World Cup or Champions League.
Both represent the peak of international football, but which is harder to win?
What would happen if the World Cup winners had played the Champions League winners each year?
We’ve delved into the archives for you to bring you a verdict on every World Cup year going back to 1994.
Ronaldo v Zinedine Zidane, Fabio Cannavaro v Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o v Walter Samuel – the clashes are beautiful.
Let’s take a look…
1994 – Brazil v AC Milan
This was not exactly the free-flowing Brazil side we know and love. Excluding strikers Romario and Bebeto, this Selecao was more solid than sexy.
Dunga marshalled the midfield and if you saw any games from his recent stint as Brazil manager, you’ll understand what this team were about.
They beat the US, Holland and Sweden on their way to a final with Italy – coming through on penalties after Roberto Baggio missed the last spot kick.
The 1994 Champions League winning AC Milan side was a classic Italian defence-led team with Paolo Maldini and Filippo Galli in central defence and Marcel Desailly patrolling the midfield.
Not unaccustomed to scoring, Milan put three past Monaco in the semi-final before swatting aside Barcelona 4-0 in Athens in the final.
Verdict: AC Milan – solid at the back, firepower up front, too much for that Brazil team.
1998 – France v Real Madrid
Led by Didier Deschamps, the French team in 1998 is one of the most iconic World Cup teams ever.
A back-six with not a single chink in the armour included: Fabien Barthez, Lillian Thuram, Frank Leboeuf, Marcel Desailly and Bixente Lizarazu protected by Deschamps.
Yep, no one’s getting through that.
France conceded one goal in the World Cup knockout phases and kept Ronaldo quiet in the final to win 3-0. Magnifique.
Facing them would be a Real Madrid side with the Champions League in its blood.
A front three of Raul, Fernando Morientes and Predrag Mijatovic meant goals, goals, goals as Real scored 15 times in six group stage games.
But this team also had a brick wall at the back, they conceded just four goals in the whole Champions League season thanks to Fernando Hierro, Manuel Sanchis, Christian Panucci and Roberto Carlos.
Verdict: France all the way.
2002 – Brazil v Real Madrid
Get ready for pure samba football with Brazil from 2002.
One of the most entertaining sides to play the game.
Roberto Carlos and Cafu provided the speed down the wings, Ronaldinho turned and tricked in the hole and Rivaldo added the style to Ronaldo’s raw power and technique.
100% Squad goals.
But they weren’t just about scoring goals, they only let one in after the group stages and dispatched Germany 2-0 in the final with two goals from Ronaldo.
Real Madrid circa 2002 were also a class team.
Claude Makalele sat back and broke up everything in midfield, Luis Figo excelled on the right and Zidane added a bit of magic in the centre.
The front two pairing of Raul and Morientes scored 16 goals in the tournament, 10 and six respectively.
A comfortable win in the final against Valencia gave Los Blancos their ninth European cup.
Verdict: Brazil – Even Real would’ve struggled to keep with the pace, power and poetry of this team.
MORE FEATURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
- Remembering the Wally with the Brolly (if you dare)
- Heard the one about the Irishman who played for Inter Milan?
- Looking at Serie A’s defenders in 2001 will make you feel all types of nostalgic
2006 – Italy v Barcelona
OK, so Zidane kind of overshadowed the 2006 World Cup getting sent off for a meaty headbutt on Marco Materazzi.
But still, let’s celebrate the Italy team which contained a galaxy of stars.
A midfield axis of Andrea Pirlo and General (sorry, Gennaro) Gattuso, Franceso Totti, Luca Toni banging them in up front and a triple lock in defence with Fabio Cannavaro, Materazzi and Gigi Buffon epitomised Italian passion and character.
They won the World Cup on penalties and for me were the perfect representation of Italian football; strong defence, classy midfield and ageless strikers. Bravissimo.
As good as Italy were they would have faced stiff competition from Barcelona of 2006.
Entering the decade of Spanish football dominance at both club and international level, Frank Rijkaard’s team were very good.
Containing seven different nationalities this Barca team was a lovely stitch of international quality.
Verdict : Italy – no weaknesses in any area.
2010 – Spain v Inter
After winning Euro 2008 Spain were ready to take on global domination.
The Johann Cruyff-inspired tiki-taka style of play took the world by storm and this squad is rightly spoken about as possibly the best World Cup team ever.
They went on to win Euro 2012 and created an ideology which still pierces football today – also contained Andres Iniesta and Xavi, two of the best football ever.
Jose Mourinho’s treble winning Inter side from 2010 represented the polar opposite to the glorious Spain side.
Conditioned to park the bus, soak up the pressure and then sting the opposition with a late counter, they were incredibly hard to beat.
Walter Samuel and Lucio covered by Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso acted as a South American chastity belt.
Not pretty, but very effective.
Verdict: Inter – 1-0 no matter how well Spain played.
2014 – Germany v Real Madrid
Germany’s World Cup win was the result of what Raphael Honigstein dubbed ‘Das Reboot’ – a 10-year plan to develop young talent into world beaters.
This was a team with a capital T, the top scorer in World Cup history Miroslav Klose with 16 led the line at the age of 35, but the rest complimented each other through a perfect mix of skill and cohesiveness.
Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 at the semi-finals stage, bringing a whole nation to tears in one of the most brutal, one-sided World cup victories ever.
They would have been up against a Real Madrid side, just coming to the boil under Carlo Ancelotti, which would go on to win three Champions Leagues in four years.
Comprising a front three of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and the previous year’s Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo this side loved goals.
Real scored 20 times in the group stage and a further 17 in the six knock-out matches following.
Just try and stop them.
Verdict: Real Madrid – Unstoppable goal scoring with Ronaldo on top form.
The final score sees it honours even with three wins each for both the World Cup winners and Champions League champions.
Let us know how you think they would’ve got on in the comments.