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Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo Headline 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI Team

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 11: (L-R) Neymar of Brazil and FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid pose for a photo after a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015 at the Kongresshaus on January 11, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2016

FIFA officially released its 2015 FIFPro World XI team of the year on Monday, and, unsurprisingly, the side is headlined by the three Ballon d'Or candidates: Barcelona's Neymar and Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here's a look at the team, via FIFA.com:

As usual, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are well-represented. The Blaugrana's Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves join Messi and Neymar, while Los Blancos' Marcelo, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos also made the squad.

Juventus' Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva also made the team, as did Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.

As ever, a host of star players missed out on a selection, including Barcelona's Luis Suarez, Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus and Robert Lewandowski and Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich.

La Liga blogger Rafael Hernandez broke down a couple of key position battles:

As reported by the Independent's Tom Sheen, the final selections for the FIFA World XI often stir up a lot of controversy, and just last year, social media went berserk when it was announced Paris Saint-Germain's David Luiz made the squad, despite his horrendous showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Fans will debate the merit of each player just as much this year. Modric's selection will likely be scrutinised severely as the Croatia international missed a significant amount of time due to injury and struggled to regain his form upon his return.

Modric is an exceptional player, but it's hard to justify his inclusion over the likes of Suarez and Lewandowski.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona controls the ball during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images

Gerard Pique had a career year in 2015, and his absence will irk Barcelona fans, while Juventus fans will question how only Pogba made it into the squad after their run to the UEFA Champions League final and domestic double.

Pogba remains one of Europe's most divisive players, and his struggles early in the 2015-16 campaign will surely come up in discussions.

Finally, the lack of representatives from the Premier League won't sit well with fans of that league.

But perhaps that's what makes the FIFA FIFPro World XI so much fun. It's impossible to please everyone and come up with a perfect side, especially as there are so many worthy candidates.

The starting XI certainly contains some of the very best players in all of football―unfortunately, some other stars will always miss out.  

 

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