Cristiano Ronaldo revealed his best XI of team-mates during an interview with GOAL Arabia last year and he had to leave out some pretty big names.
The Portuguese superstar named Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Rio Ferdinand, Giorgio Chiellini, Marcelo, Paul Scholes, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Wayne Rooney in his team-mates XI.
We’ve gone back through Ronaldo’s illustrious career and have picked out a brilliant XI of his team-mates who didn’t quite make the cut in his original side.
GK: Gianluigi Buffon
Ronaldo was spoilt for choice when selecting his goalkeeper and we can hardly begrudge him from picking Casillas in his actual team-mate XI.
With that being said, Buffon also ranks as one of the best shot-stoppers of all time and he was lucky enough to spend a few years with Ronaldo at Juventus.
An honourable mention for Edwin van der Sar, too.
RB: Gary Neville
Ronaldo’s relationship with Neville somewhat soured during his second spell with the club, but there’s no denying they once had great chemistry on the pitch together.
The Portuguese star spent a lot of his formative years playing on the right wing and often had Neville backing him up at right back. Neville even helped Ronaldo with some English lessons in his early years.
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 5, 2020
CB: Raphael Varane
Having played alongside Varane at both Real Madrid and Manchester United, Ronaldo will have shared plenty of fond memories with the French defender.
In total, the pair won 15 trophies while playing alongside each other, including two league titles and four Champions League triumphs.
Arguably, the biggest omission from Ronaldo’s original XI. While we can’t begrudge the picks of Ferdinand and Chiellini, there’s no denying that Ronaldo had some great moments with Pepe for both club and country.
Despite being two years older than Ronaldo, Pepe once stated that CR7 is “like a father” to him and it’s clear that the pair still have a great bond to this day.
LB: Patrice Evra
The French full-back still has a great relationship with Ronaldo and the pair enjoyed some great years alongside each other at Old Trafford.
In the press these days, Evra will often have Ronaldo’s back and it’s no surprise that he favours his former team-mate in the never-ending debate with Lionel Messi.
“I want to explain why I say Ronaldo every time,” Evra told Vibe with Five. “It’s not because he’s our brother, it’s because I’m in love with work ethic. I feel like Messi, god just gave him a talent and said ‘go to play with those skills’.
“And Cristiano had to work for it. Even if he had the talent, he had to work for it. If Messi had the same work ethic as Ronaldo, Messi would probably have like 15 Ballon d’Ors today. But Ronaldo, I’m just in love with people working hard so that’s why I pick Cristiano.”
The Brazilian midfielder won 11 trophies alongside Ronaldo and was the base of one of the best midfield trios the world has ever seen.
While both Modric and Kroos made the cut in Ronaldo’s XI, Casemiro was overlooked in favour of Scholes. Which is fair enough, really.
Although with that being said, there’s no denying that Casemiro ranks among the best defensive midfielders of his generation. The pair enjoyed a short-lived reunion at Old Trafford together too.
CM: Roy Keane
“As I mentioned many times, Roy Keane for me was my best captain ever,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan during his infamous interview in 2022.
While Ronaldo only spent a couple of his early years playing alongside the Irish midfielder, it’s clear that Keane had a profound impact on him as a youngster.
CM: Mesut Ozil
Ronaldo only spent three years playing alongside the German playmaker, but some of the goals they combined for were truly spectacular.
In total, Ozil assisted 31 goals for Ronaldo during their time together at Real Madrid. During his peak, Ozil was undoubtedly one of the best playmakers in the business.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil combo will never be forgotten.
— King of Juventus (@madeiracupcakes) January 3, 2024
RW: Angel Di Maria
The Argentine winger is fortunate enough to have played alongside both Ronaldo and Messi. Di Maria spent four years with Ronaldo in Spain and the pair won the 2013–14 Champions League alongside one another.
With Di Maria on one flank, Ronaldo on the other and Benzema through the middle, Real Madrid had a little bit of everything in their forward line.
ST: Carlos Tevez
The world was only treated to a couple of years of the Tevez-Rooney-Ronaldo partnership, but what a trio it once was.
All three players brought something fresh to the table and it’s no surprise that they won practically every trophy on offer during their time together. Some of their link-up play was absolutely outrageous back in the day.
This sequence of play is football porn. 🔥
Starting from Rooney's perseverance and long-pass, Ronaldo's speed, Tevez's header, to Petr Cech's extraordinary double save. 🤯
High level football at its absolute finest. 🥵pic.twitter.com/kcIgywV1SZ
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) December 22, 2023
LW: Ryan Giggs
Few players can rival Ronaldo when it comes to longevity at the top, but Giggs managed to enjoy a superb playing career which spanned over the course of two decades.
Like Ronaldo, Giggs also adapted his game in his later years and moved into the middle of the pitch after he spent his best years playing on the wing. In total, Ronaldo played 204 games alongside the United legend.