Spanish Dominance Continues In the 2018 UEFA Team of the Year
It is something that has become reasonably predictable in recent years. The numbers of top players who are named in the UEFA Team of the Year who come from Spanish clubs means that La Liga is over-represented in many people's eyes compared to the top leagues in France, Germany and the UK. Few fans of sports betting would wager that there is likely to be any change soon. Given that the team is worked out according to a poll, it is hardly surprising that so many players from top Spanish clubs make it onto the list. Fans of Spanish clubs must take the voting system very seriously. Plus, of course, lots of people from outside Spain follow Spanish football closely and vote accordingly.
Breaking Down the 2018 Team
In 2017, six of the eleven named players were drawn from Spanish clubs. In 2016, La Liga was even more dominant with no fewer than eight. That said, the 2018 list included three players who make their livings at English clubs. N'Golo Kanté and Eden Hazard, who both play for Chelsea FC, were named in the Team of the Year. In addition, Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool was among the players who polled. The only French club to be represented was Paris Saint-Germain because Kylian Mbappé was also named among the eleven. All of the other players in 2018 were from Spanish clubs, however. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, made a record breaking 13th appearance in the annual team, and he played for both Real Madrid and Juventus in the qualifying period.
The Players from Barcelona
Two players from the might Barcelona side made it into the 2018 UEFA Team of the Year, Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Messi, who is approaching the final seasons of his stellar career, has been named in the poll on nine previous occasions making him the second-most popular player ever. On the other hand, ter Stegen, the German national team's goalkeeper, has never made the list before. Based on current performances and the relatively long careers that goalies enjoy, few would bet against him closing in on his team mate in a few years' time. Perhaps ter Stegen even has the chance to overtake the great Argentinian? The goalkeeper is certainly the number one choice at the moment at Barcelona and for his country.
The Players from Real Madrid
The 2017 iteration of the UEFA Team of the Year included five players from Real Madrid. Although there was no place for Tony Kroos in the 2018 team as there had been a year before, five players from the capital's club were still named, making it the most represented club once more. In 2018, Sergio Ramos made it into the fantasy side, the only Spaniard to do so. It is the eighth time he has made it into the team, thereby making him third on the all-time chart of footballers to have appeared. In addition, Raphael Varane made it onto the list. Varane is a central defender who also plays for his national team, France. It was the first time he had made it into the UEFA team from polling. Alongside him was Marcelo, another defender who has also played many times for the Brazilian national team. A popular footballer, Marcelo had been named as a player in the Team of the Year twice before.
The other two Real Madrid players in the 2018 team were Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo quit Real Madrid to play in Serie A in 2018 but had made appearances for the Spanish side before departing. Often considered to be one of the best players ever, Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Or prizes. Modric made his third appearance in the Team of the Year having first been named in 2016. The Croatian star joined Real Madrid in 2012 after a successful spell with the North London team, Tottenham Hotspur. The midfielder has been capped over a hundred times for his national team.