The football equivalent of the Oscars came to London on Tuesday as the first FIFpro awards were announced in front of big-name stars from the worlds of sport, music, screen and even our own Marc Duffy (but the legality of how the ticket was won still is under suspicion!)
More than 38,000 players from 40 countries representing FIFpro participated in the vote, with 55 players shortlisted at the end. After a night of great entertainment, including awards for Ronaldinho (World Player of the Year), Wayne Rooney (Young Player of the Year) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Fan Voted Young Player of the Year), the World XI was announced as:
BY: NELSON DIDA (Brazil/AC Milan)
DF: CAFU (Brazil/AC Milan)
DEF: ALESSANDRO NESTA (Italy/AC Milan)
DEF: JOHN TERRY (England/Chelsea)
DF: PAOLO MALDINI (Italy/AC Milan)
MF: RONALDINHO (Brazil/Barcelona)
MF: FRANK LAMPARD (England/Chelsea)
MF: CLAUDE MAKELELE (France/Chelsea)
MF: ZINEDINE ZIDANE (France/Chelsea
FC: SAMUEL ETO’O (Cameroon/Barcelona)
FC: ANDREI SHEVCHENKO (Ukraine/AC Milan)
But do we really care about the ‘official’ team? A team that has 5 players over the age of 30, with a combined age of 168? A team with a certain Zinedine Zidane, who really had a normal season at Real Madrid? Of course not, because there is only one ‘official’ team that matters and that is the Bootroom XI, voted for by you, the SI public. So without further ado, in association with Sports Interactive, The Bootroom is proud to present YOUR World XI.
Note: The players at each position have been listed in ascending order, meaning Terry was the most voted defender.
GK- PETR CECH (Czech Republic/Chelsea): The best goalkeeper in the Premiership, if not the world. In his first season in England he not only collected his first championship medal, Cech also went on a run of 1024 minutes without conceding a goal, a new English top flight record. The fewest goals conceded and the most clean sheets last season not only earned him the Barclays Golden Gloves for 2004/2005, but also the number one shirt in his World XI.
DF- JOHN TERRY (England/Chelsea): José Mourinho has called him ‘the best centre-back in the world’ and who can deny it? After lifting both the League Cup and Premiership title, the world-class display at the back saw Terry also voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals. England’s defeat to Northern Ireland showed just how much the English defense missed Terry’s leadership and organisation, adding further claims that he is the best centre-back in the world.
DF-CARLES PUYOL SAFORCADA (Spain/Barcelona): On October 2, 1999, Puyol made his debut with the first team and since then he has made the right-back of the defense his own. A player who always gives his all, this season has seen Puyol linked to a Premiership move with Manchester United and Arsenal the main contenders. At just 27, Puyol is entering his prime that could see him, one day, lead both club and country.
DF- ALESSANDRO NESTA (Italy/AC Milan): One of the five players to appear in both FIFpro and The Bootroom World XI. International on more than 60 occasions with his country, Nesta is the typical Italian defender, difficult to get passes and comfortable with the ball. In his first season with AC Milan he won the Coppa Italia, the Champions League and the European Super Cup and was very unlucky to win runner-up in the defeat against Liverpool.
DF- GABRIEL HEINZE (Argentina/Manchester United): A £6.9m signing from PSG, Heinze won over fans and pundits alike with his tough approach and 100% commitment to the task. Picking up the Fans’ Player of the Year for United after a serious injury against Villarreal, the left-back is out for the rest of the season, a blow to Alex Ferguson’s side.
MF- RONALDINHO (Brazil/Barcelona): The third player to be voted in both FIFpro and Bootroom World XI. What can be said about Ronaldo de Assis Moreira that hasn’t already been said? A €27m signing from PSG, the little Brazilian has worked his way through the best defenses in La Liga and on the international stage. Ronaldinho can place his FIFpro world player of the year award alongside his FIFA world player of the year award and his La Liga Championship medal, both won last year.
MF- STEVEN GERRARD (England/Liverpool): Gerrard helped lift Liverpool’s fifth European Cup with an inspiring performance in Istanbul last season and that is why he has been chosen in their World XI. With almost 300 appearances under his belt for Liverpool, Gerrard has lifted the League Cup (twice), the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup in his seven years in the first team. A driving force for Liverpool, when Gerrard is at the top of his game he is quite unstoppable.
MF- FRANK LAMPARD (England/Chelsea): The fourth player to appear in both the FIFpro and the Bootroom World XI. Winning Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, Barclay’s Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year on the PFA website just shows what kind of season Frank Lampard Jr had. An £11m signing West Ham, many fans and pundits were baffled as to why Chelsea were shelling out so much for an overweight and overrated player. But four years later, Lampard has become an established part of the team, scoring important goals from midfield.
MF- KAKA (Brazil/Ac Milan): The 23-year-old really shone this season with a scintillating first-half performance against Liverpool in the Champions League final. Signed from São Paulo FC in 2003, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite scored 10 goals in 30 appearances, winning the Italian Serie A Championship and the European Super Cup in his first season. Kaká’s best position is just behind the striker, where his killer passes and late arrivals into the box have quickly become his trademark.
FC- ADRIANO (Brazil/Inter Milan): A must-have signing for all Football Manager players, Adriano Leite Ribeiro showed what a class of striker he is with an impressive 15 goals in 16 games last season. A highly skilled and powerful striker who seems to have been around for a long time, Adriano is still only 23 years old and has an incredible future ahead of him.
FC- ANDREI SHEVCHENKO: (Ukraine/AC Milan): The last player chosen in both FIFpro and Bootroom World XI. After signing for $26 million from Dynamo Kyiv, Shevchenko will go down in history as one of the greatest strikers in Serie A. In December 2004, Shevchenko was named European Footballer of the Year after scoring the winning penalty against Juventus in the Champions League final in 2003. Shevchenko can score goals with both feet, has great close control and a pace that often leaves defenders for dead.