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Antonín Panenka: My team of 2012

Published: Monday 24 December 2012, 8.30CET
Including a defender who "fights for every ball like a bull" and a forward "impossible to stop", former Czechoslovakia midfielder Antonín Panenka selects his Team of 2012.
Antonín Panenka: My team of 2012
Antonín Panenka would love to be playing for his team of 2012 ©
Published: Monday 24 December 2012, 8.30CET

Antonín Panenka: My team of 2012

Including a defender who "fights for every ball like a bull" and a forward "impossible to stop", former Czechoslovakia midfielder Antonín Panenka selects his Team of 2012.

Forever remembered for his audacious penalty to win the 1976 UEFA European Championship for Czechoslovakia, Antonín Panenka is no stranger to sublime skill – and he has picked a lineup brimming with superlative talent for his users' Team of 2012.

The former Bohemians 1905 and SK Rapid Wien stalwart has selected a side dominated by Spanish-based players, four of whom ply their trade with Real Madrid CF. Above all, though, the 64-year-old wishes he could line up alongside his choices. "For me, it would be a pleasure to play with such excellent players, especially with the midfielders," Panenka told

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

Vote for your Team of the Year 2012

Goalkeeper: Petr Čech (Chelsea FC)
He has been in consistent form for many years in the Premier League and he has improved in terms of going for crosses. He is wonderful at predicting situations and the direction of shots. He is getting better and better with age.

Defender: Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
I have been following his consistent performances for a long time. He has been solid in every game and his great skill is his precise passing forward and support of the attack. That is why I give him my vote.

Defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF)
He is a footballer par excellence. He is tough, reads the play well, predicts situations and it is very difficult to get past him in one-on-one situations. He is also very good in the air, which is useful at set pieces.

Defender: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
He is a skilful Brazilian who is also good at set pieces. He possesses all the necessary technical skills and talent – a very reliable defender.

Defender: Pepe (Real Madrid CF)
An uncompromising, hard defender, who fights for every ball like a bull. He is also capable of getting into positions to contribute at the other end.

Midfielder: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
He is the brain of Barcelona and the Spanish national team, the director who dictates the flow of play. He is capable of slowing down or speeding up the play when necessary. He provides excellent passes to create chances for his team-mates.

Midfielder: Mesut Őzil (Real Madrid CF)
He is a very skilful, left-footed midfielder who can also defend. He is dangerous in wide spaces, has a very good final pass and is very good at supporting the attack.

Midfielder: Xavi Hernandéz (FC Barcelona)
He is a very intelligent player who is always in the right place to receive the ball. He is always looking for space and has excellent vision.

Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
He is an extraordinary player with great intelligence who is capable of choosing the right option, even at tremendous speed. Just like Diego Maradona, it is very hard to predict what he is going to do with the ball, which makes him impossible to stop. He is ahead of his time, a footballer from the future.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
He is a different type of footballer to Messi; he is taller and a great individual, has a great shot and is also capable of passing when the time is right. He always beats the defender when one-on-one.

Forward: Zlatan Ibrahimoviċ (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
He is a confident and positively cheeky player with all the necessary skills. He always evaluates the situation excellently and solves any problem very intelligently.

Antonín Panenka was speaking to Ondřej Zlámal

Last updated: 30/12/12 11.11CET

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