European team of the year 2012
Goalkeepers usually assume the responsibility to organize his defence but for someone like Iker Casillas it comes naturally. The Real Madrid and Spain captain was at the helm of a successful year as his club finally got their hands on the La Liga trophy while his national side made history with consecutive European Championship victories. His goalkeeping abilities have been second to none and this has been the case for some years now. He is aura reflects unrivalled authority and it takes a lot of efforts out of his opposition to get the ball past this talisman.
Philipp Lahm enjoyed another stellar period with the Bavarians and his national side at the Euros. His consistency as a full back is astounding as he keeps on getting better with the age.
Vincent Kompany had has had an indomitable period in the top tier of the English league where his reliant stature does half the work for City at the back. Giorgio Chiellini was another rock solid presence at the back for the invincible from Turin and his Italian national side which reached the finals of the European Championship. The Italian is a perfect mix of an effervescent technique and an enduring physique which makes him one heck of a central defender.
Leighton Baines has had an extraordinary year as the left-back of the Everton side. The English full back has been highly efficient with his well measured crosses on his frequent forward runs as well as with his defensive duties. His performances could change the course of the game as his better days has almost guaranteed in Everton collecting points in the past one year.
Choosing only three midfielders out of the host of options was always going to be a tough task. Yet there wasn’t much to ponder in picking Andrea Pirlo and Andres Iniesta in the side. While the Italian has been the heartbeat of the record-breaking Juventus and the resurgent national side, Iniesta’s crafty performances would leave you speechless at times in the past year. Pirlo’s ability to hold up the play and the knack of dictating terms to the opposition probably has no replacement in the current footballing world. It’s the luxury that Juventus used to full-effect in their memorable Serie A run.
The third choice was a close call between Mario Gotze and Yaya Toure which the latter won due to his sheer impact on the English game. His rampaging forward runs and the stability he provided in the midfield engine was crucial in Manchester City’s first league win in 44 years.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao – you just can’t go past these three names while picking the right forwards even if you want to. These menacing attackers from the Spanish league have been nothing short of a nightmare for the opposition defenders and never mind the records as they prefer to break them every other weekend. While the Argentine had his most prolific calendar year in terms of goals scoring, the Portuguese went on to play his best football to lead his team to a La Liga title and surging his national side up to the semi-finals of the Euros. The Columbian, on the other hand, wasn’t way too behind in the comparison as he racked up the highest number of goals in his side’s victorious Europa League campaign. All three picked up their dazzling scoring rate again in August where they left it last season as their respective clubs would believe in winning more silverware on the back of their menacing talisman.
Substitutes: Gianluigi Buffon, Mats Hummels, Blaise Matuidi, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie.