John Terry has been named as the 2009 UEFA Club Defender of the Year ahead of Nemanja Vidić and Gerard Piqué.
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John Terry (Chelsea FC)
The Chelsea captain shrugged aside the effects of his team's midwinter dip and ended the campaign on a high by holding aloft the FA Cup. A famously tough competitor with the bravery of the classic British centre-half, he helped his team finish the Premier League campaign with a defensive record bettered by nobody – and also showed his set-piece threat in the opposition penalty box by scoring late winning goals for England against both Germany in Berlin and Ukraine in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. "To get recognition at this high level for the first time was a huge achievement," Terry said of his award. "I came back for a second time last year and to win it a third time is fantastic. It's great to get the award from Paolo Maldini to; he's someone I watched growing up, someone I learned from."
Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
The 2008/09 season marked a happy homecoming for Gerard Piqué, his return to Barcelona from Manchester United FC bringing out the very best in the 22-year-old who morphed from Old Trafford bench-warmer to integral member of the Azulgrana defence. With Pique displaying impressive aerial ability and composure – not least in the UEFA Champions League semi-final at Chelsea – he helped Josep Guardiola's side overcome the loss of some key defenders. His reward came with a starting role in the final win over United at the Stadio Olimpico 12 months after he had not even made the bench for his old club's triumph in Moscow.
Nemanja Vidić (Manchester United FC)
The powerful Serbian did as much as any player to retain United's hold on the Premier League trophy, his partnership with Rio Ferdinand providing a redoubtable defensive barrier. He underlined his importance by ensuring Ferdinand's absence was not felt during the team's record run of 14 clean sheets in the domestic competition – when he was the only ever-present in United's back four. "A fantastic performer" was Sir Alex Ferguson's verdict on the hugely committed defender who was equally effective in Europe, where United conceded just six goals in 12 games en route to Rome.