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Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo Named in UEFA Team of the Year 2015

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06: Lionel Messi of Barcelona runs with the ball during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 match between FC Barcelona and Real CD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2016

Lionel Messi has been included alongside fellow Ballon d'Or nominees Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo in the UEFA Team of the Year, which was released on Friday following a fan vote.

UEFA revealed the XI, with Messi and Bayern Munich defender David Alaba being included in the highest percentage of selected teams:

UEFA Team of the Year 2015
PositionPlayerClubTeams Selected In (%)
GoalkeeperManuel NeuerBayern Munich59
DefenderDavid AlabaBayern Munich68
DefenderSergio RamosReal Madrid52
DefenderGerard PiqueBarcelona40
DefenderDani AlvesBarcelona45
MidfielderAndres IniestaBarcelona63
MidfielderJames RodriguezReal Madrid41
MidfielderPaul PogbaJuventus56
ForwardLionel MessiBarcelona70
ForwardNeymarBarcelona44
ForwardCristiano RonaldoReal Madrid41
UEFA

An image of all 11 players was also provided on the Champions League's Twitter feed:

Luis Suarez's omission is somewhat unexpected given his importance to Barcelona's immense success in 2015.

Ronaldo and Neymar were included in a relatively low percentage of selected teams, at 41 and 44 per cent, respectively, comparable to Gerard Pique's 40 per cent, the lowest of the XI.

The Blaugrana's players are, unsurprisingly, represented widely following their incredible 2015 in which they won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Messi was the driving force behind those triumphs and, as ever, deserves his place more than most after another remarkable year, per Squawka:

However, in the 2015-16 term, Neymar has arguably been even better than his illustrious Barcelona team-mate.

In Messi's injury-enforced absence earlier in the season, Neymar and Suarez propelled the Catalans to the top of La Liga, and the Brazilian has an impressive tally of 14 goals in 15 appearances as well as seven assists, per WhoScored.com.

Ronaldo's 2015 was nothing on the previous year, when he won the Champions League with Real, but despite Los Blancos being trophyless over the 12 months, the Portuguese has continued to score at a staggering rate.

Per Sporting Intelligence, the 30-year-old broke Raul's scoring record for Real back in October, and he continues to be the star man at the Bernabeu:

His team-mates James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos also made the XI despite Real's relatively poor year.

Paul Pogba is the only Juventus player to make the side despite the Italian giants winning a domestic double and making the Champions League final last season.

Bayern duo Alaba and Manuel Neuer are worthy of their places, although Juve's veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also had a year to remember in 2015,

The selections were made based on a shortlist of four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 12 midfielders and 12 forwards, as revealed by UEFA back in November.

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