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Ballon d’Or ‘Dream Team’ revealed as Diego Maradona and Pele join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

By Vincent Ashitey
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France Football has announced their star-studded Ballon d'Or 'Dream Team' at this year's ceremony.

With this year's Ballon d'Or award cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, France Football – the weekly magazine that created the award – opted to instead announce a best XI in its place.

Journalists from 170 countries cast their votes on who would make the team, which sees the team line up in a 3-4-3 formation.

On Monday afternoon, they staggered their announcements by the hour, with goalkeeper and defenders being revealed first and then midfielder and attackers followed.

In goal, Russia's legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin was named in between the sticks, cementing his legacy as arguably the greatest No 1 of all time.

Yashin, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1963 and remains as the only goalkeeper in history to win it, made 74 appearances for the Soviet Union between 1954 and 1970.

In front of him, a back-three of Franz Beckenbauer, Cafu and Paolo Maldini make up the rock-solid defence.

Widely considered as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Beckenbauer is the only defender to win the Ballon d'Or on two separate occasions, having won everything for club and country with Bayern Munich and Germany.

Either side of him are more recent additions of Brazilian full-back Cafu and Italian legend Maldini.

Unlike Beckenbauer, neither Cafu or Maldini ever won the award but are both recognised as some of the best in their position. Maldini finished third twice in the Ballon d'Or voting in 1994 and 2003.

In front of them, Xavi, Lothar Matthaus, Pele and the late great Diego Maradona made up the four-man midfield.

Xavi won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain while also making up one of the best midfields to ever grace the game during his time at Barcelona.

Alongside him as a defensive-minded pick was Matthaus, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1990. Another player who replicated Beckenbauer's success of winning everything for Bayern Munich and Germany.

Pele, arguably the greatest player of all time, plays alongside Maradona who sadly passed away last month.

The two South American icons have long been the two contenders for GOAT-status in football, with Pele winning three World Cups while Maradona single-handedly guided Argentina to the trophy in 1986.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo Nazario were announced as the team's lethal front three.

There was never any doubt that Messi or Cristiano would make the team, considering they've dominated the award over the last decade.

Messi, who has won the most Ballon d'Or awards in history with six, is followed closely behind by his great rival Cristiano, who has five to his name.

On being included in the team, Messi said on his Instagram page: 'For me it is an honour to have been included in the eleven of the Ballon d'Or Dream Team. I want to thank you for choosing me and also congratulate all the players who were selected in the two teams and all the nominees, there are real phenomena on that list !!

Cristiano Ronaldo also thanked everyone who voted for him by posting his own picture on Instagram with one of his Ballon d'Or awards.

Ronaldo said: 'I’m very honoured to be part of France Football’s All Time 11. What an amazing Dream Team... They all deserve my respect and admiration and I’m obviously proud to be amongst such extraordinary players. Thank you!'

The Brazilian Ronaldo takes up the striker spot in the team, with the ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan forward a worthy recipient of the final spot in the team.

The 44-year-old, who retired in 2011, won the Ballon d'Or in 1997 after a stunning season at the Catalan club before collecting the trophy again in 2002 after guiding Brazil to World Cup glory.

Source: dailymail