Detailed analysis: UEFA.com Team of the Year 2016
Thursday, January 5, 2017
The all-star selection includes four newcomers, a front line that needs no introduction and a record-breaking goalkeeper. UEFA.com has an in-depth look at your 2016 XI.
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Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
- At 38, Buffon is the oldest ever player to make the cut.
- Returns to the Team of the Year after a nine-year absence!
- Thirteen-year span between first and most recent selections is a record (Cristiano Ronaldo is on 12).
- In the all-star XI for a fourth time, surpassing Manuel Neuer (3). Iker Casillas, with six, holds the record for goalkeeper selections.
Defender: Jérôme Boateng (Bayern München & Germany)
- Selected for the first time after a third successive nomination.
- Previous Bayern defenders to have made the cut: Bixente Lizarazu, Patrik Andersson, David Alaba and Lahm.
Defender: Gerard Piqué (Barcelona & Spain)
- In the team for the fifth time, matching the tally of Phillip Lahm. Only Puyol and Ramos have more selections among defenders.
Defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain)
- Received more votes than any other player.
- In the team for the sixth time, equalling Carles Puyol's record for a defender.
- Fifth successive selection – no other defender has ever managed more than three in a row.
Defender: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus & Italy)
- Selected for the first time having missed out in 2010 and 2015.
- Only the third Juventus defender to make all-star team after Gianluca Zambrotta and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 (both ended that year in Spain).
Midfielder: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid & Croatia)
- First Croatian to make the Team of the Year.
- Previously nominated in 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Midfielder: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
- Returns to the team having had his first selection in 2014, the year he won the FIFA World Cup and joined Madrid from Bayern.
- Fifth year running at least one German makes the all-star side.
Midfielder: Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
- Selected for the sixth time, a record for his position. He surpasses Ronaldo – who made the first five of his appearances as a midfielder – and former club and international team-mate Xavi Hernández.
Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
- Makes the cut for the eighth time – only Ronaldo has more inclusions.
Forward: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid & France)
- First inclusion in the final XI having also been nominated in 2015.
- Third player – after Zlatan Ibrahimović and Neymar – to play up front alongside Ronaldo and Messi in our team.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
- Selected for a record 11th time, three more than any other player has managed.
- Tenth year running, five in midfield (2004 and 2007-2010), five in attack.
- Five players retain their place from 2015: Ramos, Piqué, Iniesta, Ronaldo and Messi.
- Real Madrid are the most represented club with four players; Barcelona hold the record with six in 2010 and 2009.
- The selection of Luka Modrić means there have now been 22 different nations represented.
- Boateng, Bonucci, Modrić and Griezmann take the all-time number of selected players to 78.
- Madrid have been represented in the XI for 11 years running.
- The Spanish Liga continues record of always having at least one player selected.
- Sergio Agüero has been nominated six times without ever making the final XI – a record.
Past teams and your thoughts
How does this year's team compare with the previous 15 selections? Check out our dedicated videos and share your thoughts using #TOTY.
Team of the Year 2015
Team of the Year 2014
Team of the Year 2013
Team of the Year 2012
Team of the Year 2011
Team of the Year 2010
Team of the Year 2009
Team of the Year 2008
Team of the Year 2007
Team of the Year 2006
Team of the Year 2005
Team of the Year 2004
Team of the Year 2003
Team of the Year 2002
Team of the Year 2001
Continuing its support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UEFA will – for an eighth time – set aside €100,000 for a player voted into the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year to present to the ICRC. Find out more about the Afghan players defeating landmines with football.
The 16th annual selection was picked from a shortlist of 40 chosen by UEFA.com staff writers. The UEFA.com Team of the Year is not intended to rival more established awards and does not bear the official UEFA imprimatur.