After 3.75 million votes were cast by 277,985 users, the www.uefa.com Team of the Year 2007 has been revealed last week.
After much thinking and a lot of videotape viewing (mostly Champions League matches probably), the UEFA writers have come up with 60 nominations, which were then submitted to the general public of the uefa.com website. Users were asked to select eleven players and one coach to make up the Finest team of 2007.
Now, unlike awards such as L'Ã‰quipe's All-Star Best XI of 2007 (voted by journalists) this award was made by popular vote, so even if you don't agree with the selections (and I'm sure none of you will 100% ) know that this team was chosen democratically. Nevertheless, feel free to give your 2 cents and fire away your insults.
Uefa.com â€œTeam of the Yearâ€ concept
The first uefa.com users' Team of the Year poll was launched on 12 December 2001. The criteria for Team of the Year concept was straightforward and presented in simple terms: â€œNaturally, there were many fine individual displays too [in 2001], and rather than impose our own â€œexpertâ€ selections of the top players of the year, uefa.com is asking the real experts, the site's users, to vote for their Team of 2001.â€
The users responded with a cumulative poll of over 3 million votes before the first uefa.com â€œTeam of the Yearâ€ was announced on 3 January 2002. Since then the concept has been the same: uefa.com writers have come up with 60 nominations and the uefa.com users have selected the eleven players and one coach to make up the final selection. The first such selection reflected was not dominated by any one club, with UEFA Champions League finalists Bayern Munich and Valencia both having two players chosen, while UEFA Cup winners Liverpool had one player and one coach in the dream dozen.
In total 47 individuals have been selected on the 6 uefa.com users' Team of the Years. By far the most successful player has been French forward Thierry Henry. He was selected on the first four teams, missed out by a mere 1,000 votes on the Team of 2005 before garnering his 5th selection in the 2006 team. ZinÃ©dine Zidane was selected in the first 3 teams, while Pavel NedvÃ¬d, Alessandro Nesta, Gianluigi Buffon, Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho and JosÃ© Mourinho have also all appeared in 3 selections
GOALKEEPER, IKER CASILLAS , REAL MADRID
Often nominated but not selected till now, Iker Casillas has been one of Europe's best keepers. Only 26, he has 73 Spain caps and has appeared 84 times for Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. He was in stellar form in 2007, playing a key role as Los Merengues regained the Spanish title. He finished more than 10,000 votes ahead of Petr Ãˆech, with whom he shares a birthday, polling more than 90,000 votes.
DANIEL ALVES, RIGHT-BACK, FC SEVILLA
After just missing out on the 2006 team, archetypal attacking full-back Daniel Alves edged out the more defensive-minded Sergio Ramos in this year's lineup. Alves is to the right flank what compatriot Roberto Carlos is to the left. Always looking to attack without shunning defensive duties, Alves was a central figure in Sevilla's second successive UEFA Cup triumph and also scored in Brazil's Copa AmÃ©rica final victory.
ALESSANDRO NESTA, CENTRAL DEFENDER, AC MILAN
After sitting out Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup triumph, Alessandro Nesta may have had a point to prove on his return and he did so with an excellent display for AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League final. He then helped the Rossoneri triumph in the Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Championship, where he scored a vital deciding goal.
JOHN TERRY, CHELSEA, CENTRAL DEFENDER
John Terry topped the poll for central defender despite the fact he missed a lot of the year through injury. However, when he was playing, the England national football team captain showed enough to confirm his status as one of the best stoppers around. He scored the first international goal at the new Wembley stadium in June and also led Chelsea to FA Cup and English League Cup glory as well as to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the third time running in four seasons.
ERIC ABIDAL, FC BARCELONA, LEFT-BACK
The France defender pipped last year's winner Philipp Lahm by less than one per cent of the vote. Yet there is no doubt that Eric Abidal is one of the finest full-backs around in the world currently. He started the year with Olympique Lyon and his partnership with Florent Malouda was one of the strongest left sides in the 'beautiful game' as he claim a third straight French Ligue 1 crown. He has since impressed tremendously with FC Barcelona and is France's undisputed No1 at left-back.
CRISTIANO RONALDO, MANCHESTER UNITED, RIGHT-WINGER
Undoubtedly the finest winger in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo was in stunning form in 2006/07 season. He scored 23 goals for Manchester United in all competitions as they regained their Barclays English Premier League title and reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. In addition, he netted five times as Portugal qualified for UEFA EURO 2008â„¢. He was chosen as Footballer of the Year by both journalists and his fellow professionals in England and was also voted Portuguese Player of the Year.
STEVEN GERRARD, LIVERPOOL, CENTRAL MIDFIELDER
The Liverpool talismanic club skipper may have lost out to AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League final, but Steven Gerrard finished well ahead of second-placed Andrea Pirlo in the voting in this category. He also received more votes as captain than any other player, over 40,000. He led Liverpool to a second final in three years and late in 2007 scored in seven successive matches, including the last three UEFA Champions League fixtures as Liverpool made the last 16.
RICARDO KAKA, AC MILAN, ATTACKING MIDFIELDER
With 220,333 votes, Ricardo KakÃ¡ topped the poll overall after an exceptionally brilliant year which underlined his status as the best player in the world. Top scorer with ten goals as AC Milan won the UEFA Champions League, the magnificent Brazilian wizard also lifted the Intercontinental Cup â€“ scoring the match-winning goal in the final â€“ and was picked as best player when AC Milan claimed the FIFA Club World Championship.
CLARENCE SEEDORF, AC MILAN, LEFT-WINGER
The most successful player ever in UEFA Champions League history shone once again in year 2007 with his fourth final victory. He finished more than 6,000 votes ahead of Ricardo Quaresma to be selected for a second time, five years after his previous inclusion. His campaign was highlighted by crucial strikes against both Bayern Munich and Manchester United in the quarter and semi-finals en route to another European success, and also by his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance against Glasgow Celtic in December.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, INTER MILAN, FORWARD
In the last 12 months, the mercurial Swedish international prolific hitman has added the match consistency to the great technical ability and self-confidence he has always possessed. He was leading marksman for Inter Milan as they secured the 2006/07 Scudetto and he continued in that rich vein of form in the final months of the year, finishing as top scorer in the UEFA Champions League with five goals from six games.
DIDIER DROGBA, CHELSEA, FORWARD
Belated recognition for the Ivory Coast top striker after he played such a crucial part in Chelsea's Barclays English Premier League title triumph of 2006. He top-scored in the English championship in 2006/07 with 21 goals, netted twice in Chelsea's 2-1 League Cup final victory over Arsenal, and forced in the winner in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley in extra time against Manchester United. He also hit four goals in four outings as Chelsea advanced to the last 16 of the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League. He finished with 34 goals in all competitions for that season.
SIR ALEX FERGUSON, MANCHESTER UNITED, HEAD COACH
The Scottish general team manager who led Manchester United to UEFA Champions League glory in 1999 gets a long overdue award after guiding the Red Devils to the ninth title of his remarkable two-decade reign at Old Trafford. He has built arguably his third great United side and after contesting the semi-finals in 2007, he will be hopeful of another UEFA Champions League triumph in 2008.
* I had actually posted 14 images in this thread, but they said I only could post 4 images! What a waste of my effort.