Star who played with Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka puts Ross Barkley ahead of them in five-a-side team
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Ross Barkley was the shock inclusion in a five-a-side team picked by a man who played with multiple Ballon d'Or winners.
Royston Drenthe played 65 times for Real Madrid and was teammates with a whole host of world-beating talents.
He shared a dressing room with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain.
But none of the five made the grade for Drenthe's ultimate side made up of those who he played with. Instead, Drenthe made the surprise call to include Barkley, who he linked up with during a loan spell at Everton in the 2011/12 season.
Barkley was only a youngster at the time and played just nine times in all competitions, including six in the Premier League.
But he clearly made a huge impression on Drenthe, who described him as "so strong, quick and technically gifted" and claims it was clear that he was going to be special.
Real hardman Pepe, still playing at the ripe old age of 40 for Porto, was the first name on the teamsheet to marshall the backline.
Spain and Real legend Iker Casillas was the understandable choice in between the sticks, while Drenthe opted to select himself and former Real and Brazil star Robinho, who had a spell in the Premier League with Manchester City.
And then for the final pick, Drenthe went with Barkley, who is now plying his trade at Ligue One side Nice but has made just eight starts in the league.
The Dutchman said it is a "shame things haven't quite worked out" for the 33-cap England international.
"The first name in there, without a doubt, is Pepe," Drenthe told Ladbrokes, as per The Sun.
"The guy is crazy, man. He's someone you want on your team when you're playing in those small games, for sure. You don't want to be playing against him!
"In goal, I have to pick Iker Casillas. Obviously he's one of the best goalkeepers we've ever seen, but he was so comfortable on the ball, too, he's perfect for five-a-side.
"I'm putting myself in there, in midfield, and Robinho up-front. That was unbelievable and, again, this style of football just suits him perfectly. He's straight in there for me.
"And then I'd have someone from Everton alongside me in midfield... I'd go with Ross Barkley.
"I loved playing with Ross; I loved everything about him on and off the pitch. He was so strong, quick and technically gifted. But he was such a nice guy, too.
"I was quite young while I was at Everton, but I think Ross was still just 18. Even at that age, though, we could all see how special he was going to be.
"It's a shame things haven't quite worked out for him but, my God, what a player he was. He's making my five-a-side team, for sure."
Drenthe played for both Reading and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship but had a brief hiatus from football at the age of 29.
It was reported that he filed for bankruptcy after losing his £3.2 million fortune following a failed transition into acting and music.
He did return to the game and joined sixth-tier Spanish outfit Racing Merida City in August.
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Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo