Around a week ago we debuted our Best XI by Brand series by highlighting the company with the three stripes – Adidas (See: Adidas Best XI). We are back at it again and this time we will take a look at Nike’s Best XI. This team has some flare and a number of interesting personalities. They have established players that have a lot of experience and some players that have just recently established themselves.
Remember that this is an personal opinion piece and our Best XI may be different from your Best XI. Please let us know if there is a player that should/shouldn’t be on it.
Goalkeeper: The French International Hugo Lloris has saved both country and club many a time from opposing goal scoring opportunities. He captained France in Euro 2012 after an interim captain stint. David De Gea, Tim Howard, and new Nike signing Asmir Begović were also considered.
Defenders: The best outside backs that wear Nike are all in the Premier League, Ashley Cole, Jan Vertonghen, Pablo Zabaleta, and Patrick Evra all play for top clubs in the League. In the end Zabaleta and Cole were my picks. Cole is considered by some to be one of the best defenders of his generation and Zabaleta’s strong and firm style of play has earned him a spot in the defensive line of Manchester City. For the center backs Thiago Silva was a lock but his partner was one of the harder picks. Branislav Ivanovic, Sergio Ramos, Gerrard Piqué and David Luiz are all talented defenders. In the end Sergio Ramos would have the spot but any other of the players mentioned would perform well in the position.
Midfielders: Andrés Iniesta, Pirlo, Ronaldo, and Ribery. Need I say more? These players are the front runners for their club and countries. Nike has some stars outside these guys but they don’t even come close to what these guys have achieved. Also, Iniesta and Ronaldo were part of a three man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or, so in other words Nike has 2 out of 3 of the best players in the world in their midfield. Notables are Eden Hazard, Pedro, and Sergio Busquets.
Forwards: Nike’s group of strikers is unpredictable on and off the field. My top choices were Ibrahimović, Neymar, Stephen El Shaarawy, Robert Lewandowski, and Mario Balotelli. Did you notice that Nike somehow managed to get the most interesting group of players that start at striker? Balotelli’s antics are second only to Joey Barton’s and El Shaarawy’s hairdo is hard to not notice. Despite their differences, these players get the job done day in and day out. In the end I felt Ibrahimović and Neymar get the spots just because of their play making abilities.
This all star team would be able to play to each others strengths to dominate the game. For example, they could take advantage of how good Ibrahimović is in the air by whipping in crosses. They have some notable names in other spots but to be honest the midfield is the strongest part of this team. I feel that Nike’s best XI would perform so well in the game because their midfield is virtually unstoppable. And even if you found a way to take care of business in the midfield you would have 7 other players to take care of, making the Nike best XI one hard team to beat.
What the players currently wear!
Mercurial Vapor (2) – Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery
Tiempo Legend (4) – Hugo Lloris, Andrea Pirlo, Sergio Ramos, Ashley Cole
CTR360 Maestri (3) – Andrés Iniesta, Thiago Silva, Pablo Zabaleta
Hypervenom Phantom (2) – Zlatan Ibrahimović, Neymar
Nike have their best players spread out nicely over their ranges. This is good for marketing and the brand in general because their is more of a variety of the brand’s boots on the pitch. Also no one will view a certain one of their boots as “not as good” because a few of Nike’s best players wear it.
What do you think of the Nike Best XI? Who would you want taking the penalties… Ronaldo, Pirlo, or another player?