Champions League by Konstantinos Pagiavlas is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

This week the FIFPro list of 55 most voted for players for the FIFPro World 11 was announced, the full list of players can be seen below.

THE 55 PLAYERS ARE:

Name Country, (previous team)/current team

Goalkeepers
Gianluigi Buffon – Italy, Juventus
David de Gea – Spain, Manchester United
Keylor Navas – Costa Rica, Real Madrid
Manuel Neuer – Germany, FC Bayern München
Jan Oblak – Slovenia, Atlético Madrid

Defenders
David Alaba – Austria, FC Bayern München
Jordi Alba – Spain, FC Barcelona
Dani Alves – Brazil, Juventus/Paris Saint-Germain
Jérôme Boateng – Germany, FC Bayern München
Leonardo Bonucci – Italy, Juventus/AC Milan
Dani Carvajal – Spain, Real Madrid
Giorgio Chiellini – Italy, Juventus
Diego Godín – Uruguay, Atlético Madrid
Mats Hummels – Germany, FC Bayern München
Phillipp Lahm – Germany, FC Bayern München/retired
David Luiz – Brazil, Chelsea FC
Marcelo – Brazil, Real Madrid
Javier Mascherano – Argentina, FC Barcelona
Pepe – Portugal, Real Madrid/Besiktaş
Gerard Piqué – Spain, FC Barcelona
Sergio Ramos – Spain, Real Madrid
Thiago Silva – Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain
Samuel Umtiti – France, FC Barcelona
Antonio Valencia – Ecuador, Manchester United
Raphaël Varane – France, Real Madrid

Midfielders
Thiago Alcântara – Spain, FC Bayern München
Sergio Busquets – Spain, FC Barcelona
Casemiro – Brazil, Real Madrid
Philippe Coutinho – Brazil, Liverpool FC
Eden Hazard – Belgium, Chelsea FC
Andrés Iniesta – Spain, FC Barcelona
Isco – Spain, Real Madrid
N’Golo Kanté – France, Chelsea FC
Toni Kroos – Germany, Real Madrid
Nemanja Matić – Serbia, Chelsea/Manchester United
Luka Modrić – Croatia, Real Madrid
Mesut Özil – Germany, Arsenal FC
Paul Pogba – France, Manchester United
Marco Verratti – Italy, Paris Saint-Germain
Arturo Vidal – Chile, FC Bayern München

Forwards
Gareth Bale – Wales, Real Madrid
Karim Benzema – France, Real Madrid
Edinson Cavani – Uruguay, Paris Saint-Germain
Paulo Dybala – Argentina, Juventus
Antoine Griezmann – France, Atlético Madrid
Zlatan Ibrahimović – Sweden, Manchester United
Harry Kane – England, Tottenham Hotspur
Robert Lewandowski – Poland, FC Bayern München
Romelu Lukaku – Belgium, Everton/Manchester United
Kylian Mbappé – France, AS Monaco/Paris Saint-Germain
Lionel Messi – Argentina, FC Barcelona
Neymar JR – Brazil, Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal, Real Madrid
Alexis Sánchez – Chile, Arsenal FC
Luis Suárez – Uruguay, FC Barcelona

This list is filled with some extraordinary quality. But when you look closer at it, and some of the stats surrounding some of the nominated players it seems to suggest that there is a massive elitist bias. Quite a few players that could be argued don’t deserve to be on that list.

This isn’t questioning the quality that these players do possess, and in a few cases, the levels they once hit. But this is a based on their performances last season and whether they have been nominated under merit or according to reputation.

Goalkeepers:

It would be hard pressed to criticise any of the nominations for goalkeepers. Oblak was the only one of the five nominations that didn’t manage to collect any silverware, but was the last line of defence for the meanest defence in La Liga, with Atletico Madrid only conceding 27 goals all season.

But what about Subasic? A case could be made for Monaco’s shotstopper. With Monaco reaching the semi finals of the Champions League, reaching the final of the Coupe de la Ligue, and wrestling away the Ligue 1 title from PSG. Lifting the trophy for the first time in 17 years, conceding only 31 goals in the process. A massive feat for the French side, and it could be argued that Subasic has been a harsh omission.

Defence:

I think it would be fair to weed out those who haven’t really contributed towards the 2016/2017 season.

Jerome Boateng for example only made 10 league appearances, 18 appearances in all competitions during the season, and was an absentee for Germany’s confederations cup victory. There is no doubting Boateng’s overall quality, and what he can bring to a team, but 18 overall appearances cannot surely be deemed one of the best players of the year. The same can be said for Pepe, who also only managed 18 appearances in all competitions last season.

Chelsea won the Premier League with a record number of games, yet David Luiz is the only Chelsea player to make the shortlist. Cesar Azpilicueta, and Marcus Alonso both have excellent seasons, which contributed to the success of the club, yet neither make the list.

If you were to directly compare Alonso against Jordi Alba that it does ask the question what are they votes based on? Alonso scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists from the left back position in the Premier League, whereas Alba scored 1 goals and provided 6 assists. Alonso played over 700 more league minutes than Alba, but surely this contribution towards Chelsea’s league success should hold more merit.

As with the goalkeepers, Monaco once again have no defensive mentions. With their success and the fact that Benjamin Mendy moved for £50m this summer. It’s hard to see how all of their defence got overlooked, with Thiago Silva being the only defender in Ligue 1 to get a nomination.

Again another Atletico Madrid player makes the list in Diego Godin. But failing to collect any silverware, and finishing 3rd in the league, it makes the decision to omit players from league winnings teams even more unusual.

Even if you were to make the case that Atletico conceded less goals than both Chelsea and Monaco in the league, so he gets in on that merit. Then the same argument can be made for Toby Alderweireld, or Jan Vertonghen making the list, Tottenham only conceded 26 goals in the Premier League, like Atletico they didn’t collect any silverware, but did manage to finish a position higher and concede 1 goal less.

Midfield:

Once again there are selections here which are surely just based on a popularity poll. Iniesta played 1332 minutes over 23 games league games, which is an average of less than 60 minutes a match, scoring 0 league goals and providing a lowly 3 assists. Even more lowly when you consider Barcelona managed to score 116 league goals. Yet his team mate Rakitic managed to rack up 8 goals and 5 assists in 32 appearances.

If you look further abroad to the Premier League, at a player like Kevin De Bruyne who provided 18 assists for his team mates, and picked up 6 goals for himself in the league. One of the leagues outstanding players, contributing towards 30% of all Manchester City’s goals in the Premier League.

However, De Bruyne failed to collect a nomination whilst heavily criticised Mesut Ozil picked has made the list. Ozil who was also statistically outperformed by three Tottenham players in Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Son Heung-Min.

Philippe Coutinho has also made the list, scoring 13 goals and picking up 7 assists, but of the four comparisons made only matched Son Heung-Min, for direct goal contributions.

Like Coutinho, Mesut Ozil is a player with a massive reputation, similar to Iniesta, similar to Pepe, similar to Boateng. Players who have names which sell shirts.

Again, Monaco fail to register to register a single nomination in midfield. Considering these are votes cast by players, it begs the question do any of them actually watch football, or are they making decisions based on FIFA Ultimate Team.

Attack:

Again there are 3 players that immediately stand out as absentees on this list. Diego Costa, who dragged Chelsea through the start of last season, and was a nightmare for defenders throughout the campaign.

Radamel Falcao who was a player reborn back in Monaco, after two dud campaigns at Manchester United and then Chelsea. He hit top gear and was his teams league top goalscorer, once again the feared hitman of Atletico Madrid and Porto. Although his teammate Kylian Mbpappe did manage to be Monaco’s sole entry on the list.

And Pierre Aubameyang, who was the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga, notching up 31 league goals for Borussia Dortmund, pipping Lewandowski, who did make the list, who also criticised his team mates for not creating the opportunities to win the accolade himself.

It’s hard to justify the removal of 3 of the strikers on the list. But Bale, and Benzema did not match the feats of any of the three mentioned above. Statistically Alvaro Morata had a better season than both players.

Conclusion:

All this is is big club bias. The 11 will inevitably pick itself.

However it would be good to see a certain requisite be brought in to make the system fair. So that players that do perform over and above to receive the recognition they deserve, rather than it be dished out solely because you play for an “Elite” club or because of your name.

Last season Paul Pogba came under a lot of scrutiny when his performances were compared to N’Golo Kante, and what he says rings true.

Pogba told Sky Sports: ‘I’ve heard Kante is a top, top midfielder, which I agree with. He is a top-class midfielder for what he does. But he doesn’t score many goals, does he? They don’t speak about this.

‘They speak about what he does on the pitch. He gets the ball, he passes the ball and he makes the game. Me, I try to do this.

‘I score more goals than Kante but they still say Kante does this and does that. If you want to speak about scoring goals, you should judge every midfielder the same way.

‘They only speak about the transfer and about the money. I wanted to say, in real life for a normal person, nobody can be worth £100m.’

All players should be compared on a level playing field, and on their performances, not their valuation and who they play for.

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