In October, Marcello Lippi added another piece of silverware to his vast collection after leading Guangzhou Evergrande FC to the Chinese Super League title in his first season at the helm. In his team of the year, however, there are three players who assisted him in achieving probably his greatest career success.
Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Andrea Pirlo were members of the Italy squad coached by Lippi to 2006 FIFA World Cup glory and they all make the 64-year-old's lineup alongside Claudio Marchisio, another Azzurri man who reached the UEFA EURO 2012 final. The quartet also helped Juventus, Lippi's former side, lift the Scudetto undefeated. His 4-3-3 formation features two defenders from UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC and a sprinkling of Spanish Liga-based attackers.
View Lippi's choices below and submit your own selection before 12.00CET on Friday 4 January.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
This year he has returned to be the undisputed No1 goalkeeper in the world.
Right-back: Branislav Ivanović (Chelsea FC)
He has strength, experience and determination. He is a central defender who can play as a full-back, offering his side good defending and a good threat down his flank.
Central defender: Thiago Silva Paris (Saint-Germain FC)
He is simply the best centre-half in the world.
Central defender: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
He is once again showing himself to be a very important and top-quality centre-back, as in the great days of the 2006 World Cup.
Left-back: Ashley Cole (Chelsea FC)
He found his consistency again and last season became a European champion with Chelsea. He is a very important player in both defence and attack.
Right midfielder: Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona)
Alongside Pirlo, he is the world's finest creator. The presence of one does not exclude the other – they could play together. It would be simply impossible to leave out one of the two.
Central midfielder: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
There is no player in Europe who better plays the role of playmaker. He is a reference for the team, he dictates and creates the game around him.
Left midfielder: Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
The strongest young midfielder in Europe. The timing of his runs and the way he finds space are great – with or without the ball – and he often manages to shoot and score goals. He is a complete player. Very similar to Steven Gerrard.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
Alongside Falcao and Lionel Messi, he would form an amazing attack in terms of charm, creativity and genius.
Forward: Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid)
This year he has proved to be the most prolific and strongest out-and-out striker. He is dynamite.
Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Creativity, genius and ruthlessness in front of goal. I think all the superlatives to describe his qualities have been used.
Marcelo Lippi was speaking to Alessandro Massimo
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