Combing seven European Cups

After limping past Celta in the semis, Jose Mourinho described Manchester United’s Europa League final with Ajax in Stockholm later this month as a clash between two “monsters”.

There’s a part of you that thinks he only said this to prepare United fans for another drab display in which his side slowly retreat to the edge of their own box before conceding a last-minute goal, on which he can then blame a combination of fixture-induced fatigue and poor (and possibly corrupt) officiating. That part of you is correct.

But Mourinho is also correct to say that this is indeed a meeting of two of football’s heavyweights. Between them, Manchester United and Ajax have scooped up 53 league titles, 30 domestic cups and seven European Cups (and four of them, in case you need a reminder, belong to the Dutch side).

With success comes great players (or is it the other way around?) and both sets of fans have seen some of the all-time greats strut their stuff in the colours of their clubs.

That makes picking a combined XI a pretty tricky task – but we’ve given it our best shot.

SEE ALSO: Jose Mourinho is a specialist in ending failure

Disclaimer: Many players – obvious examples being midfield duo Clarence Seedorf and Edgar Davids, as well as Ronald Koeman – may have been equal in terms of talent to those we’ve picked. But with such an array of options, we’ve had to discriminate, in some cases, on the basis of longevity.

Managing this team would be the dream duo of Sir Alex Ferguson and Johan Cruyff (the latter of whom is on double duty). Fergie can take the team talks; the Dutchman is in charge of training drills.

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