An XI of the most decorated players in football history: Ronaldo, Messi…

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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrate with the Champions League trophy.

Football has been graced by many sensational players throughout its history – and some of the very best won a jaw-dropping amount of trophies during their playing careers.

With the league, cup competitions and European trophies on offer every season, combined with bi-annual international tournaments, some legendary figures have collected an enviable amount of silverware.

But who has the most? We’ve compiled a sensational line-up of the most decorated players in football history, lining up in a 4-4-2 formation.

GK: Manuel Neuer

Sneaking in ahead of Iker Casillas, Neuer has been ever-present during Bayern’s haul of 10 straight Bundesliga titles.

The legendary goalkeeper also helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup, has been part of two treble-winning sides (2013 and 2020) and won a couple of honours with Schalke at the start of his career. His grand total is 31. Staggering stuff.

Germany has produced some brilliant goalkeepers down the years but Neuer must surely be the best of them.

RB: Dani Alves

With 46 honours to his name, Alves is officially the most decorated player in history. Since 2001, the full-back has won trophies with Bahia, Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Sao Paulo and is still going strong at 39.

Alves has also won a number of international trophies with Brazil and is synonymous with the glorious Pep Guardiola era at Barcelona. He’s rightly considered one of the greatest right-backs of all time.

Dani Alves and Lionel Messi celebrate after scoring for Barcelona against Roma in the Champions League at Camp Nou. 24th November, 2015

READ: An ode to Dani Alves’ mind-blowing connection with Messi at Barcelona

CB: Gerard Pique

Pique’s association with Barcelona is so strong that you almost forget the defender started his career at Manchester United.

Part of the squad that won the Premier League and Champions League in 2008, Pique moved to Barcelona that summer and continued winning trophies at a frankly indecent rate ever since.

He’s won 36 trophies and counting in his illustrious career, including the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

Pique’s last major honour was the Copa del Rey with Barcelona in 2021 and, considering the club’s revival under Xavi, there’s every chance he’ll add to his current haul before the end of his playing days.

CB: Paolo Maldini

Maldini became a byword for excellent defending and the Italian maestro lifted five European Cups for AC Milan between 1988 and 2007.

While he experienced a number of near-misses for the Italian national side, he did manage to win 20 other major honours for Milan: seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppas Italiana, four UEFA Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.

His 647 Serie A appearances is a record in the competition and Il Capitano is simply one of the best there’s ever been.

LB: Marcelo

As Real Madrid won another championship, sweeping all before them in La Liga this season, Marcelo became the most decorated player in the club’s history with 24 major honours.

Replacing Roberto Carlos in the Madrid XI, the full-back became an ever-present during Los Blancos’ run of three successive Champions League wins in the mid-2010s.

He’s also seen success with the Brazil national team, winning the 2013 Confederations Cup, and gained two trophies with his first club Fluminense.

Madrid won’t be quite the same without him…

Marcelo in action for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain. September 2007.

READ: Where are they now? Real Madrid’s XI from Marcelo’s debut in 2007

RW: Lionel Messi

Arguably the greatest player of all time, Messi was always a given to be in our XI.

Whilst his 2008 Olympic gold medal and Copa America triumph last year was special for a proud Argentinan, the majority of Messi’s 39 major honours came with Barcelona.

The forward won 10 La Liga titles, eight Spanish Super Cups, seven Copas del Rey, and four Champions League titles during a glittering career in Spain and will lift the Ligue 1 title with PSG this season too.

CM: Xavi

Barcelona’s current manager was one of the greatest midfielders of all time during his playing days, becoming a symbol of Guardiola’s Barcelona and their tiki-taka style of play.

Xavi made his Barca debut in 1998 and won eight La Liga and four Champions League trophies with his beloved hometown club.

The midfielder won 13 further honours in Spain, three major tournaments with the national side and collected four honours with Qatari side Al Sadd. His greatness is unquestionable.

CM: Andres Iniesta

Iniesta won everything on offer during a hugely successful 16-year stay at Barcelona, with many observers calling his partnership with Xavi the best midfield pairing of all-time. 

And the pint-sized magician also won three international trophies with Spain between 2008 and 2012, scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final victory over the Netherlands in 2010.

His current trophy haul stands at 39, after winning the Emperor’s Cup and the Japanese Super Cup with Vissel Kobe, where Iniesta still plays.

LW: Ryan Giggs

Over the course of a glittering 25-year career, Giggs became synonymous with Manchester United’s golden era.

The Welshman commanded the flanks at Old Trafford between 1990 and 2014, winning 34 trophies in the process, and played in all of the Premier League seasons under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He also holds the record for making the highest number of appearances for the club (963) and is the most decorated British footballer of all time.

Not bad for somebody who was on the verge of leaving United in 2003…

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs

READ: Remembering the performance that saved Ryan Giggs’ Man Utd career

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal have all been grateful beneficiaries of Ronaldo’s insatiable will to win over the past two decades.

Undeniably one of the best players to play the game, Ronaldo has delivered many times in finals and big matches to help his side win trophies.

His career total stands at 34 and, despite United’s struggles this season, you wouldn’t bet against Ronaldo winning another trophy or two before he finally retires from the game.

ST: Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski won Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund, when non-Bayern teams were allowed to win the league, before becoming a Bundesliga winner in every season since his move to Munich in 2014.

Despite their domestic dominance, the Poland international had to wait until 2020 to win the Champions League and will feel slightly aggrieved he’s not won the competition on more occasions.

Scorer of over 600 goals during his career, Lewandowski has only got better with age and will feel confident about adding to his current tally of 28 trophies.


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