A LOOK AT LA LIGA
With all this time for reflection I thought it would be a good time to cast the mind back over the past quarter of a century of commentating on La Liga and come up with my dream team.
He may have preceded Paul Pogba and the Chelsea physio as Jose Mourinho's whipping boy, but Iker Casillas gets the goalkeeping gloves. There are plenty of challengers, but this is the man who lifted the World Cup and won everything going in his career.
The full backs must be the Brazilian pair of Dani Alves and Roberto Carlos. They were the prototypes for the modern marauders. The latter also played keepy-uppys with me once at Goodison Park so he was an automatic choice.
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué should have been the central pair however I'm disciplining them for their constant bickering. Instead, I'm going for Diego Godín and Fernando Hierro. The Uruguayan isn't as sexy as Ramos and Pique but he was the rock on which Atletico Madrid's famous defence was built. He also weighed in with the goal that secured the league title in 2014.
Someone on social media was asking who was the best Spanish player to grace the Premier League; the easy answer is David Silva, of course. Hierro would be my answer, though, despite his best days being behind him when he joined Bolton Wanderers. 'The Man of Iron' won La Liga five times and the Champions League three times as a remarkable goalscoring centre-half.
The greatest midfield trio of all time is arguably Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets and nobody would argue if I picked those three. However, I need to find a place for the legendary Zinedine Zidane, so he takes the number five shirt from Busquets.
Apologies now to the magnificent Luis Figo for not squeezing him in. It's nothing to do with turning his back on Barcelona for Real Madrid, it's just that there are three other World Footballers of the Year to accommodate.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo walk into any 'greatest of...' team without any argument. Splitting the pair is Ronaldo Nazário. Sadly, his career was curtailed by numerous injuries, but he was known as El Fenómeno particularly in his early years. He'd scored over 200 goals by the time he was twenty-three and did win the World Player of the Year three times. He can also double up as President as he is now the majority owner of Real Valladolid.
That just leaves the manager's position. Pep Guardiola is a strong candidate and José Mourinho would put himself forward but I'm calling on Vicente Del Bosque, the gentleman of Spanish football who guided the country to their first World Cup success in 2010 and followed it up by claiming Euro 2012.
I'm sure you'll agree with some selections and disagree with many others, this doesn't matter, it's only fantasy.
I must go now as I have the representatives of Figo, Raúl, Ramos and Piqué trying to Skype and FaceTime me.