UEFA.COM TOTY 2012 – AMIN’S XI

I wanted to go for the 4-6-0 formation that worked remarkably well for the Spaniards in the European Championships. However, it isn’t a recognized UEFA formation so I guess it can’t be done. Also, that means I’d probably have to drop Ronaldo and Messi, which would make my task doubly difficult. It wasn’t easy anyway, but here goes:

Starting from the back, I’ve gone for a 4-3-3.

Iker Casillas – GK

As I write this, Casillas has just been astonishingly dropped by Mourinho for a league game. We can’t let that decision affect our views on his performances this year though. The numbers might be a bit misleading, but having led Spain and Real Madrid to major honours this year, he gets my vote.

Andrea Barzagli – DEF

He led the Juventus back line remarkably well, being one of their most consistent performers, as they went unbeaten through the season to clinch the Scudetto. Also, Barzagli was an integral part of the Italian national team which finished runners-up in the European Championships last summer.

Vincent Kompany – DEF

Captained and led from the front for Mancini’s men, as City finally won their first English league title in 44 years. Scored the deciding goal in the home game against Manchester United, which ultimately gave them the impetus to go on and clinch the title.

Ashley Cole – DEF

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, this was the year Cole reminded everyone why he is still considered one of the best full-backs in world football. A crucial element of the Chelsea defence that won plaudits for their performances in the Champions League, this year has seen him being rewarded with a seventh FA Cup medal and a place in the public and experts’ Premier League teams of the last 20 years.

Sergio Ramos – DEF

Over the last 12 months, Ramos has cemented his place in the Real Madrid back-line and its easy to see why. He’s patched up his differences with club manager, Mourinho, and his performances last year displayed his true potential and talent. Not only was he brilliant for Madrid in their title-winning campaign, he also played a massive role for Spain in their success at the Euros last year. He is on the verge of completing 100 caps for Spain, which is a phenomenal achievement for the 27-year old.

Yaya Toure – MID

Started the year off by taking part in the African Cup of Nations, where Ivory Coast finished Runners-up. He returned to the Man City lineup and took charge of the Blues stuttering league form by being their stand-out performer. Yaya Toure capped a magnificent year by recently being voted African Footballer of the Year in 2012,

Andrea Pirlo – MID

What were Milan thinking when they let him go? Not only was Pirlo the lynchpin of the Juventus midfield, as they won the Scudetto, he single-handedly led Italy to the finals of the Euros last summer. Probably one of the most complete midfielders in Europe right now, Pirlo has been absolutely sensational this year.

Xabi Alonso – MID

You might think its easy partnering legends like Xavi and Iniesta in a midfield trio. However, Xabi Alonso is the glue that held the Spanish team together as they successfully defended their European crown, as well as being the driving force behing Mourinho’s first Spanish league title.

Didier Drogba – FWD

It probably would be fair to say that if it wasn’t for Didier Drogba, then Chelsea wouldn’t have been crowned European champions. Yes, they defended magnificently against both Barca and Bayern, but the Ivorian’s performances in the final were typical of the man. From his late headed equalizer, to the deciding penalty, Drogba reinforced the theory that he was built for the big occasion. To add to that, he scored in the FA cup final, which turned an average Chelsea season, into one of the greatest in recent memory.

Lionel Messi – FWD

91 goals this year. Need I say more? This has been Messi’s year, regardless of the fact that Barca missed out on the La Liga & Champions League title. He’s become their all-time leading scorer, broken Gerd Muller’s record, and at the tender age of 25, its frightening to think what his stats will look like when he decides to call it a day.

Cristiano Ronaldo – FWD

Its tough to mention Ronaldo without comparing him to Messi. But in my opinion the Portugese is the better player. There I said it. In all likelihood, he will miss out on the Ballon d’Or this year, but his goalscoring exploits and all-round play over the last 12 months has been supreme. The highlight of the season for him must have been the moment he all but clinched the league title by scoring the winner at the Camp Nou.

Amis’s XI: Casillas; Barzagli, Kompany, Cole, Ramos; Toure, Alonso, Pirlo; Drogba, Messi, Ronaldo

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