French duo Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane have made it a glorious treble as they take their places in uefa.com users' Team of 2003.
With almost 1.5 million votes cast, the Arsenal FC striker and the Real Madrid CF midfield player have been voted into uefa.com users' Team of the Year for the third time in succession, and have now appeared in every one of our élite teams since the first poll in 2001.
Zidane was joined in the dream team by three other Madrid players. Roberto Carlos was voted the left-back of the year for the second season running, Luís Figo earned his first appearance and David Beckham - who was named in the Team of 2001 while at Manchester United FC - also made a welcome return to the XI.
Beckham's former United team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooij has made the team for the first time after being overlooked in the 2001 and 2002 polls. He links up in attack with Henry, his adversary from the Premiership.
The European Footballer of the Year, Pavel Nedved, makes it into the Team of the Year for the first time in emphatic style. The Juventus FC playmaker won a massive 65 per cent of the vote for his position to confirm that he was - for the ordinary fans as well as the experts - one of the greats of 2003.
Back in defence, AC Milan profited from their 2002/03 UEFA Champions League triumph with Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini being named as Europe's central defensive partnership of choice, with Juve's Gianluigi Buffon taking the goalkeeper's gloves behind them.
However, the man named as Europe's favourite right-back is more of a surprise. With FC Porto succeeding in magnificent style with a league, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2003, both right-back Paulo Ferreira and coach José Mourinho have made their way into the Team of 2003. Mourinho polled 60 per cent of the coaching vote to leave no doubt that uefa.com users' had shared in Porto's joy over the course of last year.
uefa.com users' Team of 2003:
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC), Paulo Ferreira (FC Porto) Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Paolo Maldini (AC Milan), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid CF), Luís Figo (Real Madrid CF), David Beckham (Real Madrid CF), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), Pavel Nedved (Juventus FC), Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC), Ruud van Nistelrooij (Manchester United FC). José Mourinho (FC Porto).
uefa.com users' Team of 2002:
Rüstu Reçber (Fenerbahçe SK), Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Cristian Chivu (AFC Ajax), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid CF), Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan), Michael Ballack (FC Bayern München), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), Damien Duff (Blackburn Rovers FC), Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC), Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF). Senol Günes (Turkey).
uefa.com users' Team of 2001:
Santiago Cañizares (Valencia CF), Cosmin Contra (Deportivo Alavés), Sami Hyypiä (Liverpool FC), Patrik Andersson (FC Barcelona), Bixente Lizarazu (FC Bayern München), David Beckham (Manchester United FC), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal FC), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), Kily González (Valencia CF), Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC), David Trezeguet (Juventus FC). Gérard Houllier.
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