Voting has opened for the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2011. The poll, in its 11th year, gives UEFA.com users the chance to pick a team of players who have lit up the European game over the last 12 months.
Voting will run until 12.00CET on Friday 6 January, before the final lineup is announced on Wednesday 18 January on UEFA.com and in the January edition of Champions, the official UEFA Champions League magazine.
A total of 55 players and five coaches have been nominated to fill 11 positions on the pitch and one in the dugout. The nominees were selected by UEFA.com staff writers based on their daily coverage of football across the length and breadth of Europe. The players were chosen for their performances for a European club or national team, or in a UEFA club competition, in 2011.
The UEFA.com Team of the Year is not intended to rival more established awards and does not bear the official UEFA imprimatur. However, it has proved hugely popular with fans since its inception, with five million votes cast last year alone.
UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona lead the way with eight nominated players along with coach Josep Guardiola. Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández could feature for the fourth successive year while Real Madrid CF duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas may make the cut for the fifth time running – Ronaldo also won a place in 2004.
The list contains several emerging talents too, including Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Götze, Jack Wilshere of Arsenal FC and FC Basel 1893 midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri.
Alongside Guardiola, the coaching contenders all guided their clubs to domestic championships – in Sir Alex Ferguson's case a record 19th in England as he celebrated 25 years at the Manchester United FC helm. Jürgen Klopp restored Dortmund to the German summit, Rudi Garcia oversaw LOSC Lille Métropole's first French double since 1946 and André Villas-Boas masterminded FC Porto's treble in his first season before moving to Chelsea FC.
Overall, 22 clubs are represented, with five English sides supplying nominees and four apiece from Spain and Italy.
UEFA will present a €100,000 cheque to the captain of the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year, which will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
UEFA began its partnership with the ICRC in 1997 when it started to back its anti-landmine campaign. This will be the fifth time the ICRC will benefit from the cheque offered by UEFA to herald the selection of the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year.
All monies donated have gone to the Score for the Red Cross initiative in support of the ICRC rehabilitation project for landmine victims in Afghanistan – providing them with artificial limbs, physiotherapy and vocational training. The first cheque was handed over to the ICRC by Cristiano Ronaldo, followed in subsequent years by Barcelona players Xavi, Messi and Carles Puyol.
Manuel Neuer (FC Schalke 04/FC Bayern München)
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United FC)
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF)
Víctor Valdés (FC Barcelona)
Joe Hart (Manchester City FC)
Daniel Alves (FC Barcelona)
Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
Christian Maggio (SSC Napoli)
Darijo Srna (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
Maxi Pereira (SL Benfica)
Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
Nemanja Vidić (Manchester United FC)
Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
Sergei Ignashevich (PFC CSKA Moskva)
Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04)
Javier Mascherano (FC Barcelona)
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City FC)
Rolando (FC Porto)
Adil Rami (LOSC Lille Métropole /Valencia CF)
Éric Abidal (FC Barcelona)
Fábio Coentrão (SL Benfica/Real Madrid CF)
Marcelo (Real Madrid CF)
Álvaro Pereira (FC Porto)
Ashley Cole (Chelsea FC)
Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel 1893)
Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München)
Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund)
Gervinho (LOSC Lille Métropole/Arsenal FC)
Nani (Manchester United FC)
Yaya Touré (Manchester City FC)
Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona)
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal FC)
João Moutinho (FC Porto)
Luka Modrić (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF)
David Silva (Manchester City FC)
Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli)
Wesley Sneijder (FC Internazionale Milano)
Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille Métropole)
Ángel Di María (Real Madrid CF)
Juan Mata (Valencia CF/Chelsea FC)
Ashley Young (Aston Villa FC/Manchester United FC)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Falcao (FC Porto/Club Atlético de Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
Hulk (FC Porto)
Javier Hernández (Manchester United FC)
Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC)
Sergio Agüero (Club Atlético de Madrid/Manchester City FC)
Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München)
Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli)
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio)
Josep Guardiola (FC Barcelona)
André Villas-Boas (FC Porto/Chelsea FC)
Jürgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund)
Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United FC)
Rudi Garcia (LOSC Lille Métropole)
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.