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Ultimate football team of the year according to UEFA

With UEFA.com‘s 2017 Team of the Year set to launch next week, we take a look back at those who have featured most over the 16 editions in order to create an all-time XI in the history of the sport. Ultimate team, best player, UEFA

 

Ultimate team, best player, UEFA

 

GOALKEEPER

Iker Casillas – 6 (2007, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)

Real Madrid/Porto & Spain

Spain’s captain at UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012 also lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup – 3 of the 6 times he made it into Team of the Year. Gianluigi Buffon (4 selections) and Manuel Neuer (3) are his main rivals for the No1 shirt.

 

DEFENDERS Ultimate team, best player, UEFA

Carles Puyol – 6 (2002, 05, 06, 08, 09, 10)

Barcelona & Spain

Enjoyed a golden run from 2005 onwards, winning the UEFA Champions League with Barça in 2006, 2009 and 2011, as well as UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 World Cup as a cornerstone of his country’s defence.

 

Philipp Lahm – 5 (2006, 08, 12, 13, 14)

Bayern München & Germany

One of Europe’s most consistent performers of the past decade. Lahm’s sequence of 3 successive Team of the Year appearances ended in 2015.

 

Sergio Ramos – 6 (2008, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Real Madrid & Spain

5 selections in a row are a measure of the Madrid man’s standing, the defender having earlier been rewarded for his role in helping Spain to UEFA EURO 2008 glory. Will he make it 6 on the bounce this year?

 

Gerard Piqué – 5 (2010, 11, 12, 15, 16)

Barcelona & Spain Ultimate team, best player, UEFA

Nominated 7 times in the last 8 years – and picked on 5 of those occasions – Piqué continues to be a hugely consistent performer for club and country.

 

MIDFIELDERS

Xavi Hernández – 5 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12)

Barcelona & Spain

Though a contender in 2005, it was not until his 2nd  involvement in 2008 that Xavi made the cut – then there was no dislodging him as unprecedented success with club and country kept him in the side 5 years running.

 

Andrés Iniesta – 6 (2009, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16)

Barcelona & Spain

Like midfield partner Xavi, once he forced his way into Team of the Year Iniesta proved impossible to displace until 2013; he also returned in splendor in 2015 and kept his spot last year.

 

Steven Gerrard – 3 (2005, 06, 07)

Liverpool & England

One of five midfielders selected 3 times. However, 7 nominations were key to taking Liverpool’s talisman into the ultimate XI at the expense of Kaká (5 nominations), Ronaldinho (4), Pavel Nedvěd (3) and Zinédine Zidane (3).

 

FORWARDS

Cristiano Ronaldo – 11 (2004, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Manchester United/Real Madrid & Portugal

Nominated a record 13 times, the Portuguese phenomenon has been included in the Team of the Year on no fewer than 11 occasions, 3 more than any other player has. The 2016 team marked his 10th  appearance on the spin.

 

Lionel Messi – 8 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16)

Barcelona & Argentina

Like Ronaldo, Messi was initially categorized as a midfielder – collecting the first of 11 consecutive nominations in 2006 – and has missed the Team of the Year cut just once, in 2013, since his 2008 debut.

 

Thierry Henry – 5 (2001, 02, 03, 04, 06)

Arsenal & France

A candidate in the first 6 editions of the vote. Henry’s consistency was such that he got into the final selection 5 times, including the first four – the only player to achieve that.

 

Source: UEFA