UEFA reportedly changed the formation of its Team of the Year in order to include Cristiano Ronaldo after fan voting placed the Portuguese fourth in the forwards category.
The governing body announced its elite XI on Wednesday, with Ronaldo included in a top-heavy 4-2-4 formation:
According to the Daily Mail's Mike Keegan, Ronaldo was shoehorned in by UEFA at the expense of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante after he finished fourth in the voting behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.
Per Keegan, a source said: "This is really not good. It is effectively vote rigging. Such is Ronaldo's popularity at a senior level within the organisation, alarm bells sounded when he did not make the cut and, as a result, the formation was changed. It makes you wonder what else they get up to."
A UEFA spokesman, however, had a different explanation for the formation choice:
"The formation for this year's team of the year was chosen to reflect the votes of the fans in parallel with the players' achievements in UEFA competitions. As a result, there are five UEFA Champions League winners and four UEFA Nations League finalists [including one winner]. The formation changes on a regular basis, and this year is no exception."
Ronaldo had a remarkable year with Portugal and was crucial to them winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League, netting a hat-trick in the semi-final against Switzerland:
His domestic form in 2019 was unspectacular by his own incredible standards, but he still won Serie A in his debut season with Juventus, netting 21 goals and winning the MVP award for the 2018-19.
Ronaldo has started 2020 in a rich vein of form.
He closed out 2019 by scoring in four consecutive league games, and he has scored four in two appearances since the new year:
That is the kind of form Juventus were hoping he would produce when they signed him, and if it continues, the Old Lady will be well placed to win numerous trophies this season.