Today sees the start of voting for the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2002. It's time for you to have your say about the stars who made their mark over the last 12 months.
Sixty players and managers have been nominated for 12 positions, including coach, and the final team will be announced on 31 January. The nominees were chosen by uefa.com staff writers on the basis of their coverage of football throughout Europe on a daily basis. The players were selected for their overall performances either for a European club or national team, or in a UEFA club competition in 2002.
Three million votes
The uefa.com Team of the Year is not intended as a rival to more established awards, and does not bear the official UEFA imprimatur. Nevertheless, its initial impact was immediate last year, when some three million votes were cast for the uefa.com Team of the Year 2001. We're confident the massive growth in the number of uefa.com users will lead to an even higher turnout in voters this time around!
This year's nominees are in the frame for their prowess in the second half of the 2001/02 season, during last summer's FIFA World Cup, or in the opening months of the 2002/03 campaign. Only a few players maintained consistently good form throughout each period, so voters will have to decide whether a player's World Cup success compensates for poor domestic form, or vice versa.
Madrid head list
UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid CF head the list of nominees with eight players in the mix. AC Milan have six players nominated, including three of the ten nominations among the forwards. Spanish champions Valencia CF and last season's surprise European outfit from Germany, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, have five nominees each. We've no doubt the list of nominees will lead to plenty of heated debate across the continent.
Some players have been nominated in less familiar positions, and we're aware that some of you will feel aggrieved that your particular heroes have not made the short list of 60. Then again, we also feel sure that the final selection you make, plus the coach, will be a fair reflection of the names that made the news in 2002.
Last year's team
The uefa.com users' Team of 2001 was: Santiago Cañizares, Cosmin Contra, Sami Hyypiä, Patrick Andersson, Bixente Lizarazu, David Beckham, Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane, Kíly González, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet. Contra, Andersson, Lizarazu, Beckham, Kily González and Trezeguet have not been nominated this year.
Cast your votes now - we're looking forward to hearing from you. Simply click on the Team of the Year banner to access the extensive Team of the Year section.
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