Ultimate Team of the Year: the all-time XI

With UEFA.com's 2016 Team of the Year now confirmed, we look back at those who have featured most over the 16 editions and create an all-time XI.

©UEFA.com

GOALKEEPER
Iker Casillas – 6 (2007, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Real Madrid/Porto & Spain
Spain's captain at UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012 also lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup – three of the six times he made it into Team of the Year. Gianluigi Buffon (who this year made it four selections) and Manuel Neuer (3) are his main rivals for the No1 shirt.

DEFENDERS
Carles Puyol – 6 (2002, 05, 06, 08, 09, 10)
Barcelona & Spain
Enjoyed a golden run from 2005 onwards, winning the UEFA Champions League with Barça in 2006, 2009 and 2011, as well as UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 World Cup as a cornerstone of his country's defence.

Philipp Lahm – 5 (2006, 08, 12, 13, 14)
Bayern München & Germany
One of Europe's most consistent performers of the past decade. Lahm's run of three successive Team of the Year appearances came to an end in 2015.

Sergio Ramos – My Magic Moment
Sergio Ramos – My Magic Moment

Sergio Ramos – 6 (2008, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
Real Madrid & Spain
Five selections in a row are a measure of the Real Madrid man's standing, the defender having earlier been rewarded for his role in helping Spain to UEFA EURO 2008 glory.

Gerard Piqué  – 5 (2010, 11, 12, 15, 16)
Barcelona & Spain
Nominated seven times in the last eight years – and selected on five of those occasions – Piqué continues to be a hugely consistent performer for club and country.

Xavi's Barcelona highlights
Xavi's Barcelona highlights

MIDFIELDERS
Xavi Hernández – 5 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Barcelona & Spain
A contender in 2005, it was not until his second involvement in 2008 that Xavi made the cut – then there was no dislodging him as unprecedented success with club and country kept him in the side for five years running.

Andrés Iniesta – 6 (2009, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16)
Barcelona & Spain
Like midfield partner Xavi, once he forced his way into the Team of the Year Iniesta proved impossible to remove until 2013, but returned in splendour in 2015 and kept his place the following year.

Watch Gerrard's European HIghlights
Watch Gerrard's European HIghlights

Steven Gerrard – 3 (2005, 06, 07)
Liverpool & England
One of five midfielders to have been selected three times. Seven nominations were key to taking the Liverpool talisman into the ultimate XI at the expense of Kaká (five nominations), Ronaldinho (four), Pavel Nedvěd (three) and Zinédine Zidane (three).

FORWARDS
Cristiano Ronaldo – 11 (2004, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
Manchester United/Real Madrid & Portugal
Nominated a record 13 times, the Portuguese phenomenon has been included in the Team of the Year no fewer than 11 occasions, three more than any other player. The 2016 team marked his tenth appearance in a row.

Messi’s seven UEFA Champions League hat-tricks
Messi’s seven UEFA Champions League hat-tricks

Lionel Messi – 8 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16)
Barcelona & Argentina
Like Ronaldo, Messi was initially categorised as a midfielder – collecting the first of 11 successive nominations in 2006 – and has missed out on the Team of the Year just once, in 2013, since his 2008 debut.

Thierry Henry – 5 (2001, 02, 03, 04, 06)
Arsenal & France
Nominated for the first six editions. Henry's consistency was such that he got into the final selection five times, including the first four – the only player to achieve that.