In an already incredible career, Lionel Messi notched up another landmark last week as he became the latest great of the game to earn over 100 international caps.
Despite Pele and Diego Maradona being among the players not to have reached the landmark, the Argentinian wizard is in some pretty special company, so here is an all-time XI made of up of the best players that have brought up their century during their careers:
GK- Iker Casillas (Spain)
The Spain captain just about edges out Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, having won practically everything the game has to offer. The Real Madrid stopper has lifted the European Championship title twice – in 2008 and 2012 – and the World Cup in 2010, making him the leader of one of the greatest sides in international football history.
RB- Cafu (Brazil)
Considering the Brazilian is the only man to have played in three World Cup finals, there was little question that Cafu should be included in this fantasy side. Although his country would lose the 1998 final to France, he was able to get his hands on the holy grail twice, and was captain for the 2002 victory.
CB- Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
Along with Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro was the rock that the strong Italian side was built around. He was one of the most consistent players in the world throughout his career, and was rightly honoured with the 2006 Ballon d’Or. The award came just months after the centre-back had crowned his 100th cap in perfect fashion, by captaining Italy to the 2006 World Cup.
CB- Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)
Like Cannavaro, Beckenbauer is considered as one of the best defenders ever to have played the game. However, he could arguably be placed much higher than the Italian based on how he is credited as the inventor, and greatest exponent, of the sweeper role, despite beginning his career as a midfielder. He led the West Germans to the 1972 European Championship, but more importantly, the 1974 World Cup after keeping Johan Cruyff quiet in the final, and thus preventing the Netherlands playing their ‘Total Football’. The last of his 103 caps came in 1977.
LB- Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
The Brazilian may have won the Copa America twice and the World Cup in 2002, but his most famous moment for his country arguably came during a friendly tournament in 1997, when he hit the most outrageous of free-kicks from nearly 40 yards. The effort with the outside of his boot seemed to be heading several yards wide, but somehow curled viciously into the net, and left France’s Fabien Barthez looking helpless.