UEFA have revealed their Team of the Year, as voted for by fans, and it’s fair to say the emphasis is very much on attacking.
Messi, who we expect to see in the middle or on the right side of a front three, takes up a place in midfield – playing just in front of the two other central midfielders.
Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Lionel Messi (R) are both in the UEFA Fans’ Team of the Year but the two stars are not in their normal positions
While the Barcelona forward hasn’t played a game in midfield this season, he has previously been used as a second striker.
Ronaldo usually operates as a centre forward for Juventus but has played one game on the left wing this season. However, in this team the Portugal captain is on the opposite flank. Ronaldo did of course play many games on the right side during his time at Manchester United.
The Juventus man has been picked for the 15th time and has now been in every Fans’ Team of the Year since 2007. Messi has been chosen for the 12th time.
The team also includes five players from Bayern Munich’s Champions League winning squad
Robert Lewandowski (L) and Joshua Kimmich (R) make the team along with Thiago Alcantara, Manuel Neuer and Alphonso Davies
As well as Messi and Ronaldo, the team includes five players from Bayern Munich’s Champions League winning squad – Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Thiago Alcantara and Robert Lewandowski.
Kimmich is predominantly a defensive midfielder but injuries saw him play at right back for part of last season and it’s in defence where the 25-year-old lines up.
The German played five games in midfield and six at right back during the Champions League campaign, including the final against Paris Saint-Germain.
Neuer’s six clean sheets in the competition see him take the goalkeeper’s spot while Davies plays at left back and Thiago, now of Liverpool, sits in one of the midfield positions behind Messi.
Kimmich, Thiago and Davies have been selected for the first time and Davies is also the first Canadian to make the team. Alongside Thiago is Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who scored two goals and made two assists in the competition last season.
Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos are the only players to have played for Liverpool and Real Madrid in the 2019-2020 campaign to make the team, with the defenders taking the two centre back spots.
Neymar also makes the team with the PSG frontman on the opposite wing to Ronaldo with UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year Lewandowski, who scored 15 goals in 10 European games last season, as the centre forward.
Neymar is on the opposite wing to Ronaldo after helping PSG make the final last year
England’s Lucy Bronze makes the women’s team after helping Lyon win the Champions League for the fifth year running.
Bronze, who is now at Manchester City, became the first British star to be named best player in the world at the FIFA Best awards in December.
There are a further five players from the Lyon squad including France captain Wendie Renard, goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, centre back Kadeisha Buchanan, midfielder Amandine Henry and forward Delphine Cascarino.
Pernille Harder, who was named UEFA’s Women’s Player of the Year after helping Wolfsburg reach the Champions League final, is the sole striker. Harder has since joined Chelsea for a world record fee.
Arsenal’s Danielle van de Donk and the Blues’ Magdalena Eriksson were also included. While Eriksson primarily plays at centre back for Chelsea, she takes the left back spot with Van de Donk on the right side of a front three.
Lucy Bronze (centre) makes the women’s team after helping Lyon win the Champions League
The other two players, Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir and Kheira Hamraoui, take up the remaining two midfield spots. Gunnarsdottir joined Lyon in the summer after leaving Wolfsburg while Hamraoi plays for Barcelona.
The two teams were selected by the UEFA editorial team, based on the players’ performances in UEFA competitions and domestic competitions within UEFA member associations from January to December 2020.
Fans had from 30 November 2020 until 6 January 2021 to select their favourite XIs from two shortlists of 50 elite players – five goalkeepers, 15 defenders, 15 midfielders and 15 forwards.
More coverage on the UEFA.com Fans’ Teams of the Year is available on UEFA.com.
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