With numerous league titles under his belt from his time coaching FC Lokomotiv Moskva and FC Dynamo Kyiv, as well as UEFA Champions League experience with both clubs, Yuri Semin knows a good player when he sees one. The former Russian national team boss picks his XI of 2012, selecting three FC Barcelona players, and two each from FC Bayern München, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Real Madrid CF.
View Semin's choices below and submit your own selection before 12.00CET on Friday 4 January.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München)
Outstanding physically, great in the air, and very reliable. It is no accident he is Germany's first-choice goalkeeper.
Right-back: Branislav Ivanović (Chelsea FC)
I would really love to put Shakhtar's Darijo Srna on the right, but since he is not on the shortlist I will go for Ivanović. I know him well from my spell with Lokomotiv. He is a gifted and physically strong player who is also pretty prolific going forward.
Central defender: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
A very tactically astute player who had already proved his worth at AC Milan.
Central defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF)
A very experienced player who is also good in the air. He made a huge contribution to Spain's defence of their UEFA EURO 2012 title.
Left-back: Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
The captain of a great Bayern side. Possesses exceptional technical skill, yet is very versatile and can operate on either flank.
Right midfielder: Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona)
Needs no comment. He dictates play for his side, he is the master of sharp passing, and he controls many other crucial aspects on the pitch.
Central midfielder: Yaya Touré (Manchester City FC)
A very clever player, ready both to defend and attack. He always shows stability, especially in the most crucial matches.
Left midfielder: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
It is a pity I cannot choose Shakhtar's Willian who enjoyed a brilliant season, so I go for Iniesta instead. A versatile player who is very effective in any tactical system, both in the middle of the park and in the final third.
Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
What I can say? He is the best in the world. A man who scores almost 100 goals in a year must have exceptional ability.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
Outstanding pace, dribbling and shooting. Just like Messi, he is a flawless player.
Forward: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
For many years he has been among the top European strikers. He pressures defences in the centre and scores a lot, particularly from crosses.
Yuri Semin was speaking to Dmitri Rogovitski
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