Eighteen star players form a shortlist of nominees for the 2003 UEFA European Football Awards.
The list contains many of the great names in the modern-day game, who thrilled the crowds in last season's UEFA Champions League. The nominees include brilliant Italian goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC) and Francesco Toldo (Internazionale FC), defensive masters Paolo Maldini (AC Milan) and Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid CF), midfield maestros Pavel Nedved (Juventus FC) and Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), and lethal strikers Ruud van Nistelrooij (Manchester United FC) and the Real Madrid CF pair of Raúl González and Ronaldo.
UEFA's Football Awards have become a regular part of the football calendar at the start of each exciting UEFA club competition season. They reward ability, skill and fair play, and give football's millions of enthusiasts the chance to look back on memorable moments in European club football's blue-riband competition.
uefa.com users have had the possibility of helping elect the most prestigious awards - best goalkeeper, best defender, best midfielder, best forward and most valuable player - from a list of players who progressed beyond the group stages of last season's UEFA Champions League.
Members of UEFA's illustrious technical team - which includes top coaches like Marcello Lippi, Sir Alex Ferguson, Gérard Houllier, Giovanni Trapattoni and Rinus Michels - have made their choices, and the collective vote of uefa.com users has been used to create an additional voting form - which means uefa.com has had a seat at the technical team's table. The winners in each position will be announced at the Football Awards, and one of these players will also be named most valuable player.
Other winners will also be announced at the Football Awards ceremony, based on different criteria defined by UEFA. These include Coaches of the Year, the UEFA President's Lifetime achievement award, the ESM Golden Shoe and one uefa.com-only award - voted exclusively by users - for the Goal of the season.
The 2003 UEFA European Football Awards shortlist in full:
Best goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF), Francesco Toldo (Internazionale FC)
Best defender: Cristian Chivu (AFC Ajax), Paolo Maldini (AC Milan), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid CF), Lilian Thuram (Juventus FC)
Best midfielder: Edgar Davids (Juventus FC), Claude Makelele (Real Madrid CF), Pavel Nedved (Juventus FC), Paul Scholes (Manchester United FC), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF)
Best forward: Raúl González (Real Madrid CF), Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan), Ruud van Nistelrooij (Manchester United FC), Christian Vieri (Internazionale FC)