Messi, Giggs and Ronaldo make Zanetti's Champions League dream team

Javier Zanetti has chosen his dream Champions League XI made up of the world-class stars he played alongside and against during his 19-year spell at Inter Milan. 
 
The 41-year-old, who hung up his boots in 2014, is himself often referred to as a legend after winning five Serie A titles, the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup during his illustrious career.
 
Here, Zanetti recalls the great names he shared a pitch with and explains why they've made his Champions League dream team.
 

GOALKEEPER

Angelo Peruzzi
It could have been him or Gianluigi Buffon but I remember how commanding he was. A great goalkeeper but also a great organiser of defenders.
 
 
Zanetti chose to include former Italy international Angelo Peruzzi ahead of Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon
 
 

DEFENDERS 

Cafu
Could attack as well as defend – the complete full back.
 
Former AC Milan and Brazil right back Cafu makes Zanetti's team because of his ability to defend and attack
 
Walter Samuel
I played many times with him for Inter and Argentina and it is easy to see why they call him 'the wall.' The season we won the Treble under Jose Mourinho he was incredible.
 
Zanetti's former team-mate at Inter, Walter Samuel (right), has been chosen to play in the heart of defence
 
Roberto Ayala
Is not talked about enough as one of the great defenders of the generation, you do not win over a 100 caps for Argentina for no reason. A big part of Valencia winning two La Liga titles and breaking Madrid and Barcelona's stronghold.
 
   Ex-Valencia ace Roberto Ayala (right) makes Zanetti's Champions League XI despite not winning the trophy
 
Paolo Maldini
Of course he is one of the all-time great defenders but also a man of great loyalty and integrity. It was a pleasure to face him in so many Milan derbies.
 
AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini won five European Cups during his lengthy association with AC Milan
 

MIDFIELDERS

Lionel Messi
When you think Messi has reached a ceiling and he can't get any better, he surprises you. The best in the world and very proud that he is Argentine.
 
Barcelona superstar and Zanetti's fellow countryman Lionel Messi gets the nod to start
 
 
Patrick Vieira
A great football player of course, but also a great athlete. He had the physical ability to be able to boss the game from midfield.
 
Patrick Vieria won trophies in England and Italy with Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City
 
 
Xavi
So much of Barcelona's success is because he had the intelligence to control the pace and movement of the game. Still even has a big role to play for them now.
 
Barcelona midfielder Xavi (2nd right) helped them progress to the 2015 Champions League final
 
 
Ryan Giggs
Without doubt one of the toughest opponents that I have ever faced and I always have so much respect for great players that stay at one club for their career.
 
Former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, pictured with Zanetti in 2009, starts on the left wing
 

STRIKERS

Roberto Baggio
I faced some of the best strikers in the world in Serie A but I can't think of one with the natural ability of Baggio.
 
Roberto Baggio, pictured with Ronaldo in 1998, played for Serie A giants Inter, AC Milan and Juventus
 
 
Ronaldo (Brazil)
Along with Messi he is the best player I have shared a dressing room with. Of course he had so much skill and ability, but people do not realise just how powerful he was. 
 
Ronaldo (centre) was among the best strikers in world football during his time at the likes of Real Madrid
 
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