FifPro have revealed their reserve XI’s for the team of the year award, which was announced on Monday evening at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, and the list has shown up some interesting – and some astounding – results.
Most prominently is the inclusion of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who finished as the second choice to Manuel Neuer despite making just three league appearances in 2013. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil also features in the second XI, as does his replacement at Real Gareth Bale.
Other Premier League stars to have made the second string include Chelsea’s David Luiz, Yaya Toure of Manchester City and striker Robin van Persie, whose goals rocketed Manchester United towards yet another Premier League title and gave Sir Alex Ferguson the perfect send-off into retirement.
Casillas surprisingly beats Gianluigi Buffon, Victor Valdes and Petr Cech to second place, while names such as David De Gea, Hugo Lloris and Roman Weidenfeller missed out completely.
Another surprising decision is not so much the inclusion of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, but the fact he doesn’t feature until the fourth string. Ahead of him, Neymar, Falcao and van Persie make up the second choice attack while Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero feature in the third.
Suarez is joined by Wayne Rooney and everyone’s favourite Mario Balotelli, while the final trio is comprised of Mario Mandzukic, the sought-after Diego Costa and former Chelsea talisman Didier Drogba – despite the Ivorian now playing in the Turkish league for Galatasaray.
Ashley Cole may have been dropped by Jose Mourinho since his return to Stamford Bridge, but the Chelsea left-back has done enough to make the fourth XI, while Arjen Robben – who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final for his side Bayern Munich – has to make do with a place in the same side.
FifPro announces reserve Team's of the Year
FifPro announces reserve Team's of the Year
1. Manuel Neuer 2. Iker Casillas 3. Gianluigi Buffon 4. Victor Valdes 5. Petr Cech Despite Neuer taken top spot following his tremendous year with Bayern Munich, it is the selection of Casillas in second that will have goalkeepers worldwide scratching their heads. Casillas, despite his years of performing at the top of the game, made just 14 appearances in 2013 for club and country, with just three coming in the league. Bemusing is an understatement.
1. Dani Alves 2. David Luiz 3. Jordi Alba 4. Nemanja Vidic 5. Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea duo Luiz and Ivanovic are recognised for their efforts in returning Chelsea to a top four finish as well as the Europa League success, but it’s the Barcelona boys that take the plaudits with Alves fending off competition from his teammate Jordi Alba.
1. Thiago Silva 2. Gerard Pique 3. Vincent Kompany 4. Raphael Verane 5. Leighton Baines Widely regarded as the leading centre-back in the world Thiago Silva rightly takes his place in the first XI. Manchester City captain Kompany sneaks into the third string ahead of his rival Nemanja Vidic (fourth XI) while England’s Leighton Baines makes the cut for the final berth.
1. Sergio Ramos 2. Marcelo 3. Dante 4. Ashley Cole 5. Jerome Boateng Despite his many red card this season, Ramos keeps his place in the team of the year, but the inclusion of left-back Cole is a talking point alone after Jose Mourinho felt the need to drop him for Cesar Azpilicueta – a right-back.
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1. Philipp Lahm 2. David Alaba 3. Mats Hummels 4. Pepe 5. Pablo Zabaleta The Bundesliga takes the plaudits here with the top three positions locked out with players from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta is rewarded for his outstanding season, slotting in just behind one of Manuel Pellegrini’s summer transfer targets Pepe.
1. Andres Iniesta 2. Mesut Ozil 3. Andrea Pirlo 4. Arjen Robben 5. Steven Gerrard Arsenal’s blockbuster signing Mesut Ozil earns himself a place in the second string – he won’t be used to that at the Emirates – but the major talking point comes with Robben being included in the fourth string and no more. A Bundesliga title, German Cup and the winning goal in the Champions League final doesn’t seem to count for much these days – ask his teammate Franck Ribery.
1. Franck Ribery 2. Gareth Bale 3. Bastian Schweinsteiger 4. Sergio Busquets 5. Marco Reus Alas, Ribery beats £86m-man Gareth Bale to the top spot, while Marco Reus gains inclusion in a sign of what could be to come in the near future as the young German continues his rapid progression. A potential World Cup star in the making? We’ll find out in the summer.
1. Xavi 2. Yaya Toure 3. Xabi Alonso 4. Arturo Vidal 5. Isco Manchester City’s Toure beats Real Madrid’s Alonso to second place – an accolade well worth mentioning for the Ivorian – while reported Manchester United target Arturo Vidal is also included. Xavi reigns once again though – that’s the 33rd year in a row, right?
Forward: 1. Lionel Messi 2. Neymar 3. Robert Lewandowski 4. Luis Suarez 5. Didier Drogba Only the second best player on the planet, Messi still outshines his new teammate Neymar. Bayern Munich-bound Lewandowski holds off Liverpool’s Suarez, and you’d forgive him if he was slightly annoyed at being named the third best striker in the Premier League – behind van Persie and Aguero – and level with Wayne Rooney. 36 goals in 2013 obviously isn’t enough…
Forward: 1. Cristiano Ronaldo 2. Radamel Falcao 3. Edinson Cavani 4. Wayne Rooney 5. Mario Mandzukic Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo is joined by the man he voted as the best player in the world, Falcao, who could have suffered in the vote given his move from Atletico Madrid to recently promoted AS Monaco. Rooney beats Champions League winner Mandzukic, but PSG’s Cavani beats him to third place.
Forward: 1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic 2. Robin van Persie 3. Sergio Aguero 4. Mario Balotelli 5. Diego Costa The who’s who of lethal finishers, you’d do well to get all these egos into one room – and that’s just Ibrahimovic. Van Persie is rewarded for his exploits in carrying United to the Premier League title last season even though he’s spent most of this one in the physio room. Aguero, given his early season form, will have his eyes on next year’s top spot, while the ever-entertaining Balotelli earns recognition for his performance on the pitch and not firing fireworks out of his bathroom window…
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