FIFA’s World Players’ Union, FIFPro, has released its latest shortlist of 55 players that will be whittled down to make football world governing body’s World XI for the year 2016.
Interestingly, there is only one African player (PSG and Ivory Coast’s Serge Aurier) on the entire list. Aurier is one of nine debutants who made the list this year.
He joined others like Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Paulo Dybala (Argentina), Antoine Griezmann (France), N’Golo Kante (France), Dimitri Payet (France) and Jamie Vardy (England).
Fifa comes up with the shortlist by asking 25,000 professional footballers from more than 75 different countries to each select a team of their choice with a 4-3-3 formation (one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.) At the end, the shortlist looks like this:
- Goalkeepers – 5
- Defenders – 20
- Midfielders – 15
- Strikers – 15
The African representation – is it not surprising?
Football experts across the continent are expressing surprise at the fact that only an African player made the list.
Aside Aurier, it is widely held that players like Riyad Mahrez of Algeria and Leicester and the reigning African footballer of the year, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Dortmund also deserved to make the list.
An Analysis along club and country lines
Spain – 10
Germany – 7
France – 6
Brazil – 5
Argentina – 5
Italy – 4
Chile – 3
Uruguay – 2
Costa Rica – 1
Portugal – 2
Belgium – 2
Croatia – 2
Austria – 1
Ivory Coast – 1
Wales – 1
Poland – 1
Sweden – 1
England – 1
Real Madrid – 11
Bayern – 9
Barcelona – 9
Juventus – 6
Man City – 4
Arsenal – 3
Chelsea – 3
PSG – 3
Manchester United – 3
Atletico Madrid – 2
West Ham United – 1
Leicester City – 1
Some facts about players and the FIFPro gong
Two players make their comeback after missing out in 2015, Claudio Bravo and Mesut Ozil, while Gonzalo Higuain returns after his only appearance in 2010.
Nine household names disappeared from this year’s shortlist: Iker Casillas (5 World 11 awards), John Terry (5 awards), Andrea Pirlo, Arjen Robben and Wayne Rooney (1 award each), Branislav Ivanovic, Yaya Touré, Vincent Kompany and Carlos Tévez.
Three younger players also did not receive enough votes to be included on the list: Thiago Alcantara, Douglas Costa and James Rodriguez.
It is the first time in the 12-year World 11-history that Pirlo and Rooney have not been picked for the last 55, leaving Gianluigi Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only two players who have always been chosen by their peers.
The 2016 FIFA FIFPro World11 will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in Zurich on 9 January 2017.
The full 55-man shortlist
Claudio Bravo (Chile/FC Barcelona/Manchester City)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)
David de Gea (Spain/Manchester United)
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich).
David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munich)
Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona)
Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire/Paris Saint-Germain)
Hector Bellerìn (Spain/Arsenal)
Jerome Boateng (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus)
Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid)
Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus)
Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona/Juventus)
David Luiz (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain/Chelsea)
Diego Godin (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid)
Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund/FC Bayern Munich)
Philipp Lahm (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid)
Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (Spain/FC Barcelona)
Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid)
Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
Raphael Varane (France/Real Madrid).
Xabi Alonso (Spain/FC Bayern Munich)
Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona)
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea)
Andres Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona)
N’Golo Kante (France/Leicester City/Chelsea)
Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid)
Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Mesut Ozil (Germany/Arsenal)
Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham United)
Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United)
Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona)
David Silva (Spain/Manchester City)
Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain)
Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Bayern Munich).
Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Paulo Dybala (Argentina/Juventus)
Antoine Griezmann (France/Atletico Madrid)
Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina/Napoli/Juventus)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Thomas Muller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona)
Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester City)