Pep Guardiola's all-time greatest starting XI

Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola

The Spaniard has managed a plethora of world-class talent in his time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Ahead of this weekend's Manchester derby, we look at the greatest ever players to run out for a Pep Guardiola side.

Manuel Neuer (Goalkeeper - Bayern Munich)

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in world football, and seen by many as the archetypal 'sweeper-keeper,' Manuel Neuer can boast a number of team and individual accolades, most recently becoming the captain of world champions Germany.

With a World Cup, Champions League, and several Bundesliga winner's medals to his name, there are very few that can argue against his inclusion in Guardiola's all-time XI.

Phillip Lahm (Right-back - Bayern Munich)

With 113 caps for Germany, Lahm is one of the few players that has lifted the World Cup as captain.

Described by Guardiola as "perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained in my career," Guardiola would utilise Lahm in central midfield, making the most of his ability to read the game and organise his team-mates.

Despite this, the Champions League and eight-time Bundesliga Champion sits in his preferred right-back position for our Guardiola all-time XI.

Vincent Kompany (Centre-back - Manchester City)

Although yet to feature under Guardiola due to injury, Vincent Kompany has consistently produced for Manchester City, playing an instrumental role in both league titles and establishing himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world, let alone the Premier League.

Carles Puyol (Centre-back and Captain - Barcelona)

A one-club man, a leader, a commanding centre-back. All are accurate depictions of a man that can brag three Champions Leagues, six La Liga titles, a World Cup, a European Championship, and an Olympic Silver Medal.

Carles Puyol would go on to represent Spain 100 times and captain Barcelona for almost a decade, and as such gets our nod as captain in Guardiola's all-time XI.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol (L) and Andres Iniesta celebrate with the trophy after victoryBarcelona captain Carles Puyol (L) and Andres Iniesta celebrate with the trophy after victory

Jordi Alba (Left-back - Barcelona)

Not quite as decorated as many of his Barcelona team-mates, Alba can only lay claim to three La Liga titles, a Champions League and a European Championship.

Unfortunately for Alba, he joined the Spanish set-up as the golden generation began to taper off, but is an ever-present in the Spanish squad. Alba is regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, with his devastating pace and tireless work-rate terrifying defenders and attackers alike.

Xavi (Central Midfield - Barcelona)

Hailed as one of the greatest playmakers of all time, there is no arguing against his inclusion in Guardiola's all-time XI. Xavi has won a staggering eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, two European Championships, a World Cup, and an Olympic Silver medal.

Andres Iniesta (Central Midfield - Barcelona)

See Xavi above. Iniesta has shared the same illustrious career as Xavi, minus the Olympic medal. Iniesta's unbelievable eye for a pass and infallible technique has also earned him much individual praise, finishing above Xavi, but behind fellow team-mate Lionel Messi, in the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Thomas Müller - (Attacking Midfield - Bayern Munich)

Yet another World Cup-winner, Thomas Müller has enjoyed a fantastic goal-scoring record at major international tournaments, and is a player who relishes a big occasion.

Müller has five Bundesliga titles to his name, a Champions League winners medal and claimed the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup. No doubt Guardiola would love to have Müller's big-game experience in his team this Saturday.

Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich celebrates a goal against FC BaselThomas Muller of Bayern Munich celebrates a goal against FC Basel

Thierry Henry (Left-wing - Barcelona)

The final World Cup-winner on our list, and one of the Premier League's all-time greats, Henry may have been past his best when he united with Guardiola a year into his Barcelona career. But Henry would survive the cuts that befell world-class players such as Ronaldinho and Deco, and would combine with Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o to form the most prolific trio in Spanish League history.

Whilst this record would be surpassed only years later by a new Barcelona trio, Henry still ranks as one of the best strikers to grace the modern game, and returns to his roots by lining up on the left of our Guardiola XI.

Sergio Aguero (Centre-forward - Manchester City)

When he's fit, Aguero is unquestionably the best striker in the Premier League. Despite continuous injuries, he consistently finds himself at the top end of the goal-scoring charts and is the second fastest player to reach 100 goals in the Premier League. Aguero will no doubt be vital to any success Guardiola will hope to achieve, and lines up in the centre of our formidable front-line.

Lionel Messi (Right-wing - Barcelona)

Arguably the best player in the world, and one of the best in the history of the game, Lionel Messi is the first name on the teamsheet as far as we are concerned. The only player to win the Ballon d'Or four times, Messi has also claimed eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, and a Olympic Gold medal.

Despite this, many still question Messi's historical standing, lacking the World Cup winners medal so many of his rivals possess. But get him in a Pep all-time XI jersey and he'll guarantee goals.

Honourable mentions: Jerome Boateng, Sergio Busquets, Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben, Neymar, David Villa, Robert Lewandowski.

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