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World XI squad REVEALED: FIFPro reveal 23-man list of 2021’s best footballers

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Mohamed Salah is among the high-profile absentees from FIFA’s star-studded World XI shortlist, but four players from crisis club Barcelona have made the cut. 

FIFA announced their 23-man squad of the world’s best players on Tuesday, with Chelsea leading the way in terms of Premier League representation.

The Blues, as well as Barcelona and PSG, have four players in the squad, but there is no place for Liverpool superstar Salah despite his incredible year on the pitch.  

Mohamed Salah is a shock absentee from FIFPro's list of the 23 best players in world football

Mohamed Salah is a shock absentee from FIFPro’s list of the 23 best players in world football

Four players from crisis-hit Barcelona - including Frenkie de Jong (front row, second left), Sergio Busquets (back row, third right) and Jordi Alba (bottom row, right) are in though

Four players from crisis-hit Barcelona – including Frenkie de Jong (front row, second left), Sergio Busquets (back row, third right) and Jordi Alba (bottom row, right) are in though

Jorginho (right), N'Golo Kante (second right) and Romelu Lukaku (second left) are all included

Jorginho (right), N’Golo Kante (second right) and Romelu Lukaku (second left) are all included

The squad is voted for by the players themselves, and a massive 10 of the 23 named are currently plying their trade in the English top flight.

Chelsea’s four are made up of Edouard Mendy, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku, while Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City all have two players apiece in the squad.

The larger 23-man group will be turned into the ‘World XI’ next month, during the ceremony of The Best FIFA Football Awards. 

Barcelona having four players on the list has come as a huge surprise to many, given their woeful year on and off the pitch. They currently sit eighth in LaLiga, a woeful 18 points off the pace of Real Madrid. 

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (left-right) are three of the least-surprising players

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (left-right) are three of the least-surprising players

Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the shortlist as he looks to scoop a record 15th World XI award

Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the shortlist as he looks to scoop a record 15th World XI award

Virgil van Dijk (right) is another high-profile Liverpool player to miss out on the 23-man group

Virgil van Dijk (right) is another high-profile Liverpool player to miss out on the 23-man group

WHICH CLUB HAS THE MOST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD XI SQUAD?

PSG 4

Chelsea 4

Barcelona 4

Liverpool 2

Real Madrid 2

Man City 2

Man United 2

Juventus 1

Borussia Dortmund 1

Bayern Munich 1

Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Jordi Alba and returning hero Dani Alves are all included, while from PSG Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are joined by Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

It is the first time in 17 years that FIFA have opted to name a 23-man squad, with the governing body opting to make it more like a real-life scenario than their usual 55-man shortlist.

The goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards who received the most votes in their position will be selected for the World XI next month, with the final spot assigned to the remaining outfield player with the next highest number of votes. 

Twelve of the 23-man squad have previously been included in the World XI, with Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin De Bruyne all in last year’s side.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, both have 14 World XI awards, and will be aiming for a 15th when next month’s team is revealed.

There are three players, meanwhile, making their first appearance on the shortlist, with Ruben Dias, Jorginho and Chelsea keeper Mendy all debutants. 

It is bad news for five players, though, who were in last year’s World XI but have failed to even make the 23-man squad for this season’s award.

Ronaldo collects his The Best FIFA Men's Player award back in 2017 at a ceremony in London

Ronaldo collects his The Best FIFA Men’s Player award back in 2017 at a ceremony in London

They are: Thiago Alcantara, Alphonso Davies, Virgil van Dijk, Joshua Kimmich and Sergio Ramos.

PSG defender Ramos, who has been struggling with injuries since his switch to the French capital, is third on the all-time list with 11 World XI awards, and his omission breaks a run of 10 straight years. 

Last year’s World 11 consisted of Becker, Alexander-Arnold, Davies, Van Dijk, Ramos, Alcantara, De Bruyne, Kimmich, Lewandowski, Messi and Ronaldo.

WORLD XI: FULL 23-MAN SQUAD 

Goalkeepers:

Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool FC)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain)

Édouard Mendy (Senegal/Chelsea FC)

Defenders:

David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern München/Real Madrid CF)

Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (England/Liverpool FC)

Dani Alves (Brazil/São Paulo FC/FC Barcelona)

Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus FC)

Rúben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City FC)

Midfielders:

Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona)

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City FC)

Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United FC)

Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/FC Barcelona)

Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea FC)

N’Golo Kante (France/Chelsea FC)

Forwards:

Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid CF)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus FC/Manchester United FC)

Erling Haaland (Norway/ BV Borussia 09 Dortmund)

Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern München)

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/FC Internazionale Milano/Chelsea FC)

Kylian Mbappé (France/Paris Saint-Germain)

Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)

Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)

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