Jaap Stam’s Dream Teammates 11


  • Jaap Stam had a superb career, playing with many legends and winning numerous trophies.
  • He was once asked to name his best XI of former teammates, picking from the likes of AC Milan, PSV and Manchester United.
  • He couldn’t help but name himself in the team of 11 though.

In a glittering 15-year career, Jaap Stam won UEFA Club Best Defender of the Year twice, the Eredivisie, FA Cup, three Premier League titles, and was central to Manchester United’s treble-winning adventure in the 1998/99 campaign. It is for this reason that the staunch Dutchman has an enviable list of teammates through the years.

He was once tasked with naming his dream starting XI of former teammates on Sky Sports #One2Eleven segment, with Stam admitting he struggled to leave out the likes of David Beckham and Andrea Pirlo from his final squad. However, with World Cup winners and a host of legends at his disposal, the final selection was still stunning.

Featuring a heavy Rossoneri, Man United treble, and 90s Netherlands persuasion, Stam gloated about a team that could beat anyone past or present. From Cafu and himself in defence to Paul Scholes’ passes into the attacking third towards Ronaldo and Dennis Bergkamp showcase a team that is balanced as it is immaculate.


Goalkeeper & Defence

Edwin van der Sar, Cafu, Jaap Stam, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini

Cafu playing for AC Milan

Self-assured as much as he is self-aware, Stam put himself in his lineup, saying: “Of course I picked myself – I want to be in the team! People in England know my qualities and what I can do.” AC Milan’s omnipresent Italian defensive duo Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini joined him.

Therefore, by polishing the backline with two-time World Cup winner Cafu, Stam inherited the exact same back four he paired with whilst playing for The Rossoneri. Meanwhile, it was Manchester United shot-stopper and fellow Dutchman Edwin van der Sar who was chosen between the sticks.

Peter Schmeichel and Dida were noteworthy omissions. But Stam argued that van der Sar’s passing range and vision, paired with his composure on the ball, meant he deserved the starting berth – and there are very few who would argue back at the towering Dutchman.



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Clarence Seedorf, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes

Manchester United's Roy Keane celebrates with Paul Scholes

The Dutchman’s love for AC Milan filtered into midfield, with Champions League legend Clarence Seedorf another of those the defender played with for both club and country. Stam praised the tenacious number 10 for leaving no stone unturned in his performances. He was strong on the ball, had an unremitting energy to cover every blade of grass up and down the pitch, and his devastating right foot meant he finished his career with 128 club goals.

Stam next waxed lyrical about Paul Scholes, sanctioning his inclusion by saying:

I think he’s one of the most underestimated players in the world when he played. I always said ‘if there’s one player who can play easily with Barcelona, playing in small spaces, then it’s Paul Scholes’. Maybe it’s because he didn’t like the press, all the attention, but if you see him play it looks so easy.

To complement the visionary stylistics of Scholes and Seedorf, the final pick looked to bring leadership through an anchorman who got everyone around him playing to Sir Alex Ferguson’s lofty standards. Roy Keane was the dressing room orchestrator and midfield monster who captained the Manchester United treble-winning side of 1999, leaving his selection a matter of plain and simple.


Dennis Bergkamp, Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs


Playing with the likes of Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andriy Shevchenko, Simone Inzaghi, and Hernan Crespo – Stam was never devoid of watching great goals further afield from centre-back. But all of these teammates were notable omissions, as the first attacking place was given to Ronaldo.

I played with him at PSV Eindhoven – he was very young at that time but you could already see he was going to be a world-class player. When he was 17 or 18 years old he said ‘next season I’m going to be scoring 30-odd goals’, and he did.

Joining the ethereal Brazilian first was international teammate Dennis Bergkamp, while Ryan Giggs filled in the remaining position, meaning the attack oozed variety in three different teams Stam was involved in. The Rock of Kampen, as he is so affectionately known at home, labelled Bergkamp as someone who “stands for the football that we want to play.” Meanwhile, Giggs’ ability in tight areas of the pitch made football “look so easy”.


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