Eight Barcelona players have been nominated for the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year on a shortlist that includes current UEFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi alongside fellow members of the Blaugrana trident, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Barca players make up one-fifth of the 40-man shortlist, which was revealed, via Barcelona's official website, on Tuesday. Three-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo also made the shortlist, as did Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos:
|2015 UEFA Team of the Year Nominees|
|Goalkeeper||Joe Hart||Manchester City|
|Goalkeeper||Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich|
|Defender||Jerome Boateng||Bayern Munich|
|Defender||David Alaba||Bayern Munich|
|Defender||David Luiz||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Defender||Thiago Silva||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Defender||Diego Godin||Atletico Madrid|
|Defender||Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid|
|Midfielder||Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City|
|Midfielder||James Rodriguez||Real Madrid|
|Midfielder||Hakan Calhanoglu||Bayer Leverkusen|
|Midfielder||Arturo Vidal||Bayern Munich|
|Midfielder||Marco Verratti||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Forward||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|Forward||Gareth Bale||Real Madrid|
|Forward||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich|
|Forward||Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich|
|Forward||Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Forward||Sergio Aguero||Manchester City|
|Forward||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid|
It's no surprise Barca's eight nominees make them the most heavily represented club on the shortlist, a feat managed on the back of last season's historic European and domestic treble:
The official UEFA Twitter account provided graphics depicting the 40 nominees, where Dnipro goalkeeper Denys Boyko and Switzerland left-back Ricardo Rodriguez may be counted among the surprise candidates:
That being said, Boyko boasts the lowest average of goals conceded per game (0.75), although Germany No. 1 Manuel Neuer has claimed the most clean sheets of any stopper nominated (20).
Multitalented Bayern Munich asset David Alaba is the highest-scoring defender on the shortlist with five goals, but his 27 wins in 2015 don't quite match up with Javier Mascherano's massive win tally of 39.
Manchester City's big-money summer signing, Kevin De Bruyne, is the most prolific midfielder on the list by some distance, scoring 16 goals and recording 19 assists in 2015. Real Madrid's James Rodriguez is the next-most effective midfield attacker, registering 12 goals and 10 assists.
Paul Pogba is viewed by many as a future Ballon d'Or contender, but his passing accuracy of just 57 percent is hardly as impressive as the 91 percent of Marco Verratti of Paris Saint-Germain, the highest of any player.
Formation choice will play a big role in who lines up in the Team of the Year attack, but a front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar is sure to be popular following the treble of 2014-15.
However, it's Ronaldo who reigns with the most 2015 goals of any player with 44 to his name. Meanwhile, Bayern duo Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller boast the best shots-per-goal ratio at 33 percent—City's Aguero is runner-up in that race with 26 percent.
People can use the official UEFA website to vote for their ideal XI of 2015, where Juventus boast both the youngest and oldest candidates in Pogba, 22, and Gianluigi Buffon, 37.
Voting closes at 12 p.m. GMT/7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 5, with the results set to be announced on Friday, Jan. 8, via the official UEFA website.
All statistics come courtesy of the official UEFA Team of the Year voting website.