UEFA’s Fans’ Team of the Year released
UEFA's Fans' Team of The Year released
UEFA's Fan's European football team of the year, as voted on UEFA.com has been released after an record 5.3 million number of votes.
The XI includes a mostly Spanish La Liga based side, with 0 Premier League inclusions, highlighting again, that the Premier League although is one of the most exciting, may still be behind in terms of quality.
Spain's Euro 2012 success clearly didn't fade in the minds of European football fans, with 5 Spanish inclusions.
Fans were able to pick their own formation for the XI, however the traditional 4-4-2 was still selected, despite the impressive choice of forwards available.
Click next to see who made the 11.
Here's my XI: Buffon; Kompany, Alba, Pique; Iniesta, Pirlo, Blaszczykowski, Xavi; Van Persie, Messi, Ronaldo.
By Stowe Gregory @stowegregory
Goalkeeper - Iker Casillas
Real Madrid and Spain's captain may have been dropped by Jose Mourinho for his club in recent times, but his 2012 success wasn't forgotten by UEFA.com users. Casillas, 31, led his nation to their 2nd European championship in a row whilst also winning the Spanish La Liga title for Real Madrid.
45% of the vote
Defender - Sergio Ramos
Ramos, 26, has become one of the World's best defenders in recent times. 2012 meant he once again gained a European Championship medal with Spain.
Ramos received 61% of the vote.
Defender - Gerard Pique
Much like Ramos, Pique who is 25 helped Spain to Euro 2012 success, and it is no surprise that he was voted with 47%.
Defender - Philipp Lahm
Germany's skipper led Bayern Munich to a Champions League final as well as Germany's semi-final finish during the Euros. The right back received 43% of the vote, beating the likes of Dani Alves.
Defender - Thiago Silva
Perhaps a surprise inclusion, there is no question regarding his ability, but the Brazilian defender didn't have a necessarily special 2012. Never the less, the PSG center back was voted with 38%.
Midfielder - Andres Iniesta
It would have been mad had Spain's main man not been included. The European footballer of the year, and 3rd placed World Player of the year helped Spain to another European success - whilst winning the Player of the Tournament award himself. One of the greatest midfielders of all time received a massive 73% of the vote.
Midfielder - Xavi
The little maestro who fits so neatly in both Spain and Barcelona's side may be slowly reaching the end of his career but still played a huge part in Spain's Euro 2012 success as well as impressing through out. 56% of fans believed he deserved a place in the team.
Midfielder - Andrea Pirlo
When Pirlo was let go by AC Milan in 2011 most people thought it was the beginning of the end for the 33 year old. But having joined Juventus he helped them win Serie A, going unbeaten; and then followed this up with a brilliant Euro 2012, where his talent was shown to the world in majestic style (most notably vs England). No surprise he gets in with 46%.
Midfielder - Mesut Ozil
The German had a superb season for Real Madrid, as they won the La Liga. But Ozil also had an impressive Euro 2012 as Germany reached the last 4. Perhaps a 3rd striker could have been included other than him though, but he still received 44% of the votes.
Forward - Lionel Messi
Probably wasn't any point in having a vote for this. The World Player of the year, probably the best footballer ever scored a world record 92 goals. The surprise really is that only 65% of fans voted, and not 100%! Some bitter Madrid fans perhaps.
Forward - Cristiano Ronaldo
Again, there is no argument regarding this. Ronaldo continued to be one of the world's best footballers, claiming 52% of the votes. If Messi wasn't about, Ronaldo would be winning awards left, right and center. Questions remain regarding his future at Madrid but his talent is unmistakable. Only low was not taking a penalty for Portugal in the Quarter finals at Euro 2012 vs Spain. Had he scored his side could have made history.
So there it is; the UEFA Fans' XI of 2012. Where was Van Persie? Alba or Falcao? Forgotten, clearly, but it's pleasing that UEFA allow for such a vote and award process, involving the fans.