Ronaldo in Euro 2024 over-31 XI featuring one England star, Liverpool legend, Germany trio

Jason Soutar
Our Euro 2024 over-31 XI features Ronaldo, Kroos and Neuer
Our Euro 2024 over-31 XI features Ronaldo, Kroos and Neuer

There are some cracking older players at Euro 2024. Featuring one England player and three Germans, here is our best over-31 XI.

In case you were wondering, we are counting players who are currently 31 years old. Enjoy.

 

GK: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Kicking things off is Bayern Munich legend Manuel Neuer, who I believe will help Germany win Euro 2024. The Germans have been abysmal over the last two years as players downed tools under Hansi Flick, but Julian Nagelsmann is a fine appointment and will bring the best out of his players. Die Mannschaft will only grow stronger throughout the tournament but if they hit the ground running, Friday’s match against Scotland could be a bloodbath.

Neuer has overcome serious injuries in recent years but is back with his cat-like diving and reflexes to contribute for Germany, keeping Marc-Andre ter Stegen – who probably wishes he was born 12 years later – on the bench.

The 38-year-old is surely playing at his final European Championships and beats Slovenia shot-stopper Jan Oblak to a place in our team.

 

RB: Kyle Walker (England)
Choosing between Walker and Spain’s Dani Carvajal was very tough, but we have gone with the former as opposed to the man who opened the scoring in this year’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

This is perhaps bold of us as we have suggested elsewhere that Gareth Southgate drop Walker but we are bold folk. Carvajal is brilliant but the Manchester City full-back offers more going forward and defensively.

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CB: Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)
Van Dijk has never managed to fully endear himself to the previous generations of Dutch footballers – namely Ruud Gullit – but everyone in England knows the Liverpool legend has been world-class for a long time.

He will lead the Netherlands out in Germany with relatively minor expectations, which feels a bit odd. This is a strong squad and Van Dijk is an outstanding captain. He forms a wonderful centre-back partnership with…

 

CB: Antonio Rudiger (Germany)
Real Madrid and Germany defender provides a perfect balance of lunacy and poise with Van Dijk. A real good cop, bad cop vibe. Both are arguably as good as each other but you will see a lot more energy and flying tackles come from Rudiger, while Van Dijk relies on his aura to stop attackers.

The former Chelsea defender has become a mainstay in the Madrid backline and has proven to be one of the best free transfer signings in recent history. Him and Van Dijk beat Hungary’s Willi Orban, Denmark’s Simon Kjaer and Portugal’s Pepe to a starting berth. Oh, and Liam Cooper. Obviously.

And of course Rudiger has already almost come to blows with his Germany teammate.

 

LB: Daley Blind (Netherlands)
Left-back is a weak link but Blind deserves his flowers for the season he has had at Girona. The 34-year-old was outstanding in helping the Spanish side qualify for the Champions League and his renaissance has earned him a spot in Ronald Koeman’s 26-man squad ahead of Ian Maatsen, Jurrien Timber, Jorrel Hato and Quilindschy Hartman.

Having made his senior international debut in 2013, Blind has racked up 107 caps and last week captained his country in the emphatic 4-0 friendly victory over Canada, who held France to a 0-0 draw days later.

Real Madrid and Spain defender Nacho Fernandez was a tempting inclusion but we have opted for Blind, who will likely play at left-back for the Netherlands this summer.

 

DM: Toni Kroos (Germany)
The defence is decent, but this side is only going to get better.

Coming out of international retirement to represent Germany at Euro 2024 – held in his home country – with his side’s final match of the tournament also the final one of his glittering career, Kroos has the chance to retire on the best note possible having already helped Real Madrid win their 15th Champions League trophy and a sixth of his own.

In truth, Kroos has plenty left in the tank and Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti genuinely wants him to carry on, but some people just prefer to go out on a high and you can’t knock them for that.

Not exactly a player known for his defensive qualities, we will rely on Kroos to dictate play as he gets the nod ahead of N’Golo Kante, Marcelo Brozovic, Jorginho and others.

 

CM: Luka Modric (Croatia)
It might be sentiment taking over with the inclusion of Croatia and Real Madrid legend Modric, though we could hardly have a team of OAPs and not include him.

At 38 years of age, Modric remains Croatia’s talisman and the player Zlatko Dalic leans on, despite having the very capable Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol and Andrej Kramaric in his squad.

Can Modric inspire another deep tournament run? Spain and Italy in their group is far from ideal.

 

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
Ilkay Gundogan and Granit Xhaka are among those who can feel hard done by not being included over Modric but De Bruyne is not up for debate. He joins Man City pal Walker in our team.

The Manchester City midfielder is a superstar and if he performs at his best, Belgium have a brilliant chance of going the whole way. Their golden generation might be behind them but this is still a decent team and a group consisting of themselves, Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania gives them every chance.

 

AM: Antoine Griezmann (France)
There were plenty of options including German Raumdeuter Thomas Muller and the aforementioned Kramaric – Slovenian comeback king Josip Ilicic was also considered – but it was a no-brainer to have Griezmann in our attacking midfield role, with no wide players included as the best options were Dusan Tadic and Filip Kostic who, with all due respect, are not on the same level as the strikers or midfielders in this team.

Griezmann is a player aging elegantly and is maturing into a less attacking role having starred as a No. 9 for Atletico Madrid and France in the past. I don’t know about you, but I just love him as a player. He is bloody fantastic.

 

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Banging in the goals in Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo – who joins former Real Madrid teammates Kroos and Modric – will probably start for Portugal at Euro 2024, purely because he is Cristiano Ronaldo.

It will be interesting to see how the Portuguese attack flows with Ronaldo leading the line. Should Roberto Martinez show the cojones to drop CR7 – as Paul Merson has suggested he should – there are so many dangerous options and on paper, Portugal probably have the best starting XI at the tournament along with France.

Is Ronaldo your GOAT? He’s not ours.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Do you agree with our team? If not, what would you change? Join the debate here.

 

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Beating Romelu Lukaku, Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to the final place in our XI is Polish legend Robert Lewandowski, whose performances alone can determine how far Poland go this summer.

Only former Hull City winger Kamil Grosicki is older in Michal Probierz’s squad and it has to be said that Poland will probably be relying on being one of the best third-place teams in Germany as they share a group with the Netherlands and France. Austria are also pretty decent as well; Ralf Rangnick is doing very well there.

Lewandowski has a pretty handy 82 goals in 149 caps for his country, with five goals coming in European Championship fixtures.

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