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Gaizka Mendieta: My team of 2012

Published: Monday 17 December 2012, 11.45CET
"These players are and will be historic figures in the world of football," explained Gaizka Mendieta as he justified his Spain-dominated selection for the UEFA.com users' Team of 2012.
Gaizka Mendieta: My team of 2012
Gaizka Mendieta enjoyed his most successful period while at Valencia ©Getty Images
 
Published: Monday 17 December 2012, 11.45CET

Gaizka Mendieta: My team of 2012

"These players are and will be historic figures in the world of football," explained Gaizka Mendieta as he justified his Spain-dominated selection for the UEFA.com users' Team of 2012.

Former Spain midfielder Gaizka Mendieta has not needed to look far beyond his home country for his UEFA.com users' Team of 2012 selection: his side includes eight Spanish players and nine that are at Spanish clubs.

"As you'll see, my choice is quite Spanish-based, one which reflects the good times which our game is going through, thanks to the quantity and quality of players our country is producing," said the 38-year-old, who spent the best seasons of his career with Valencia CF, S.S. Lazio and FC Barcelona before retiring following a spell in England with Middlesbrough FC. "These players are and will be historic figures in the world of football."

View Mendieta's choices below and submit your own selection before 12.00CET on Friday 4 January.

Vote for your Team of the Year 2012

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF)
He has a wealth of experience. He always does his job well and is there in the most important moments. He's a goalkeeper who can win you games with the saves he makes.

Defender: Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona)
Has a lot of pace on the wing and can play as a full-back or midfielder. He provided important back-up to the players ahead of him and can also be a presence in attack. Occasionally gets on the scoresheet.

Defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF)
I'd preferably have him as a central defender but he can play in any defensive position. Good with the ball at his feet, strong in the air, quick, strong and forceful.

Defender: Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
A great central defender who gives solidity and a big presence to his team; is always well positioned and is strong in the air.

Defender: Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
Can play on the right or the left and has even played in central defence, I think. He always performs to a very high standard. An experienced player who covers a lot of ground.

Midfielder: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
A magician in midfield who is capable of deciding games. Has great character and personality, and can change the rhythm and direction of a game with just one move.

Midfielder: Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona)
The organiser in the national team and with Barça. The whole game passes through him and it is he who sets the rhythm of matches. He can produce goals when approaching the area.

Midfielder: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid CF)
Has great distribution and can strike the ball excellently, as well with his wonderful passes as when he goes in search of goals, or from set pieces. Has class and is selfless in midfield.

Midfielder: Juan Mata (Chelsea FC)
A player with great vision. Links up well with attackers and midfielders alike, and is always looking for space between lines and to give that killer pass. Is also always willing to receive passes and can perform individual moves while scoring goals. He is the present and future of the Spanish national team.

Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
What can you say about this player that hasn't already been said? He is a record-breaker and a player who makes the difference by making the impossible look easy.

Forward: Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid)
The goalscorer par excellence. He feels most comfortable in opposing areas and every ball that comes his way in the box represents a danger. In an era when it seems normal to play without a conventional No9, Falcao restates the case for a position under threat with plenty of goals.

Gaizka Mendieta was speaking to Delfín Ramírez

Last updated: 19/12/12 12.24CET

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