One team. Eleven players. There have been so many stand out performers since August, but not everyone can make the cut. Who have we selected to fill the eleven starting berths in our 2011/2012 team of the year?
PLEASE NOTE: We wanted to select a team that differed from our rivals’ choices. We wanted to illustrate that there are attackers just as good as the likes of RvP, whom many feel should be in the side (we can see why, so don’t worry). At the end of the day, it is all down to personal choice. We want discussions to be unbiased; informative and supportive of respective choices. We justify our selections. We will thoughtfully respect your selections as long as ours are acknowledged for the right reasons. Also, please keep in mind that this is a personal opinion piece by Connor Woodford and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of Soccer Reviews as a whole.
Manager: Antonio Conte
The mastermind of Juventus’ unbeaten league triumph. A season which saw them return to the top of Italian football. A truly remarkable achievement; especially when you learn that it was his debut season as a manager in the Serie A. Can he set the Champions League alight next season?
GK: Manuel Neuer
The German shot-stopper impressed greatly in his first season for Bayern Munich. Sure, they didn’t win anything, but he displayed the qualities you’d expect from a ‘keeper. Strong, agile, good ball control/distribution and a presence in the box. Also, there is something about him that seems to throw off many strikers when faced with only him and the goal.
RB: Micah Richards
We have absolutely no idea why this young man is not in England’s Euro 2012 squad. Richards is an absolute tank on the right flank, and is as dangerous going forward as he is defending. Simply put, I would hate to be on the receiving end of one of his tackles…
CB: Vincent Kompany
Without this man, City wouldn’t have won their first Premier League trophy in 44 years. There is not a single flaw to be seen in his defending game. You don’t see many players boss Wayne Rooney around like this man did.
CB: Mats Hummels
Without a doubt, Hummels is one of Europe’s finest defenders. He has it all. Because of his partnership with Subotic, Borussia Dortmund have flourished in the past two seasons. How much longer until he is prized away from the Westfalenstadion?
LB: Fábio Coentrão
Coentrão was one of Madrid’s most impressive players throughout last season. Despite his tendency to attack, the young Portugal left-back is more than capable when it comes to defending. He also has the pace and stamina to last a full game.
RW: Antonio Valencia
Manchester United’s powerhouse down the right! Despite not being able to use his left foot, Valencia is certainly more than capable with his right. His simplistic approach to the game proves that it is just as dangerous as the flair and trickery displayed by the likes of Nani. Valencia is a force to contend with when he gets off the mark, and his crosses cause more than a mess for countless defenders.
DM: Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure is one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous midfielders. The Manchester City man proved yet again that he is the man for the occasion, as he secured a vital win over Newcastle. His consistency is frightening, as is his defensive game. Let’s not forget the drive he possesses too, as when he gets going, there is no stopping the man.
AM: Mesut Özil
Ah, the German Zidane! Özil has impressed hugely since he moved to Madrid. He proved that his debut season was no fluke, as he racked up 24 assists last season. Arguably, Özil is one of the most influential midfielders in the world at this point in time. The future is bright for young Mesut.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
We couldn’t leave this man out. The former United hotshot racked up 60 goals as he fired Madrid to La Liga glory. Can he go one further next season, and pave the way for European glory?
ST: Robert Lewandowski
The Polish striker was sensational for Borussia Dortmund last season. The 23-year-old amassed 30 goals and propelled Dortmund to domestic glory in both the league and cup.
ST: Radamel Falcao
Falcao has been nothing short of explosive since joining Athletico Madrid in the summer of 2011. The former Porto man proved that he can vie with the hotshots in Europe, as he single-handedly won the Europa League with a sensational brace against Athletico Bilbao. I would hate to face Falcao as the Columbian is such a dangerous asset in any situation.
GK: Joe Hart
City’s no.1 and rightly so. Solid and reliable. England’s best goalkeeper for generations.
DF: Johnny Evans
Prior to this season, Evans was regarded by many United “fans” as being unworthy to wear the shirt. How he proved them wrong… Evans had an outstanding season and ended up as one of United’s most valuable players and of course, the most vastly improved.
DF: Jordi Alba
Barcelona are believed to be courting this man’s services. A very technical savvy defender who is not afraid to join the attack. Stand out performer for Valencia last season. If Barcelona do snap him up, expect him to improve even more over the coming years.
MF: Andrea Pirlo
The Italian master. Watch and learn, kids! He won’t be around for much longer, but he seems to improve with each passing year – much like a fine wine. Juventus have him to thank (partly) for their league triumph. Basically, he is the Italian Paul Scholes.
MF: David Silva
One of Europe’s most frightening players who possesses skill in abundance. Silva is constantly considered to be City’s best player, and rightly so.
AT: Zlatan Ibrahimović
Love him or hate him, Zlatan was the man who kept Milan in the title race until the last few games. 35 goals was his tally for last season… rather impressive indeed.
AT: Lionel Messi
73 goals in a single season is nothing short of astounding. Messi is a player who constantly impresses and dazzles. Many of you will undoubtedly question why we have him on the bench, but we feel that Ronaldo had a more impressive season, as he inspired Madrid to La Liga glory and on the whole, Real Madrid enjoyed a more successive season than their fierce rivals.
Due to its subjective nature, our team of the season will court disagreement and agreement. We want to hear your views and reasoning behind whom you would select, and whom you wouldn’t. Remember: it is purely down to preference, but we like to remain unbiased. Let’s try to remain civilised when it comes to battle of the players!