Ultimate Team of the Year: all-time XI | UEFA Champions League

Which players have made the UEFA.com fans’ Team of the Year in each position more than any others? We do the maths to create an ultimate XI.

Pick your Team of the Year


Iker Casillas career highlights

Iker Casillas career highlights

Iker Casillas – 6 (20070809101112)
Real Madrid & Spain
Spain’s captain at UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012 also lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup – three of the six times he made it into Team of the Year. Gianluigi Buffon has been picked on five occasions.


Sergio Ramos – 8 (200812131415161718)
Real Madrid & Spain
Seven straight selections – 2012 to 2018 inclusive – denote the Madrid man’s standing, the centre-back having earlier been rewarded for his role helping Spain to UEFA EURO 2008 glory. In 2017 he pulled clear as the most selected defender ever.

Gerard Piqué – 5 (201011121516)
Barcelona & Spain
Nominated nine times in the last ten editions – and picked on five of those – Piqué remains a hugely consistent performer for club and country. Dani Alves drew level on five selections in 2017, but is edged out on all-time nominations – the Brazilian has seven, Piqué nine and Philipp Lahm ten.

Carles Puyol lifts the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2006

Carles Puyol lifts the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2006Getty Images

Carles Puyol – 6 (2002, 05, 06, 08, 09, 10)
Barcelona & Spain
Enjoyed a golden run from 2005 onwards, winning the UEFA Champions League with Barça in 2006, 2009 and 2011, as well as UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 World Cup as a cornerstone of his country’s defence.

Philipp Lahm – 5 (2006, 08, 12, 13, 14)
Bayern München & Germany
One of Europe’s supreme defensive practitioners whose excellence endured for a decade. Lahm’s sequence of three successive Team of the Year appearances came to an end in 2015.


Steven Gerrard – 3 (2005, 06, 07)
Liverpool & England
One of seven midfielders chosen three times, with Luka Modrić the latest to hit that figure with his inclusion in the 2018 line-up. However, Gerrard’s seven nominations suffice to get him into the ultimate XI at the expense of Modrić (six), Kaká (five), Ronaldinho (four), Toni Kroos (four), Pavel Nedvěd (three) and Zinédine Zidane (three).

2009 final highlights: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United

2009 final highlights: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United

Xavi Hernández – 5 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Barcelona & Spain
Though a contender in 2005, it was not until his second involvement in 2008 that Xavi actually made the cut – and then there was no dislodging him as unprecedented success with club and country kept him in the side five years running.

Andrés Iniesta – 6 (2009, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16)
Barcelona & Spain
Like his midfield partner Xavi, once he forced his way into the Team of the Year Iniesta proved impossible to displace until 2013; he also returned in splendour in 2015 and 2016.


Cristiano Ronaldo – 14 (2004, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
Manchester United/Real Madrid/Juventus & Portugal
Nominated a record 17 times, the Portuguese phenomenon has featured in the Team of the Year on no fewer than 14 occasions, three more than anyone else. The 2019 line-up marked his 13th consecutive appearance.

Ronaldo v Messi: Watch their best group stage goals

Ronaldo v Messi: Watch their best group stage goals

Lionel Messi – 11 (2008, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
Barcelona & Argentina
Like Ronaldo, Messi was initially classed as a midfielder, collecting thus the first of 13 straight nominations in 2006. He has missed the Team of the Year cut just once, in 2013, since his 2008 debut.

Thierry Henry – 5 (2001, 02, 03, 04, 06)
Arsenal & France
A candidate in the first six editions of the vote. Henry’s consistency was such that he got into the final selection five times, including the first four – the only player to achieve that.

Only clubs which players were playing for when selected for Team of the Year are listed. Only formations available in the UEFA.com fans’ Team of the Year 2020 were considered when selecting this all-time XI.

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