The former United and England ace went for a 4-3-3 system, which he believes is ‘solid at the back’ and would ‘bang in goals’ up front.
Despite his intense rivalry with Liverpool during his 12-year spell at United, the majority of Ferdinand’s team is made up of players from the Premier League champions.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and Sadio Mane (R) were two of five Liverpool players named in Rio Ferdinand’s EA Sports FIFA Team of the Year
Lionel Messi (L) and Bruno Fernandes (R) were two noticeable omissions from his best XI
Alisson was the first of five Liverpool players selected with Ferdinand picking him between the sticks for his ‘consistency’.
He was joined by team-mates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk in defence while Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Bayern Munich’s highly-rated wing back Alphonso Davies completed the back four.
Ferdinand described his defence, which consisted of players who won the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Champions League last year, as full of ‘pace, character, personality, strength and charisma’.
Ferdinand picked Liverpool’s Alisson as his goalkeeper and called him ‘Mr Consistency’
Sergio Ramos, who led Real Madrid to LaLiga in 2020, was picked to play next to Virgil van Dijk
Pitch camp: Here’s how Ferdinand’s dream FIFA XI would line up
In the middle of the park, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne was Ferdinand’s first choice with the ex-United man labelling the Belgian star the ‘best midfielder in the Premier League’.
Alongside him was Liverpool’s Thiago and Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich, who were preferred to United’s driving force Fernandes.
The Portuguese midfielder has been in stunning form ever since joining United in a £68million deal last January but Ferdinand opted to leave him out.
There were some obvious choices up front with goal machine Robert Lewandowski – who won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and the Best FIFA Men’s player for 2020 – picked to lead the line for his star-studded XI.
Ferdinand said Kevin De Bruyne got in his XI as he’s ‘the best midfielder in the Premier League’
Thiago, who starred for Bayern last year before joining Liverpool, was also named in midfield
FERDINAND’S BEST XI
GK: Alisson (Liverpool)
RB: Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
CB: Ramos (Real Madrid)
CB: Van Dijk (Liverpool)
LB: Alphonso Davies (Bayern)
CM: De Bruyne (Man City)
CM: Thiago (Liverpool)
CM: Kimmich (Bayern)
LW: Ronaldo (Juventus)
RW: Mane (Liverpool)
ST: Lewandowski (Bayern)
It would have been a crime had Ferdinand gone with anyone else up top considering no player in Europe’s top leagues scored more than Lewndowski in 2020 (40).
On the left wing was Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still defying his age by continuing to score at a ridiculous rate even at 35 with 19 goals from 17 games so far this season and now an astonishing 759 across his career – the joint highest in history.
There was surprisingly no place for Barcelona legend Messi despite Ferdinand previously saying that he should be considered a greater talent than Ronaldo because of his all-round game.
Messi endured a tough campaign last term as Barcelona failed to win any silverware but enjoyed success on a personal level, still managing to post impressive numbers in the score and assist columns, though it was not enough to convince Ferdinand to include him.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was chosen to play in the right-forward position to round off Ferdinand’s dream XI, meaning no players from his former club made the cut despite their inspired form in recent months which has put them on the cusp of going top of the Premier League table.
Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich were joined by team-mate Alphonso Davies in the XI
Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed another amazing year in front of goal and earned the left-wing spot