2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

9 June - 9 July

2006 FIFA World Cup™

Tranquillo Barnetta: My +10 team

When Switzerland were hanging on grimly to a slender one-goal lead against Togo, how fitting that a player by the name of Tranquillo should be the one to calm his side's nerves.

It was, indeed, with the sweetest of right-foot strikes, drilled low into the far corner of the net, that the player in question, Tranquillo Barnetta , not only broke Togolese hearts, but emphatically announced his arrival on the world stage.

True to his name, this young midfielder is a quiet, reserved sort off the pitch, but on it he is anything but and, though primarily a creative player, he covers ground and closes down opponents with the sort tireless energy and dogged determination one might expect from a tigerish central midfielder.

Witnessing the drive, skill and maturity Barnetta brings to the Swiss team, it is certainly easy to forget that this is a player who celebrated his 21st birthday just last month.

In his homeland, however, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has been tipped for great things ever since he played a starring role in the Swiss side that, to everyone's considerable surprise, marched all the way to a dramatic final victory over neighbours France in the UEFA U-17 European Championship.

Since then, Barnetta has found himself fast-tracked into the senior set-up by coach Kobi Kuhn, who first included then then 19-year-old in his squad for UEFA EURO 2004 and has since established the youngster as a key player, whether deployed on the right wing or in a more central playmaking role.

Talented, grounded and industrious, Switzerland's opening match against France also proved that Barnetta is no respecter of reputations. Zinedine Zidane certainly might consider it scant consolation, not to mention somewhat ironic, that a player who hassled and harried him throughout a niggly 90 minutes now describes him as "a hero" to whom pride of place is offered in his perfect +10 team.

Tranquillo Barnetta's adidas +10 team

In goal, I would play AC Milan's Dida. To me, he's the best goalie in the world and it would, of course, give confidence to the whole team if we had him behind us.

At right-back, I would have another player from AC Milan, Cafu. He's a brilliant defender and, as old as he may be, he still plays at an extremely high level. I really admire that.

In central defence, I'd probably have Alessandro Nesta, and alongside him I'd go for one of my team-mates in the Swiss national team, Philippe Senderos. He is young, but is already a very strong player and he will have a great future in football.

On the left, I'd have Roberto Carlos. He is very strong both defensively and offensively and has proved his quality over a number of years. I like the fact that he is a player who never gives up, particularly when you think that he has won all titles that you could possibly want to win as a footballer.

On the right of midfield, I'd have myself. That's where I play best and feel most confident.

In centre, just in front of the defence, I would play with Andrea Pirlo, another AC Milan player. He has amazing technique and is the perfect modern-type footballer.

My No.10 would be the great Zinedine Zidane, to me the best player ever - definitely one of my heroes.

On the left, there are a lot of strong players to choose from. One I particularly like is Robert Pires, who used to play for Arsenal and has now moved to Villarreal. He plays on the left a lot even though he is right-footed and has a very elegant style of play that I like very much.

Up front, I'd put Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together. Both are very strong players who continue to score over and over again. Any team would love to have those two strikers in their squad.

Take a look back at Alessandro Nesta's adidas +10 team

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