Inthenews.co.uk, Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007
Chelsea duo John Terry and Didier Drogba have been named in Roberto Ayala's team of 2006.
The highly-regarded Argentina skipper told Uefa.com that Terry and Drogba would both make the cut if he was picking his own dream XI.
"Drogba does not stop improving," Ayala said. "He gets better and becomes more of a goal-creator all the time."
Chelsea's top scorer is paired with Ayala's Valencia team-mate David Villa, who had an outstanding World Cup with Spain and has been linked with a move to Liverpool.
In defence, world and European player of the year Fabio Cannavaro partners Terry in the centre, with Germany's Philipp Lahm at left-back and another Liverpool target, Daniel Alves, on the right.
Ayala, 33, is one the best centre-halves of his generation, so his vote of confidence will come as a boost to Terry as he recovers from back and calf injuries.
The England captain has been a big loss for Chelsea, who have drawn their last three league games and fallen six points behind Premiership leaders Manchester United.
Reports this week suggest owner Roman Abramovich is preparing to make him the club's highest paid player with a new contract worth £150,000 a week.
Ayala also selected Barcelona pair Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, while Italy number one Gianluigi Buffon was named between the sticks.
Uefa.com will announce its own team of 2006, based on a user poll, on Friday.
Roberto Ayala's team of the year
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
Daniel Alves (Seville)
John Terry (Chelsea)
Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid)
Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)
Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
David Villa (Seville)
Coach: Juande Ramos (Seville)
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