The final 23 nominees for the 2021 Men's FIFA FIFPRO World XI have been announced and are sure to raise a few eyebrows.
FIFA and FIFPro, the union which represents more than 65,000 professional footballers, asked current players to nominate three of their counterparts “who in their opinion where the most outstanding players during the 2020/2021 season”.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, perhaps unsurprisingly, have been included in the final 23 nominees but there is no place for Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian scored 31 goals in 51 games last season but has been overlooked, with Ronaldo, Messi, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar named instead as the eight nominated forwards.
There are also a number of questionable selections in the midfield nominations.
Barcelona duo Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong have both been listed, despite the Catalan club's struggles last season.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes have also nominated, as have Chelsea duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.
In a somewhat bizarre pick, Brazilian veteran Dani Alves has been included as one of the nominated defenders.
Alves spent last season at Sao Paulo before rejoining Barcelona this season, on a reported wage of just €1 per month.
Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City centre-back Ruben Dias have also been nominated alongside Jordi Alba (Barcelona), David Alaba (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid) and Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus).
Meanwhile, in the goalkeeper's category there was no place for Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois or Jan Oblak.
Instead, Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy were selected alongside AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
One goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards who received the most votes will be selected for the final World XI, with the last spot assigned to the remaining outfield player with the next highest number of votes.
The final World XI will be announced on January 17 at The Best FIFA Football Awards.
4 Barcelona players (plus Messi) make it into the FIFA World XI squad, with just 1 Bayern Munich player, 2 Man City players and no place for Mohamed Salah. Funny. https://t.co/Wpifg48lco— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) December 14, 2021
FIFA FIFPro World XI nominees
Alisson Becker (Liverpool & Brazil), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain & Italy), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea & Senegal)
David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid & Austria), Jordi Alba (Barcelona & Spain), Dani Alves (Sao Paulo/Barcelona & Brazil), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool & England), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus & Italy), Ruben Dias (Manchester City & Portugal)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona & Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona & Netherlands), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United & Portugal), Jorginho (Chelsea & Italy), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea & France)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid & France), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund & Norway), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan/Chelsea & Belgium), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain & France), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain & Argentina) Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain & Brazil), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United & Portugal)
Do you agree with the nominations? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
Topics: Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Football, Premier League, La Liga, FIFA, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema, Sergio Busquets, Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Jorginho, NGolo Kante, Frenkie De Jong, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Leonardo Bonucci, Ruben Dias, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, David Alaba, Alisson, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Edouard Mendy