La Liga dominates UEFA Team of the Year as Premier League quality again called into questionPublished January 06, 2017
Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was the headline name in UEFA’s Team of the Year announcement, with the Portuguese forward being joined by no less than seven other Spain-based players in a La Liga dominated XI.
Chosen by UEFA.com readers, the team features stars from three separate leagues, including the Bundesliga and Serie A, but for the third consecutive year there was no Premier League representation.
Leading the way in terms of popularity in the vote was Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who was selected by a whopping 75% of respondents after leading his side to glory in both the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
The Spaniard narrowly edged out Ronaldo (69%) as the most popular player, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi also proving to be a hit with voters.
So without further ado, here’s the team in full, lining up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
The Italian veteran pipped Manuel Neuer to the goalkeeping jersey following a sublime season that saw him roll back the years to star for club and country.
Defence: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Top pick Ramos was joined by Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci (40%), Barcelona’s Gerard Pique (39%) and German player of the year Jerome Boateng (37%) in a defence comprised entirely of centre-backs.
Midfield: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Toni Kroos, Luka Modric (both Real Madrid)
Luka Modric (59%) and Toni Kroos’ (41%) exploits in the centre of the park for Real Madrid saw them take two well-deserved spots in the UEFA Team of the Year midfield, with Barca creator-in-chief Andres Iniesta (51%) once again making the cut after helping the Blaugrana to the La Liga title.
Attack: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Ballon d’Or top three Cristiano Ronaldo (69%), Lionel Messi (64%) and Antoine Griezmann (31%) were chosen to lead the attack of UEFA’s star-studded XI for 2016. But while the first two received an overwhelming plebiscite, Griezmann’s place was far less assured. Golden Shoe winner Luis Suarez can perhaps feel hard done by following a stellar 2015/16 for Barcelona.