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ZoomSoccer' pondered for days before revealing the players who have performed exemplarily well and passed stringent criteria before given the honour to be in ZoomSoccer's Serie A Team of the Year.

Sven Goran Eriksson (Lazio)

This charismatic manager guided Lazio to their first Italian title in 26 years, only the second in their history and opened up the real possibility of a new power base in Italian football. With the Scudetto in their hands, nine years of domination by Juventus and AC Milan seemed to be coming to a sudden end. As usual, the Biancocelesti were not the pundits' favourite to emerge as champions before the season started but Lazio have given them something to think about when they ended the championship campaign in style. If capturing the long overdue Italian Championship title is not enough, the men in white and light blue also won the Italian Cup. Eriksson has successfully employed a 4-4-2 formation which resulted in his side having the best goalscoring record and the enviable claim of being the only undefeated home side in Serie A.

Edwin Van der Sar (Juventus)

The towering and intimidating Dutch international number one keeper has no other rival for this position. Since donning the black and white stripes jersey from Amsterdam last year, Van der Sar has commanded the back line so well that Juventus only conceded twenty goals throughout the season.The thirty year old has been in splendid form for most of the season and he rightfully deserves to be the custodian in ZoomSoccer's Team of the Year.

Hilario (Perugia)

Perugia's lack of reliable and consistent defenders has not prevented Hilario from taking the honour of claiming a place in our selection. The Portuguese defender is the only backline player who has performed admirably and consistently to guide Perugia to a respected mid-table placing without always having to look back over his shoulder for the relegation zone.

Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

The son of Italy's former national coach is one of the most feared defenders the world has witnessed. The most capped Italian player, Maldini controls Milan's armour with his strength and grace. The Italian skipper may not have a thunderbolt kick like Roberto Carlos but his positioning sense to score goals at the most crucial period is good enough for him to be selected as ZoomSoccer's best leftback in Serie A.

Luigi Appolloni (Verona)

Poor Appolloni must be wondering throughout the season what magic he must conjure to save his beloved Verona from being relegated. The thirty-three year old defender has been a model of distinction and consistency unlike his mediocre teammates. With Verona set to be playing in the lower rung next season, the Italian international needs to migrate elsewhere in order to play in the top flight. For now, to dampen his disappointment, ZoomSoccer is awarding him a place in their prestigious Serie A best eleven of the year.

Laurent Blanc (Inter Milan)

The French international doesn't need to prove anything else. His name and aura are already his passport to the fame and glory. Unlike many who are paid millions but fail to deliver, the veteran thirty-five year old has no problem in repaying the faith and trust of his past, present and future employers. His cool composure, tenacity and commitment is worthy of emulation by aspring world-class defenders out there.

Juan Sebastian Veron (Lazio)

The ball-winner has ignited a fast fading midfield engine into life with his deft touches and enthralling skill. Newly crowned Champions of Italy, Lazio had lost some spark in their attacking department in the earlier part of the season but Veron was always there to ensure that if the frontmen could not put the ball into the opposition's net, there's always the midfield to rely on. It's hardly surprising that Lazio are capable of scoring from any department with ease.

Edgar Davids (Juventus)

Any team would love to embrace the creative playmaker in their line-up. The cool (nobody can miss his stylish visor) and composed Dutch international seems to be dancing effortlessly on the field as he distributes and creates openings for the strikers to exploit. Zoomsoccer would unanimously vote for Davids to be the captain as well.

Hidetoshi Nakata (AS Roma)

The only Asian player to stand head to head with the European players in terms of skills and technique and received the plaudits from critics. The Japanese playmaker has been a revelation so far since his first taste of European football at former club Perugia and now, Roma. It's not surprising to see how badly Perugia have fared this season without the enterprising and brilliant midfielder. His partnership with Totti in midfield has awarded Roma a credible sixth placing.

Francesco Totti (AS Roma)

ZoomSoccer knows that Italian international Totti is exceptionally talented and decided to select him to play just behind the two strikers. Nobody can deny the craft and excellent technique possessed by the mercurial forward. His sterling and wonderful performances throughout the season have given the Roma's attacking department the extra edge.

Adriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

What more can you say about a striker who emerged as the top goalscorer in his debut season. The amiable Ukrainian is the number one choice for the frontman role in ZoomSoccer's team line-up. With the blessing of having excellent predatory instincts and twenty-four goals under his belt, Shev has proven why he is the unsurpassed striker in Serie A and possibly, the world.

Gabriel Batistuta (Fiorentina)

It's unbelievable that a world class striker has no European medal to show for throughout his footballing career, especially if the player is Batistuta and his club Fiorentina is one of Italy's greats. For the Argentinian, loyalty had prevailed over greed during the past nine years with the chance to earn millions of dollars in other clubs refused. The Roma-bound striker with twenty-three goals this season deserves the accolade of being selected for the last position in ZoomSoccer's ultimate annual team line-up.
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