uefa.com users have been voting in huge numbers for the uefa.com users' Team of 2001. Voting continues until 30 December and this week the focus is mainly on midfielders. In this selection, you have the choice to make your team 4-3-3 and go for a player to sit just behind the front two, or pick a player to be your midfield inspiration in a 4-4-2 set-up. Read the profiles, view the video and have your say.
Rivaldo (FC Barcelona and Brazil)
One match stands out above all others for the 1999 FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001. Rivaldo’s hat-trick for FC Barcelona against Valencia CF, on the last day of the 2000/01 Primera División campaign, gave his side Spain’s final UEFA Champions League place at Valencia’s expense. He did it in style too, sealing a 3-2 win with a last-gasp overhead kick. He also helped Barcelona to the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 2000/01 after a failed Champions League campaign that still saw him score six goals in six games. For his country, the 29-year-old was on target in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Venezuela that secured their qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. That Barcelona have failed to find top form consistently this season is down in part to Rivaldo’s persistent groin injury. When the inspirational forward has played it has usually brought significant results, witness his role in the comprehensive 3-1 win at Liverpool FC in the Champions League last month.
Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF and France)
Another former FIFA World Player of the Year, in both 1998 and 2000, Zidane has naturally slotted in well among the superstar ranks of Real Madrid CF after his record-breaking €73m summer move from Juventus FC. Italy was sad to see him go, a fact underlined by his subsequent collection of Serie A’s player of the season award for 2000/01. The Champions League has yet to see the best of Zidane this season because suspension kept him out of the first four matches in the first group stage. It has been a relatively quiet year on the international front, not least because his efforts in helping France win the 1998 World Cup meant there were to be no qualification matches for next summer’s finals. The 29-year-old, who also inspired his country to EURO 2000™ glory, took time to settle in Madrid but the wait should prove worth it.
Alessandro del Piero (Juventus FC and Italy)
Italy’s inspiration has re-emerged as one of Serie A’s true stars. Del Piero has forged a fantastic partnership with Juventus FC team-mate David Trezeguet in this season’s Champions League and scored four goals in eight matches. The 27-year-old’s prowess in front of goal has extended to domestic action, with seven goals in 13 games. In 2000/01, he managed nine in 25. Del Piero helped Italy qualify comfortably for the World Cup finals next summer by winning six of their eight matches. He scored twice in a 2-0 home win over Georgia and hit another double in the 4-0 home victory over Lithuania. Then in the final qualifier, he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Hungary.
Francesco Totti (AS Roma and Italy)
Italy’s hugely successful World Cup qualifying campaign proved that Totti and Del Piero could play together in the same team. In many ways, Totti, 25, has replaced his illustrious counterpart as the darling of Italian football. After playing a part in Italy’s passage to the final of EURO 2000™, he set about transforming the fortunes of his hometown club AS Roma. With some telling displays - and 13 goals in 30 matches - Totti captained Roma to the Serie A title in 2000/01, their first since 1983. Deadly from free-kicks and open play, he scored three goals in five first group stage matches in this season’s UEFA Champions League and has helped Roma find their stride after a slow start to the defence of their domestic title.
Roberto Baggio (Brescia Calcio and Italy)
The third Italian in our final five, Baggio is enjoying such a renaissance in his career as to rival the achievements of his successors in the Nazionale, Del Piero and Totti. Baggio, at 34, is still one of the most influential players in Serie A. The ponytail remains, along with the promise of goals - he has scored seven in eight matches this season for Brescia Calcio, one of Italy’s more modest sides, after netting ten in 25 for them in 2000/01. Such is his form there is talk of Baggio being selected for the Italy squad for next summer’s World Cup although the competition for places is strong. He has put the agony of a decisive penalty shoot-out miss in the 1994 final behind him – when, with five goals, he was the star of the Italy side - and is eager to play a part in Korea/Japan next summer.
Many thanks for participating in the voting to find the uefa.com users' team of 2001. Voting has now closed, with the complete results to be announced on 3 January 2002.
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