Alongside the worldwide players’ union (FIFPro), FIFA have this afternoon announced the 55 players that have been included on the shortlisted for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2010 – which will be unveiled as the undercard event on the night that football’s governing body also plan to dole out their prestigious Ballon d’Or award in Zurich on January 10th.
The World XI is voted for by the 50,000 professional footballers that are registered with FIFPro, who will now conduct a secret ballot to nominate whichever of their 11 peers they see fit for inclusion in their ‘fantasy team’, i.e. their individual pick of 2010’s best four defenders, three midfielders, three forwards and single goalkeeper.
The 55-strong list, of basically what is just the world’s most famous players, reads as follows (in alphabetical order):
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus), Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid), Petr Cech (Czech Republic, Chelsea), Julio Cesar (Brazil, Inter), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands, Manchester United).
Daniel Alves (Brazil, Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Wales, Tottenham), Michel Bastos (Brazil, Lyon), Ashley Cole (England, Chelsea), Patrice Evra (France, Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (England, Manchester United), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Lucio (Brazil, Inter), Maicon (Brazil, Inter), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid), Alessandro Nesta (Italy, AC Milan), Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Spain, Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Walter Samuel (Argentina, Inter), John Terry (England, Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Brazil, AC Milan), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United), Javier Zanetti (Argentina, Inter).
Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina, Inter), Michael Essien (Ghana, Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Ricardo Kaka (Brazil, Real Madrid), Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy, AC Milan), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands, Inter), Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid), Xavi (Spain, Barcelona).
Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria, Manchester United), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon, Inter), Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina, Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, AC Milan), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Diego Milito (Argentina, Inter), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), Ronaldinho (Brazil, AC Milan), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United), Carlos Tevez (Argentina, Manchester City), Fernando Torres (Spain, Liverpool), David Villa (Spain, Barcelona).
That’s that horrible lump out of the way. Here’s a few nationality/league-based break-downs of the shortlist for you to digest of your own free will:
Unsurprisingly, reigning World (and European for that matter) champions Spain are leading the way with ten players included on the shortlist, followed closely by nine from Brazilians, eight Argentinians, six Englishmen, four Germany natives, three each from the Netherlands and Italy, two from Portugal and one each from Uruguay, Wales, France, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
Spain’s Primera Division also managed to attract the most nominees with 18 La Liga-based players making the cut, followed swiftly by 17 of the Premier League’s finest, 15 from Italy’s Serie A, a further four representing Germany’s Bundesliga and just one from France’s Ligue 1.
The same old problems arise due to FIFA’s insistence on having their awards cover a calendar year rather than the familiar annum-straddling seasonal schedule that most of Europe’s major leagues currently adhere to.
Of course, every four years a World Cup comes along half-way through to simplify matters, meaning that Sneijder and most of the Spaniards are almost guaranteed to walk their way into the final selection but, as with the Ballon d’Or many short-listed selections can seem strangely dated (Buffon, Mascherano) or knee-jerk (Bale, Berbatov) depending on the timing of the given player’s particular spurt of form.
With that in mind, I’ve plumped for the following hypothetical selection:
Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Puyol, Cole; Fabregas, Xavi, Sneijder; Forlan, Messi, Tevez
Fancy having a flutter yourself? Feel free to leave your suggested ‘World XIs’ in the comments box below…