In anticipation of releasing the ‘Team of the Year’ next week, UEFA has published a ‘Team of the Century’, putting together the players that featured most in their team of the years this century.
The team features, as expected, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Furthermore, the first eleven includes six Spanish players. Moreover, six players that play or have played for Barcelona are in the team, as well as three from Real Madrid.
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) November 20, 2017
The leader of appearances in ‘Team of the Year’ is Cristiano Ronaldo, with 11 picks in the last 16 years. Lionel Messi follows closely.
Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta all have six appearances, Philipp Lahm, Gerard Pique, Xavi and Thierry Henry have five, while Steven Gerrard has three.
The fact that Spain has six players in the team is easy to explain due to the national team’s successes in the period 2008-2012, when they basically dominated world football, winning two European Championships and one World Cup.
At club level, Spanish team have also dominated Europe. Since 2000, Real Madrid won the Champions League trophy five times (1999/2000, 2001/2002, 2013/2014, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017) and Barcelona won it four times (2005/2006, 2008/2009, 2010/2011 and 2014/2015).