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The uefa.com users have made their verdict. After two weeks and more than three million votes, the eleven players and one coach that comprise the uefa.com users' Team of 2001 have been selected.
Goalkeeper: Santiago Cañizares (Valencia CF and Spain)
A key component of the Valencia CF side that reached a second successive UEFA Champions League final, keeping ten clean sheets in his side's 17 matches. Will figure this summer in Spain's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad. Took more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Voting: Santiago Cañizares 55.36%, Mickaël Landreau (FC Nantes Atlantique) 35.02%, Oliver Kahn (FC Bayern München and Germany) 5.71%, Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF and Spain) 2.86%, Petr Cech (AC Sparta Praha) 1.05%
Right-back: Cosmin Contra (Milan AC and Romania)
The Romanian player of the year may not be gracing next summer's World Cup with his presence, but apart from Romania's play-off defeat, in which he scored, Cosmin Contra had an excellent 2001. He shone first as an attacking right-back with UEFA Cup finalists Deportivo Alavés and then in Serie A with Milan AC. He garnered more than 40 per cent of the vote.
Voting: Cosmin Contra (41.95%), Manuel Pablo García (Deportivo La Coruña and Spain) 40.88%, Lilian Thuram (Juventus FC and France) 12.83%, Willy Sagnol (FC Bayern München and France) 2.55%, Cafú (AS Roma and Brazil) 1.69%
Left-back: Bixente Lizarazu (FC Bayern München and France)
Claiming the users' vote for left-back ahead of stiff competition from Valencia's Amedeo Carboni, the 32-year-old Lizarazu is the only current FC Bayern München player to make the Team of 2001, although he is the first of four French internationals in the eleven.
Voting: Bixente Lizarazu 45.35%, Amedeo Carboni (Valencia CF) 42.07%, Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid CF and Brazil) 9.47%, Vincent Candela (AS Roma and France) 1.96%, Ian Harte (Leeds United AFC and Republic of Ireland) 1.16%
Central defence: Sami Hyypiä (Liverpool FC and Finland)
The Liverpool FC colossus followed up his Finnish sportsperson of the year award by polling highest in the central defender category. Hyypiä, who was a talismanic figure as Liverpool won five trophies in 2001 (including the UEFA Cup and English FA Cup), received over 190,000 votes from uefa.com users.
Central defence II: Patrik Andersson (FC Barcelona and Sweden)
Sweden's player of the year, Andersson scored the goal that won Bayern the 1. Bundesliga title and also won the Champions League with the Bavarian club before joining FC Barcelona in the summer. There were over 500,000 votes for the central defenders berths and he claimed more than 16 per cent of them, finishing narrowly ahead of Valencia's Roberto Ayala and Mauricio Pellegrino.
Voting: Sami Hyypiä 17.46%, Patrik Andersson 16.46%, Roberto Ayala 15.57%, Mauricio Pellegrino 15.39%, Walter Samuel 10.39%, Alessandro Nesta 10.29%, Rio Ferdinand 6.93%, Samuel Kuffour 2.82%, Pascal Cygan 2.67%, Igor Tudor 2.01%
Right midfield: David Beckham (Manchester United FC and England)
Beckham may have been beaten by Luis Figo to the FIFA World Player of the Year award, but the crop-haired England captain - scorer of the last-gasp goal that booked his country's World Cup place - ousted the Portuguese star in the right-midfield player category with almost 30 per cent of the votes.
Voting: David Beckham 29.25%, Hasan Salihamidzic (FC Bayern München and Bosnia-Herzegovina) 17.89%, Michael Ballack (Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Germany) 13.75%, Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus FC and Italy) 13.52%, Luis Figo (Real Madrid CF and Portugal) 13.15%
Central midfield: Patrick Vieira (Arsenal FC and France)
Arsenal FC may have ended the year without silverware, but Vieira's continued excellence in midfield means that the Gunners, in the FA Premiership and Champions League, and France, in the FIFA World Cup, may have a 2002 to remember. The all-rounder claimed over 40 per cent of the votes.
Voting: Patrick Vieira 41.13%, Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC and England) 27.77%, Stefan Effenberg (FC Bayern München and Germany) 15.56%, Eric Carrière (Olympique Lyonnais and France) 12.75%, Damiano Tommasi (AS Roma) 2.78%
Attacking midfield: Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF and France)
The year 2001 may prove to have been an interregnum between international successes, but the world's most expensive player still had a brilliant year. His form for Juventus FC helped him garner the Serie A player of the season award before his record-breaking move to Real Madrid CF. After a sluggish start by his standards, his sparkling form has put the Madrid giants on course for further Primera División and Champions League success.
Voting: Zinedine Zidane 49.16%, Alessandro del Piero (Juventus FC and Italy) 43.25%, Rivaldo (FC Barcelona and Brazil) 4.16%, Roberto Baggio (Brescia Calcio) 1.96%, Francesco Totti (AS Roma and Italy) 1.45%
Left midfield: Kily González (Valencia CF)
Valencia may have again failed at the final hurdle in the Champions League, but the flying Argentinian winger was instrumental in getting them there. Benefitting from the surge for Valencia players in the overall poll, González polled over 52 per cent.
Voting: Kily González 52.40%, Juan Valerón (RC Deportivo La Coruña and Spain) 42.69%, Mehmet Scholl (FC Bayern München and Germany) 2.78%, Ryan Giggs (Manchester United FC and Wales) 1.55%, Harry Kewell (Leeds United AFC and Australia) 0.58%
Attack I: Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC)
Keeping his FA Cup final nemesis Michael Owen out of the team, Henry forms an all-French partnership with his former AS Monaco team-mate David Trezeguet - a double act that could propel France to a second successive World Cup triumph in the summer. Up until late December, Henry had scored in every Arsenal win this season and has scored six times in this season's Champions League.
Attack II: David Trezeguet (Juventus FC)
Scoring the winning goal in EURO 2000™ was always going to be hard to top, but the French striker enjoyed a stunning 2001, particularly in the final six months at club level, and he is the top scorer in the Champions League at the winter break with eight goals. He finished narrowly behind Henry with more than 19 per cent of the vote.
Voting: Thierry Henry 19.76%, David Trezeguet 19.63%, Diego Tristán (RC Deportivo La Coruña and Spain) 18.84%, Henrik Larsson (Celtic FC and Sweden) 6.16%, Mario Jardel (Sporting Clube de Portugal) 5.23%, Andriy Shevchenko (Milan AC and Ukraine) 4.88%, Michael Owen (Liverpool FC and England) 4.80%, Raúl González (Real Madrid CF and Spain) 4.44%, Gabriel Batistuta (AS Roma and Argentina) 4.31%, Emmanuel Olisadebe (Panathinaikos FC and Poland) 4.20%, Vladimir Beschastnykh (FC Spartak Moscow and Poland) 3.99%, Giovane Elber (FC Bayern Munchen and Brazil) 3.76%,
Coach: Gérard Houllier
Few people can have had a year of such highs and lows. After leading Liverpool FC to UEFA Cup, FA Cup, English League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Charity Shield success and a return to Europe's premier competition, the Frenchman was laid low after life-threatening emergency heart surgery in October. The master tactician, who is expected to return to the Anfield dugout in February, received close to 50 per cent of the votes.
Voting: Gérard Houllier 45.10%, José Maria Esnal "Mané" (Deportivo Alavés) 19.29%, Héctor Cúper (Internazionale FC) 12.76%, Ottmar Hitzfeld (FC Bayern München) 11.29%, Luigi del Neri (AC Chievo Verona) 11.55%.
uefa.com users' Team of 2001:
Santiago Cañizares (Valencia CF), Cosmin Contra (Deportivo Alavés), Sami Hyypiä (Liverpool FC), Patrik Andersson (FC Barcelona), Bixente Lizarazu (FC Bayern München), David Beckham (Manchester United FC), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal FC), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid CF), Kily González (Valencia CF), Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC), David Trezeguet (Juventus FC). Gérard Houllier (Liverpool FC).
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