Team of the Year
The Ballon D’Or ceremony may not be set to take place in its typical form in 2020, but the UEFA Team of the Year will be coming back, and voting is already underway. Additionally, UEFA have revealed their ‘most selected’ TOTY, which features both surprise inclusions and omissions.
Here is the team:
Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas
Spain and Real Madrid icon, goalkeeper Casillas was selected on 6 occasions, beating Gianluigi Buffon by a single win. Having racked up a host of trophies at both club and international level, Casillas is considered by most to be one of the greatest keepers of all-time – with his frequent TOTY selections only further proof.
Defender – Sergio Ramos
Easily earning his place amongst the best, the divisive character has the third most selections of the whole team, with 8. Los Blancos’ captain has lifted countless trophies, and often taken on the match-winning mantle at the capital club since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure.
Defender – Carles Puyol
The ex-Barcelona defender and captain represents the power a smaller player can have in such a deep role. Selected on 6 occasions for the Team of the Year, only Ramos. amongst stoppers, has been chosen more times.
Defender – Gerard Pique
Puyol’s partner throughout Barca’s dominance under both Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola, Pique added the aerial height and pace which Puyol didn’t quite possess, proving the perfect partner, and was therefore rightly selected on 5 occasions.
Defender – Philipp Lahm
The German defender proved one of, if not the most consistent player of a generation for Bayern Munich and his nation. Lifting a World Cup with Germany in 2014, Lahm made the TOTY on 3 successive occasions, adding to two prior appearances. Dani Alves also matched Lahm and Pique on 5, but garnered 3 less nominations than the German, and 2 less than the Spaniard. Brazilian colleague Marcelo was only selected 3 times.
Midfielder – Steven Gerrard
The Liverpool legend was chosen for the TOTY on 3 occasions, level with a plethora of other players – Luka Modric, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Toni Kroos, Pavel Nedved and Zinedine Zidane. However, his 7 nominations outdo all others mentioned, with the former England international and current Rangers boss a worthy inclusion.
Midfielder – Xavi Hernandez
The Spain and Barcelona midfield talisman was selected on 5 occasions for the TOTY, and quite rightly. Xavi embodied the Tiki-Taka style for which his beloved Barca became so admired, and was the anchor and orchestrator from the middle of the park. An unrivalled passer and consistent figure for both club and country.
Midfielder – Andres Iniesta
A heated debate could be had regarding who was the better midfielder between Xavi and Iniesta, but, if based on TOTY selections alone, the diminutive dribbler is the king. Chosen on 6 occasions, no other midfielder can yet match the Iniesta, who has actually yet to hang up his boots. He is of course remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final for Spain, handing La Roja their first-ever world champion status.
Forward – Thierry Henry
The Arsenal icon makes the list as one of its earliest members. Starting in 2001, Henry was chosen for the TOTY on 5 of the first 6 selections, with only two very famous names opted for more frequently. Henry remains both France and Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer, and won the Champions League under Pep Guardiola at Barca.
Forward – Lionel Messi
Some would argue that he is the greatest player of all-time, yet despite a staggering 11 selections for the TOTY, he is not the team’s most chosen member. The Argentine has led Barcelona to countless titles under several coaches, but will be remembered most fondly for his time in Pep Guardiola’s dominant side which won a European treble. This was not his only treble, however, as Messi bagged another under Luis Enrique.
Forward – Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese talisman and national treasure has been chosen for the TOTY on 14 of the 19 opportunities. He has of course clinched the Champions League with both Manchester United and Real Madrid, in addition to league titles with Juventus in Italy. Ronaldo has won a European Championship with Portugal, and despite being 35 years-of-age, does not look like slowing down any time soon.
Make sure to place your vote for this year’s team, with both Ronaldo and Messi still in the running for a 2020 berth.
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This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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|Phillips, Kalvin||Leeds United||0||5|
|Cash, Matty||Aston Villa FC||0||5|
|Evans, Jonny||Leicester City FC||0||5|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||4|
|Kante, N`Golo||Chelsea FC||0||5|
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|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||0||4|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||0||4|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||0||4|
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|Digne, Lucas||Everton FC||5|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||4|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||4|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||4|
|Adams, Che||Southampton FC||4|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||4|
|Chilwell, Benjamin||Chelsea FC||4|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||4|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||4|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||3|
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|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||3|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||3|