Premier League Men Who Should Have Made the FIFPro Dream Team
The 2012 FIFPro World XI was dominated by a host of faces from Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Radamel Falcao making up the numbers.
Many of the inclusions including Iker Casillas, Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo were nominated despite indifferent seasons in La Liga, and English fans were left scratching their heads as to why there were no players from the Premier League selected.
Whilst there were no surprises or complaints at the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta making the cut, let's have a look at some EPL stars who could—and maybe should—have made up the rest of the "Dream Team."
Safe Hands Hart
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart was an unflappable presence between the sticks, as the Citizens ended a 44-year title wait in 2012.
Hart played every minute of City's successful 2011-12 Premier League season and marshaled his defence with an authority which belied his years.
The former Shrewsbury Town trainee produced some of the saves of the season to earn his side points and was one of the only bright spots in an otherwise dismal Champions League campaign.
His form for England may have dipped during and after the European Championships, but all in all, Hart has been a better and more consistent keeper than Iker Casillas over the past twelve months.
Great sides are built from the back, and if there was a more commanding and authoritative defensive figure in 2012 than Vincent Kompany, then I'm the current Premier League Player of the Season.
The Manchester City skipper was the rock Roberto Mancini built his side upon, and alongside Joe Hart was the main reason the Champions posted the best defensive record in the division last season.
Kompany also gained plaudits for the way he led his team; his calm demeanour reflected positively both on himself and his club.
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique's triumphs at the European Championships may have swung the vote, but few defensive units would be stronger without the Belgian at the back.
Juan the Man
There are very few players, if any, who individually contributed more to their team than Juan Mata did over the past year.
The Spanish schemer has been in imperious form since the day he arrived at Stamford Bridge, and few Chelsea fans would dare to think just where they'd be without their mini-maestro.
Mata has scored 25 goals and contributed a further 38 assists in just 86 games since joining the Blues from Valencia in August 2011, but even that only tells half the story.
The Chelsea No. 10 sets the whole tempo for the side and runs the game for them from start to finish. His importance to the cause can also be measured in Chelsea's very patchy form when their midfield playmaker doesn't play.
An FA Cup and Champions League-winners' medal capped off a dream debut season in the Premier League, and although the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez gain more plaudits back in Spain and across the globe, could either of those two have done as much for their team if they were in Mata's shoes?
Robin Van Perfect
Both Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao hit the back of the net with alarming regularity during 2012, but surely the Dutchman's form in carrying two Premier League sides should have warranted the FIFPro Dream Team accolade?
Falcao's success in the Europa League may have earned his spot, but Van Persie almost single-handedly secured Arsenal automatic Champions League qualification, and he has since gone on to cement Manchester United's place at the top of the table following his switch to Old Trafford.
Goals win games, and there is no greater exponent of that at the moment than Robin van Persie.