Petr Cech (Chelsea) - Despite a serious head injury that kept him out of action for over three months, the Czech international has managed to bounc back, helping Chelsea reach the semi-finals. Even though he was ultimately overshadowed by Pepe Reina in the penalty shootout against Liverpool, he remains quite simply the world's best keeper.

Champions League
Pirlo eyes final repeat
06/08/2007 AT 14:10

Shortlisted - Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Gomes (PSV)


Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) - How can we leave the quiet but uncompromising Scouser out when there are calls from certain quarters for his name to fill every position on the team sheet? Outstanding at the back for the Reds; just don't let him take a penalty in the final.

Alex (PSV) - The Brazilian's goal against Arsenal sent PSV into the quarter-finals, although injury robbed him of the chance to help his side progress any further. A rock at the back this season, eliciting much interest in winning his signature this summer, with finalists Milan reportedly very keen on taking him to the San Siro.

Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) - The Serb stopper takes no prisoners and United's run into the semis had a great deal to do with the solid partnership he formed with Rio Ferdinand. Possibly the scariest defender in this season's competition and will only get better.

Paolo Maldini (Milan) - At 38, an eighth final appearance seemed unlikely for the Milan legend, but he has recovered from injury and will lead the Rossoneri out in Athens. Exemplary positioning and reading of the game make up for the inevitable lack pace that comes with age.

Shortlisted - Philippe Mexes (Roma), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern), Christian Panucci (Roma), Bosingwa (Porto), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), John Arne Riise (Liverpool)


Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) - The Portuguese trickster has relished performing on the biggest stage this season, none more so than during the quarter-final against Roma when he netted a brace. The Premiership player of the year's form has been so good he may even be forgiven a uncharacteristic no-show in United's semi-final capitulation against Milan.

Michael Essien (Chelsea) - Despite having been played out of position for much of the campaign, Essien proved his class with a series of towering displays in Europe. It was his goal downed Valencia and took Chelsea into the semis.

Kaka (Milan) - The world's best player at the moment? Quite possibly. This season's European performances from the competition's top scorer have been nothing short of exceptional, and the Brazilian's demolition of Manchester United in the semis was a sheer joy to watch.

Clarence Seedorf (Milan) - The Dutchman doesn't seem to want to age quietly and at the age of 31 he is on the verge of becoming the most successful player in Champions League history. Instrumental in Milan's progress this season.

Mancini (Roma) - The Brazilian's goal against Lyon in the last sixteen was one of the best of the competition and also prompted some of the best Italian commentary in living memory. That strike, his storming runs from midfield and Roma's progression to the quarter-finals are more than enough to warrant his inclusion in the team of the season.

Shortlisted - Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Ibrahim Affelay (PSV), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto)


Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid) - Six goals from seven games in Europe this season speak volumes for the Dutch marksman, who has been prolific for the Spanish side since his move from Manchester United last summer. The game's ultimate finisher, van Nistelrooy rarely misses the target when presented with a goalscroring opportunity.

Shortlisted - Fernando Morientes (Valencia), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Francesco Totti (Roma), Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

Champions League
Round-up: Salzburg look strong
01/08/2007 AT 21:22
Champions League
Round-up: Rangers take lead
31/07/2007 AT 21:12