If the Rio 2016 Olympians were in your fantasy Premier League team, here's what it would look like


All eyes are on Rio de Janeiro as South America's first ever Olympics take place in Brazil, but in the footballing world it is that time of year again.

The Premier League begins on Saturday and, as coverage of Arsenal and Manchester City's pre-season friendly illustrated on Sunday, the nation's appetite for the beautiful game has not been completely satisfied by Rio's sporting buffet.

If only these spectacles could be appreciated at the same time and what if these Olympians were competing in the Premier League? Ponder no longer, sports fans.

Welcome to our guide to the Olympian dream team. In the interest of fairness and diversity, football is excluded and only one athlete is allowed per event and nation.

Divers should also not expect a place due to their talent for football's most maligned offence.


Alison Cerutti, 30, beach volleyball, Brazil

Alison Cerutti blocks a shot against Austria in a Rio beach-volleyball fixture
With Cerutti's long arms even last year's top scorer Harry Kane would struggle to tuck it into the corner of the net (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Where else to start when talking about a Brazilian Olympics than beach volleyball?

Brazilian Alison Cerutti (a male player despite a forename reminiscent of aunties across the UK) leads the home nation's charge for Olympic medals along with his partner Bruno Schmidt. They play their last Pool A game tonight.

At over two metres tall and with a talent for blocking balls, Cerutti is perfectly adapted to life between the posts in England's top division.

Centre back:

Meng Suping, 27, weightlifting, China

Meng Suping prepares to lift the bar in her Chinese team outfit
Herculean Suping would be a souped up, super-charged tackler (Gurinder Osan/AP)

For a centre back in the famously physical Premier League, there is no doubt strength can be everything.

Move over Rio Ferdinand and welcome Rio medal hopeful Meng Suping, word record holder in the clean and jerk over-75 kilo weight category with a lift of 193kg at China's national championships last year.

She will be competing for an Olympic medal on Sunday.

Looking at the amount the bar bends when she lifts, she looks pretty strong and could be a rock at the back for the Olympian team.

Centre back:

Pau Gasol, 36, basketball, Spain

Pau Gasol leaves the court after a group game at Rio 2016
Pau Gasol will hope he has enough gas left in the tank to win Spain's fifth and final group game against Argentina on Monday night (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

As Per Mertesacker would probably agree, height can quite often be enough when it comes to keeping the goals out.

In Pau Gasol of Spain, we have a player of 2.13 metres and a six-time NBA all star.

Although Spain lost their first game of the tournament 72-70 to Croatia, Gasol still managed over 20 points.

As Pep Guardiola's £47.5 million acquisition of John Stones attests, a defender with the ability to attack is a rare gem.

Right back:

Mo Farah, 33, distance running, Great Britain

Mo Farah holding Britian's Union Jack as he celebrates
Farah has been described by on commentator as the greatest British Olympian and his stamina could make him invaluable in the Premier League (Martin Rickett /PA)

An easy one this. As anyone who has played as a full-back before will confirm, crossing is good, tackling is great but the main trait needed to succeed is stamina.

Great Britain has a pretty good guy for that.

Already the double Olympic champion, Farah comes to Rio seeking to defend his crown in the 10,000m on August 14 and the 5,000m on Wednesday August 17.

For most people any human willing to consider running twice in a week is impressive, so this home-grown hero is freakishly astonishing and would eat up the turf on the Rio team's right flank.

Left back:

Mijain Lopez, 33, Greco-Roman wrestling, Cuba

Mijain Lopez grapples with Russia's Khasan Baroev at Beijing 2008
Lopez, pictured here on top of the opposition, would not let any runner escape him (Ed Wray/ AP)

How often is it said that defenders should stay with their man? What better candidate to keep the opposition's wingers in their pocket then than a wrestler whose hands-on approach could halt even the Gareth Bales of this world.

Lopez is a five-time world champion and a two-time and current Olympic champion in the sport.

The Cuban, who carried his nation's flag at Rio's opening ceremony, defends his title on Monday August 15. All of the wrestling competition takes place on the same day, from qualification through to the final, so Lopez's stamina must be pretty good too.

Central midfield:

Shannon Parry, 26, and Sharni Williams, 28, rugby sevens, Australia

Australia's women's rugby sevens acknowledge supporters after quarter final win
Australia have been dominant in rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics in Rio (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

A complete central midfielder should be able to pass, run with the ball, tackle and even grab the occasional goal.

In rugby sevens all of these traits are essential and at the moment Australia's women are smashing the competition, which is having its first appearance in the Olympics.

The Aussies were favourites going into the Olympic tournament, having already won the 2015/16 world series, and pulled through to win the gold in a tight 24-17 final against New Zealand.

In a true example of the success of teamwork the Australian side were unconventionally captained by two co-captains in Shannon Parry (above left) and Sharni Williams (above right).

Conventions are there to be broken and so are our rules for the diversity of this team. So, like a modern day Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, it's Australia's Parry and Williams who will pull the strings in midfield for the Rio team and there's nothing you can do about it.

Right midfield:

Usain Bolt, 29, sprinting, Jamaica

A young boy strikes a pose with Bolt's waxwork in Heathrow's Terminal 5
Usain Bolt is such a superstar a waxwork was installed of him in Heathrow's Terminal 5 for London 2012 (Steve Parsons/PA)

This one hardly needs explaining. On the wing, lots of pace is nice. Bolt's 30th birthday is on the same day as the closing ceremony (August 21) which is nice as well.

The fastest man ever over 100m and 200m, and in the 4x100m relay with his Jamaican team, Bolt would make a mockery of any left back trying to mark him.

The superstar starts the defence of his Olympic golds on Sunday with the 100m final, assuming he passes the early rounds, at 2.25am on Sunday morning and has said this will be his final Olympic games.

Left midfield:

Gregory Bauge, 31, cycling track, France

Bauge celebrates, arm raised, as he crosses the line against Sir Chris Hoy in 2010
Bauge is so fast, this is a picture of him actually managing to beat the great Sir Chris Hoy in a sprint at the 2010 World Cycling Championships (Alastair Grant/AP)

Pace is needed on the left too and there is no doubt sprinters reach a blistering pace in the Rio Olympic Velodrome.

Despite a dominant display by Britain at London 2012, it is actually France who hold the top spot historically in the cycling medal tables for both men and women.

Lately one of the most dominant sprinters is Gregory Bauge, a multiple and current world champion.

He will be out to make amends for being pipped to gold by Britain's Jason Kenny in the individual sprint and by the British team in the men's team sprint at London 2012.

He also looks a little bit like Frozone from The Incredibles in his leotard...


Simone Biles, 19, gymnastics, USA

Simone Biles does a backflip in the Rio Olympic Arena
A technical expert, Biles is clearly not afraid of trying the odd bicycle kick (Julio Cortez/AP)

Sometimes technique and agility are everything for a top forward.

While Brazil forward Neymar tries to pull his South American team through the Olympic football tournament, in the Olympic Arena it is the North American women who have been dominating the competition with their skill.

Team USA claimed all top three spots in qualification for the women's individuals gymnastics final, with Biles at the summit.

She also claimed first in qualification for the beam and vault and is clearly an all rounder capable of every trick and flick in the book.

Indeed, Andy.


Ki Bo-Bae, 28, archery, South Korea

South Korean women's archery team celebrate Rio gold
South Korea's women's archery team won their eighth Olympic gold in a row on Sunday (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Finally, strikers also need a keen eye for scoring and in South Korea the dominant women's archery team is rarely off target.

They won the team archery gold in Rio's Sambadrome, with their only dropped points occurring in the final set, and have won every instance of the event since its introduction in 1988.

Ki Bo-Bae, a key member of the Korean team, is current world and Olympic champion in the individual event. She will be looking to make history by becoming the first woman to retain the Olympic title this Thursday.

As well as a prolific finisher, Ki could become quite a style icon in the English top-flight with her plaid under-bucket hat.

Premier League verdict

They have pace, stamina, strength and skill in abundance. They have a dominant midfield pairing, a superstar on the wing and giants in defence. So where would the Rio all stars come in the Premier League?

Bottom of the table probably. They're against professional footballers in probably the toughest league in the world, what do you expect?

Okay, maybe they would nab a win at home to Burnley...

No offence, Burnley.