UEFA has named an All time XI consisting of players who have featured in the UEFA Team of the Year maximum number of times since its induction in 2001. The shortlist for Team of the Year 2015 is set to be disclosed on Tuesday.
The Ultimate Team of the Year as UEFA has termed it, features 18 greatest players who have graced the tournament. Greats like Carles Puyol, Philipp Lahm, Alessandro Nesta, Xavi, Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Nedved, Ronaldinho, Kaka all made it into the 18-players team. Quite unsurprisingly, two greatest goalscorers of the Champions League, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are also part of the Ultimate Team.
GK: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Porto and Spain)
The legendary Spanish goalkeeper won three Champions League in his career with Real Madrid in 2000, 2002 and 2014. He also won the Euro Cup with Spain in 2008 and 2012 along with the FIFA World Cup in 2010. He captained his national team on all the three occasions. He has been named in the UEFA Team of the Year six years running from 2007 to 2012.
LB: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Considered by many as one of the few great fullbacks in the game, Lahm has won it all on the international and club level. The 32-year old won the Champions League in 2013 and the next year he helped Germany to lay claim on the World Cup before announcing his retirement from the international circuit. He was named in the UEFA ToY five times in 2006, 08, 12, 13, 14.
CB: Carles Puyol (Barcelona, Spain)
The robust defender played for his boyhood club Barcelona throughout his career amassing almost 600 appearances for the senior team. He won the CL thrice in 2006, 2009 and 2011 along with the Euro Cup in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010 with Spain. He featured in the UEFA TotY six times in 2002, 05, 06, 08, 09 and 2010.
CB: Alessandro Nesta (Lazio, AC Milan and Italy)
The Italian defender who is currently the head coach of Miami FC in MLS has featured four times in the UEFA TotY in his career (2002, 03, 04, 07). He won the Champions League with Milan in 2002, and 2007 and also helped Italy win the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
RB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain)
The current Madrid centre-back started off his career as a right-back and went on to win the Euro Cup 2008 and 2012 along with the World Cup in 2010. His only Champions League triumph came in 2014 when his last minute goal helped Real Madrid win the La Decima. He has featured in the UEFA TotY four times in 2008, 12, 13, 14.
CM: Xavi (Barcelona, Spain)
The midfield maestro featured in the UEFA TotY for five years running from 2008 to 2012. In the time span, he won the Euro Cup twice in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2010 along with the Champions League in 2009 and 2011. He won the CL in 2006 and 2015 as well before moving to Qatari club Al-Sadd.
RCM: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, England)
The Merseysider who is currently plying his trades in MLS has been named in the TotY three times in 2005, 06, 07. His biggest achievement came in the 2005 Champions League when he captained Liverpool to a historic victory over AC Milan in the final at Istanbul, as a result of which was named the UEFA Club Footballer of the year in 2005.
LCM: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain)
The little wizard has made it to the UEFA TotY four times in his glittering career (2009,10,11,12). The 31-year old has won the Champions League four times, Euro Cup twice and the World Cup in 2010 when he scored the winning goal against Netherlands in the final of the tournament.
RW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Portugal)
The Portuguese is on top of the list of the players who have featured the most number of times in the UEFA TotY with a record nine appearances. After featuring once in 2004 when he helped Portugal to the final of Euro 2004, he has gone on to be a part of the team for eight straight years now from 2007 to 2014. He is also the record goalscorer in the Champions League with staggering 83 goals in 123 appearances.
CF: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina)
The Barcelona talisman has been named in the UEFA TotY six times till now since he was first included in 2008, the only time he has not been part of the team was in 2013. The 28-year old has already won the CL four times and the form which the Blaugranes are displaying only means that he can add more to the already staggering tally.
LW: Thierry Henry (Arsenal, France)
The ex-Arsenal forward has been included in the TotY five times in 2001, 02, 03, 04, 06. He won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009, but his best performance arguably came for the Gunners when he helped them to the final in 2006.
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy): The Italian shot-stopper has been named in the UEFA TotY three times in 2003, 04, 06.
John Terry (Chelsea, England): Terry made it to the team four times in 2005, 07, 08, 09.
Kaka (AC Milan, Real Madrid, Brazil): The Brazilian playmaker featured in the UEFA TotY three times in 2006, 07, 09.
Zinedine Zidane (Juventus, Real Madrid, France): Zizou was selected for the TotY each time he was nominated in 2001, 02, 03.
Pavel Nedved (Juventus, Czech Republic): The Juve legend featured in the team thrice from 2003 to 2005.
Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Brazil): The Brazilian who is loved by all made it to the TotY in 2004, 05, 06.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Internazionale, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Sweden): The bold Swede has been listed in the TotY four times in 2007, 09, 13, 14.