Five members of Spain's UEFA EURO 2012-winning squad are represented in the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year for 2012, with 5.3 million votes cast in this year's poll. Here the final XI – in users' favoured 4-4-2 formation – tell UEFA.com about their successes in 2012.
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF)
In these last few years we've become European and world champions, and now people demand that from us again. But people should not forget that it's not that easy. There are other national teams that are changing and developing their squads as well, which is also a factor. Fortunately, though, I think we still have what it takes for a long time yet.
Defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF)
We are aware of what is at stake. And if you impress individually, it is because of the collective work. And, in this regard, we are happy with all the defensive line in general. Not only myself and Piqué, but also the full-backs and the work done by every team-mate who gives everything on the pitch.
Defender: Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
There are many things behind the scenes that people don't see. People only see the final product that happens in the stadium, but behind that there is a lot of work, a lot of suffering and sacrifice. There's a lot of desire to win, and in the end there is a final result that people can see. But behind that, a lot of work.
Defender: Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
I know that I can play at the top level on either flank. I have always shown that I can switch sides for a game, whether it's with Bayern or the national team. I have proven that I can switch from right to left for a game and vice versa. But in the end it's the coach's decision.
Defender: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
I always try to do the simplest thing possible and bring security to my team, because there's no point in a central defender going forward and wanting to score goals, that isn't my job – my job is to defend. I hope that as the year goes on I can maintain my form and the same consistency as ever, so I can continue to receive such praise.
Midfielder: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
I'm very happy and proud to have won that treble. Two EUROs and a World Cup has never been done before – it's something historic. Nowadays, in football, it’s very difficult to go all the way until the end, so we'll give our very best to reach another final.
Midfielder: Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona)
I'm very proud. It's an honour for me to be voted in this team of great players at both European and world level. I just want to keep doing my very best so I can keep winning and achieving big things with my club and national team. I am going through a great time in this world of football and I want it to continue.
Midfielder: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Well, you need to know a bit of everything. You need to know how to defend, how to attack, how to direct the game, win the ball and score goals – a bit of everything. I just try to give my best in training to be fit for the matches. The older you get it becomes more and more important to train well and focus on every single detail, just to stay in your best form as long as possible.
Midfielder: Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF)
I live in Madrid, the team supports me a lot, the coach has confidence in me, so I can express my full potential on the pitch. For the national team I also have the confidence of the coach and the team is there for me – I enjoy it a lot and am very proud to play for Germany.
Forward: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Every year I try to develop further and become a better player. I had the good fortune to score many goals but, like I always say, it's not my objective to increase the number of goals every year. My real objective is to win more trophies and that's what I intend to do.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
I will always have responsibility, but not much pressure. We can always improve in every department. I won't single out one area, because I think the most important thing is to always do well and work more and more.
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