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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Headline FIFPro World XI Shortlist

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2018

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and SD Huesca at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 2, 2018. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

FIFPro has confirmed the 55 players on its shortlist to be in with a chance of making its World XI for the year.

The votes were released on Monday, with Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi among the star names. 

The final XI will be confirmed at The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday, September 24th, in London. It will be made up of one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.

Here are the players in the running, per the FIFPro website.

          

FIFPro World XI Shortlist

Goalkeepers

Gianluigi Buffon – Italy, Juventus/Paris Saint-Germain

Thibaut Courtois – Belgium, Chelsea/Real Madrid

David De Gea – Spain, Manchester United 

Keylor Navas – Costa Rica, Real Madrid 

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Germany, Barcelona

     

Defenders

Jordi Alba – Spain, Barcelona

Dani Alves – Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain

Dani Carvajal – Spain, Real Madrid

Giorgio Chiellini – Italy, Juventus

Virgil van Dijk – The Netherlands, Southampton/Liverpool

Diego Godin – Uruguay, Atletico Madrid

Mats Hummels – Germany, Bayern Munich

Joshua Kimmich – Germany, Bayern Munich

Dejan Lovren – Croatia, Liverpool

Marcelo – Brazil, Real Madrid

Yerry Mina – Colombia, Barcelona/Everton

Benjamin Pavard – France, VfB Stuttgart

Gerard Pique – Spain, Barcelona

Sergio Ramos – Spain, Real Madrid

Thiago Silva – Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain

Kieran Trippier – England, Tottenham Hotspur

Samuel Umtiti – France, Barcelona

Raphael Varane – France, Real Madrid

Sime Vrsaljko – Croatia, Atletico Madrid/Inter

Kyle Walker – England, Manchester City

        

Midfielders

Sergio Busquets – Spain, Barcelona

Casemiro – Brazil, Real Madrid

Philippe Coutinho – Brazil, Liverpool/ Barcelona

Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium, Manchester City

Eden Hazard – Belgium, Chelsea

Andres Iniesta – Spain, Barcelona/Vissel Kobe

Isco – Spain, Real Madrid

N'Golo Kante – France, Chelsea

Toni Kroos – Germany, Real Madrid

Nemanja Matic – Serbia, Manchester United

Luka Modric – Croatia, Real Madrid 

Paul Pogba – France, Manchester United

Ivan Rakitic – Croatia, Barcelona

David Silva – Spain, Manchester City

Arturo Vidal – Chile, Bayern Munich/Barcelona

       

Forwards

Karim Benzema – France, Real Madrid

Edinson Cavani – Uruguay, Paris Saint-Germain

Paulo Dybala – Juventus, Argentina

Antoine Griezmann – France, Atletico Madrid

Harry Kane – England, Tottenham Hotspur

Robert Lewandowski – Poland, Bayern Munchen

Romelu Lukaku – Belgium, Manchester United

Mario Mandzukic – Croatia, Juventus 

Sadio Mane – Senegal, Liverpool 

Kylian Mbappe – France, Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi – Argentina, Barcelona

Neymar – Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal, Real Madrid/Juventus

Mohamed Salah – Egypt, Liverpool

Luis Suarez – Uruguay, Barcelona

            

While Messi didn't make the cut for FIFA's Best Men's Player Award—Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah and Luka Modric will contest that in London—he is in the running to make the World XI once again.

If he does, it will continue an incredible run, as the Barcelona man has been in the last 11 FIFPro World XIs. Remarkably, having inspired the Blaugrana to a La Liga and Copa del Rey double last term, there aren't many signs of the Argentina man slowing down any time soon.

These figures sum up just how good the Barcelona No. 10 was last term:

SPORF @Sporf

🇦🇷 Lionel Messi in 2017/18 Season: ✅ Won: 🏆 3 Trophies 👟 European Golden Shoe 📊 Most in La Liga: ⚽️ Goals 🎯 Assists 💫 Chances Created 👟 Key Passes ⚡️ Take Ons 💥 Goals From Free-Kicks 🔥 Shots 😳 Still not on 3 man shortlist for the Mens FIFA Best Award. https://t.co/jAbQqYODih

Ronaldo was also in typically awesome form for club and country. The Portuguese was central to Real Madrid winning the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League, their third in succession and fourth in five years, while he also lit up the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with four goals, including a stunning hat-trick against Spain.

The Portuguese embarked on a new challenge this summer, ending nine years at Madrid and joining Juventus.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the list is dominated by Real Madrid and France players, as representatives for both teams had memorable years.

Modric is poised to make the cut after excelling in the Los Blancos midfield, and he was among the standout players as they beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final. He was also captain of the Croatia side that made it all the way to the World Cup final.

Modric's Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos, who has also been shortlisted for the World XI, believes he should be crowned as the world's best after his memorable year: 

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Sergio Ramos believes Real Madrid teammate Luka Modrić deserves to win the FIFA's The Best award. Full Story: https://t.co/nY4A7h5d54 https://t.co/r3NYIuRJfL

Les Bleus will likely have a significant representation in the final cut after their displays in Russia, although captain Hugo Lloris didn't make the final shortlist. 

In the attacking portion of the pitch, two of their offensive stars are involved. Antoine Griezmann, who also enjoyed success with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League, is a worthy inclusion, while Kylian Mbappe, a domestic treble winner with PSG, lit up the competition with some scintillating performances.

Bet365 summed up just how much the forward has accomplished already in his career:

bet365 @bet365

Kylian Mbappé before turning 20: World Cup winner 2 x Ligue 1 titles 1 x Coupe de France 1 x Coupe de la Ligue 27 goals in 60 games for Monaco 25 goals in 47 games for PSG 9 goals in 23 games for France He's scored 10 Champions League goals and 4 World Cup goals. Incredible. https://t.co/xjgBUUqrea

Raphael Varane, who won the Champions League with Madrid and the World Cup with France, also has a case to be included in the XI, as he was crucial to the defensive solidity of both teams.

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