Cayetano Ros: We should unite our football teams into just one EU squad

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The Independent Online

It is a surprising and novel idea but a nice one. I am a Europhile and I like the concept of football bringing countries together. An EU team would be a good way of showcasing the best players in Europe – as long as their countries were in the EU – and making them aware of their identity as Europeans.

It would also be a reward for them. The EU matches should not happen too often because there is already such a crowded fixture list, but the games could be something special, away from the commercialism of the rest of the sport and a true celebration of football.

Obviously you wouldn't want the politicians in EU capitals picking the team, nor the bureaucrats in Brussels. So perhaps the best way to do it would be to have a rotating coaching position, for example the coach of the winning Champions League team each season, would act as coach to the EU team the next. I think Guus Hiddink is a natural choice at the moment.

My team would include several Spaniards – it's only natural, although I hope the supporters of Arsenal and Liverpool would be pleased to see Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres.

And even though England did not make it to Euro 2008, I would still choose Steven Gerrard among my EU XI. I would also pick two German defenders, Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker, and although Italy were disappointing in this championship, I would still find space for the left-back Fabio Grosso and the midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

The one shame is that I cannot pick any Russians, so players like Andrei Arshavin, who was superb against the Netherlands on Saturday, would miss out.

Would this team beat all the other continents? Hmmm, it's an intriguing thing to contemplate. I think the EU team would definitely be too good for Asia, Australasia and North America, that's for sure. But against Africa – with the current talented crop of players from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria – that's a trickier one to answer.

And against South America, with the best Brazilian and Argentine players, that would be a close game. There's only one way to know; let's give it a try!

Cayetano Ros is a football correspondent for El Pais, Spain