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Barca stars dominate FIFA World XI shortlist

Five English players have been included on the 55-man shortlist for FIFA’s team of 2011.

Image: Manu Fernandez/AP/Press Association Images

BARCELONA’S DOMINANCE OF world football was highlighted again this morning as FIFA announced its 55-man shortlist for this year’s FIFA FIFPro World XI.

The Catalan giants’ usual suspects — Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi — were joined by eight of their team-mates as Barcelona received an impressive 11 nominations in total.

And in a year which seemed to suggest La Liga’s status as the world’s premier league, 11 more Spanish-based players made the final cut with Cristiano Ronaldo among the eight Real Madrid players to get the nod.

Five English players have been included on the shortlist which will be whittled down into a 4-3-3 formation at the FIFA Ballon D’Or ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.

Chelsea trio Ashley Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard join the Manchester United pair of Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney among the Premier League’s 18 nominees, while Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale also makes the list as Wales’ sole representative.

Santos starlet Neymar is the only nominee not currently plying his trade in Europe, something of a surprise considering the award’s global reach.

The shortlist was drawn up following a secret ballot which canvassed the 50,000 professional footballers belonging to FIFPro unions across the world.

FIFA FIFPro World XI 2011 – Nominees

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Víctor Valdes (Barcelona), Edwin van der Sar (formerly Manchester United).

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Lucio (Internazionale), David Luiz (Chelsea), Maicon (Internazionale), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Pepe (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (C Milan), John Terry (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Kaka (Real Madrid), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Nani (Manchester United), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Xavi (Barcelona).

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd), David Villa (Barcelona), Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Neymar (Santos), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Robin van Persie (Arsenal).

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Niall Kelly

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