The UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2011 has been announced.
Over 4.5 million votes were cast in selecting the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2011 and the end product is another XI packed predominantly with Spain-based talent.
UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2011:
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF & Spain)
Right-back: Daniel Alves (FC Barcelona)
Centre-back: Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona & Spain)
Centre-back: Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
Left-back: Marcelo (Real Madrid CF)
Right midfield: Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München & Netherlands)
Centre midfield: Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona & Spain)
Attacking midfield: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona & Spain)
Left midfield: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur FC & Wales)
Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF & Portugal).
Coach: Josep Guardiola (FC Barcelona)
Just as last year, eight Spanish Liga players feature in the Team of the Year and not surprisingly Barcelona, the reigning European champions, lead the way with five players, with another three coming from Real Madrid.
The Barcelona players in this dream team are defenders Alves and Piqué, midfielders Xavi and Iniesta, and forward Messi. As the player voted team captain by UEFA.com users, Xavi – who was also the man to receive most individual votes – will be the recipient of a €100,000 cheque from UEFA which he will donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Goalkeeper Casillas heads the Real Madrid contingent and, like club-mate Ronaldo, appears in the side for the fifth year running. Ronaldo, chosen alongside Messi as a forward in this fantasy XI, previously figured as a right midfielder in past editions and his six appearances overall is a total matched only by Carles Puyol, the Barcelona defender. By contrast, the third Madrid player picked, defender Marcelo, makes the cut for the first time.
The three remaining places are taken by three other first-timers from three different leagues: Milan centre-back Silva, Bayern wide man Robben – deployed in right midfield – and on the opposite flank, Tottenham's Bale. Bale is the first Spurs player to appear in a Team of the Year and the first Welshman. With his inclusion, Wales becomes the 19th country represented in the 11 years of the UEFA.com users' poll.
There were no surprises about the identity of the man elected to oversee this team of many talents, Barcelona coach Guardiola, who repeats his nomination of two years ago. He collected five trophies with the Azulgrana in 2011 and now has 13 from three and a half years at the Camp Nou helm.
UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2010:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF & Spain); Maicon (FC Internazionale Milano), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona & Spain), Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona & Spain), Ashley Cole (Chelsea FC & England); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF & Portugal), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona & Spain), Wesley Sneijder (FC Internazionale Milano & Netherlands), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona & Spain); Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), David Villa (Valencia CF/FC Barcelona & Spain). José Mourinho (FC Internazionale Milano/Real Madrid CF)
UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2009:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF & Spain); Daniel Alves (FC Barcelona), John Terry (Chelsea FC & England), Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona & Spain), Patrice Evra (Manchester United FC & France); Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC/Real Madrid CF & Portugal), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona & Spain), Kaká (AC Milan/Real Madrid CF), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona & Spain); Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Zlatan Ibrahimović (FC Internazionale Milano/FC Barcelona & Sweden). Josep Guardiola (FC Barcelona)
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