.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Left Wing Back – £88m
Speaking of Ronaldo, this could be his moment. Having already taken the Champions League by storm, scoring an amazing 17 goals in 11 appearances for the eventual victors Real Madrid, CR7 will be looking to inspire Portugal to success in Brazil.
We’ve got other ideas, however, and have bagged him for our own team. What’s more we’re playing him at wing back just to watch him sulk. “Track back you winker, back! Stop doing your hair, it’s fine.”
Hulk, Brazil, Forward – £42.24
Despite making a big-money move to Zenit Saint Petersburg instead of holding out for one of Europe’s elite clubs, Hulk could be one of the most exciting players at this summer’s World Cup if he is on form.
Just about reaching his peak, this skilful but combative attacker isn’t afraid to get stuck in and we think he will add a fine dimension to the extravagant front line here.
Radamel Falcao, Colombia, Forward – £52.8m
Whilst it is still unclear whether Monaco striker Falcao will feature for Colombia this summer after sustaining a nasty injury at the beginning of the year, we’re willing to take the chance.
His pace, power and instinctive finishing ability make him a must-have here – as does his estimated value, of course, which is what it’s all about.
Edinson Cavani, Uruguay, Forward – £52.8m
With Luis Suarez nursing an injury and one crocked striker more than enough for us, his countryman Edinson Cavani makes our World XI.
Another who plies his trade in Paris for big-spending PSG, England defenders could be in big trouble whether Suarez is passed fit or not. With 16 goals in 30 games for his current club and 30 in his first 60 matches for Uruguay, he is dangerous, but he is also adept at creating opportunities for others.
Lionel Messi, Argentina, Forward – £105m
Finally, Argentina and Barcelona legend Lionel Messi makes up our World XI as the little genius is currently rated as the most valuable player on the planet. Few (other than Ronaldo perhaps) would argue with that assertion, and with an astonishing goalscoring record of 243 goals in 276 games for Barca, Messi is clearly one of the true legends of the game. But can he show it in Brazil?
So there we have it, our Most Valuable World Cup XI worth a total estimated amount of almost £550m. It might be very much skewed towards attack at all costs, but wouldn’t it be a great side to watch?