Just five clubs were represented in the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2005: UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool FC, runners-up AC Milan and the titleholders in Italy, Spain and England.
Two of five newcomers to the XI hailed from the Liverpool side that memorably came from 3-0 down to beat Milan on penalties in the UEFA Champions League in Istanbul that May. Talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard pipped his England colleague Frank Lampard in a very competitive central midfield poll while Luis García, scorer of five goals in the knockout stages of European football's elite club competition, was chosen at right midfield.
Beaten finalists Milan had three players in the selection – evergreen full-backs Cafu and Paolo Maldini and striker Andriy Shevchenko – likewise Spanish champions FC Barcelona. Ronaldinho, the FIFA World Player of the Year and winner of the Ballon d'Or, polled 72% of the vote in the attacking midfielder category. He was joined by club colleagues Carles Puyol, returning to the team at centre-half having been right-back in 2002, and striker Samuel Eto'o.
Ronaldinho, Cafu and Shevchenko all retained their places in the all-star XI, as did Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedvěd and José Mourinho, named coach for the third successive year. Mourinho's Chelsea FC side had gained consolation for defeat by Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals by claiming their first English championship in 50 years. The feat was recognised among the 1.5 million votes from UEFA.com users, with John Terry the runaway poll topper in the centre-back category and Petr Čech named best goalkeeper.
However, the 2005 vintage was as remarkable for who was left out as who made it in: for the first time since the awards' inception in 2001 there was no place for Thierry Henry. The Arsenal FC striker missed out by 1,000 votes, or less than 0.4% of the poll in the forward category. In Eto'o, scorer of 33 goals for Barcelona in 2005, he had a worthy replacement.
UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2005
GK: Petr Čech (Chelsea FC & Czech Republic)
RB: Cafu (AC Milan & Brazil)
CB: John Terry (Chelsea FC & England)
CB: Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona & Spain)
LB: Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
RM: Luis García (Liverpool FC & Spain)
CM: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC & England)
AM: Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona & Brazil)
LM: Pavel Nedvěd (Juventus & Czech Republic)
FW: Samuel Eto'o (FC Barcelona & Cameroon)
FW: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan & Ukraine)
Coach: José Mourinho (Chelsea FC)
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