Voting has begun for the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2013, with some less familiar names joining stalwarts Cristiano Ronaldo, Philipp Lahm and Lionel Messi in the annual poll.
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Voting is open for the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2013 poll, with 13 first-time nominees vying for selection with stalwarts including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Philipp Lahm.
In all, 40 players have been nominated for the 13th edition of the annual vote, with users asked to pick their team in their preferred formation from four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 12 midfielders and 12 forwards. The nominees were chosen by UEFA.com staff writers on the basis of their performances for a European club or national side in 2013.
Continuing its support for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UEFA will for a seventh time set aside €100,000 for a player voted into the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year to present to the ICRC. Ronaldo handed over the 2012 cheque in recognition of being voted into the team for a record seventh time, and is now nominated for a tenth time with the possibility of figuring in the final XI for the seventh year running.
In contrast, many others are hoping to reach the selection at their first attempt, including Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luís and Diego Costa from Club Atlético de Madrid, a side who have never previously supplied a Team of the Year member.
UEFA Champions League winners FC Bayern München provide nine nominees including Lahm – in contention to make the team for the fourth time in nine attempts and among eight Germans on the shortlist – and first-timers David Alaba, Dante and Mario Mandžukić.
A total of 14 clubs appear on the shortlist from six different leagues, with 20 nationalities represented. Along with Atlético, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City FC, Borussia Dortmund, SL Benfica and AS Monaco FC could have players in the XI for the first time, as could the national teams of Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Croatia, Poland, Serbia and Uruguay. In all, 12 of the 40 nominees have featured in a Team of the Year before.
Voting runs until 13.00CET on Thursday 9 January, with the final lineup to be announced on Wednesday 15 January on UEFA.com, and in the January edition of Champions Matchday, the official UEFA Champions League magazine.
The UEFA.com users' 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 5.3 million votes cast last year alone.
For full details of the nominees and to place your vote, visit our dedicated UEFA.com users' Team of the Year section.