World Cup: 11 who stood out in the Cup

World Cup: 11 who stood out in the Cup
Zizou as he headbutts Marco Materazzi following abuse and is sent off in the final in Berlin, where Italy win 5-3 on penalties.

The surest way to spark an argument anywhere in the world, apart from politics or religion, is to set out 11 players you consider to have been the finest footballers in a lifetime.

What makes a great player? I have been privileged to discuss this over the years with some of those on my list. I know Pele's preferences. I spent two months prior to the 1974 World Cup working with Johan Cruyff on his 16 players (one per country) for that tournament.

I once asked Bobby Charlton who was the most talented of all the men he had played with or against. "Duncan Edwards," he said.

I reminded him that he had shared the field with Eusebio, Pele, Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas.

"Yes," Sir Bobby replied. "But, to me, Duncan Edwards was incomparable. The rest, I felt I could compare to in some way or other; but he always made me feel inferior."

Edwards could win the ball, pass it. head it, score with it. He played 177 times for Manchester United, and 18 for England, but he was one of the Busby Babes killed in the Munich Air Crash in 1958. He was 21 years old.

Would I argue with Sir Bobby? No. Would I differ? Well, yes, I might. My own line-up is only my opinion. It has limitations because I never witnessed the Magical Magyars of Hungary of the early 1950s. I know only what has been passed down of the inspirational Austrians of the 1930s.

Having watched World Cups since 1966, this is not an attempt to say who was the best individual at each tournament. Rather it is 11 players who for one reason or another defined the events in my eyes.

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