As the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine reach the final stages, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has picked his selection of the best players in the tournament so far - "The President's XI / Euro 2012 Dream-Team". To find out more, read Mr Schulz's comments on his choice and the tournament.
This was not an easy choice. Some of the players I have picked have consistently shown good form throughout the group stages. Others are better known as world stars whom I have selected for their magical ability and talent to change a match with just one, two or three decisive actions. There are other players who have similar flair but did not make it on the list. Picking the team was a tricky choice, trying to avoid unjust selections.
The team aims to have a good balance between strength and flair, youth and experience, leadership and hard graft. I have deliberately picked a few players from teams that have been eliminated at the group stage.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a young defender myself and am still a keen football fan (especially of FC Köln). I have therefore tried to pick a good solid defence and more creative players up front. A Spanish captain given their recent record seems a sensible choice.
The President's XI/Euro 2012 Dream-Team
Joe Hart (England)
Daniel Agger (Denmark)
Mats Hummels (Germany)
Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Giorgos Karagounis (Greece)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain - Captain)
Petr Jiráček (Czech Republic)
Jakub Blaszczykowski (Poland)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)
Slaven Bilić (Croatia)
I have nominated Croatian Slaven Bilić as the coach of my President's XI, given his brilliant record during his career. Croatia has done well in the competition, and were unlucky to be eliminated and as a young nation Croatia has consistently punched well above its weight for many years.
Overall, the European Championships are a moment of joy and enthusiasm for millions of Europeans and others around the globe. National teams and their supporters come together and share enthusiasm in celebration of the "beautiful game" in a spirit of fairness, mutual respect and solidarity - all principles we need in our societies in both good and challenging times.
I hope the positivity between the teams, fans and officials will spread to Europeans on a wider-scale giving many a reason to celebrate and to have a more optimistic outlook for the future.
What do you think about “The President’s XI”? Discuss his choice of players on Twitter with hashtag #SchulzXI and find out more about the President via the link on the right. You can also share your pick for the dream team in the discussion on our Facebook page.