UEFA will be hosting the 2016 team of the year vote from Monday, 21 November but before that takes place, the football body shared their all-time XI based on team of the year nominations.
The XI selected features a range of stars from various clubs and countries but the one riding factor was the domination of players from the big two from Spain. Real Madrid and Barcelona have won the Champions League in the last three seasons and seem set for more glory in the competition this time around.
The formation chosen is a 4-3-3 and starting from the back, the goalkeeper selected in this all-time XI is former Real Madrid star Iker Casillas. The Spaniard might be playing with FC Porto at the moment but his greatest performances were with the La Liga side as he lifted the Champions League crown thrice.
The defence screening Casillas features the legendary Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich as the left-back. The German is considered to be one of the best defenders in the modern era and won the tournament in 2012-13. Former Barcelona star Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique make up the centre-back pairing while Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid stars as the right-back for the side.
The midfield possesses a lot of guile and creativity with Barcelona legend Xavi pulling the strings in the centre of the park. The Spaniard is playing for Qatari side Al Saad but he picked up four Champions League medals during his time with the La Liga side.
His former teammate Andres Iniesta also featured on the left for the side. The 32-year-old has also picked up four Champions League crowns and will be looking to add a fifth this season. Former Liverpool star Steven Gerrard made the cut in midfield, we all remember that incredible 2005 Champions League final.
A star-studded team with an incredible attack
It certainly was tough going to make the team but there will be few doubters for the attack that was chosen. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo feature in the side and they are joined by former Arsenal and Barcelona striker Thierry Henry.
The French attacker picked up his only Champions League crown with Barcelona in 2008-09 but he also took Arsenal to the final in 2006 which they lost to the Catalan side. Messi too, like his Barcelona counterparts, has picked up four titles while long-time rival Ronaldo has won the tournament once with Manchester United and twice with current side Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona look good for another long run in the competition and it would not be a surprise if one of those clubs celebrates in the final. Madrid will be looking to make it three titles in the past four years but Barcelona and Bayern will have something to say about that.
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